22 March 2011

the marl

About one month into being married I made it very clear that I wanted a dog. Nick, being nearly the opposite of an animal person, protested. One of the first of many lessons he would learn regarding my personality: I can be pretty persistent. I had a dog all of my childhood. Not one dog, but at least seven that I can remember. Never more than two at a time, but always at least one faithful companion to drive my parents crazy. 

So naturally once I was "settled", I knew a dog is exactly what we needed to complete our new little family.  It took about six weeks for me to convince Nick to even consider starting a dog search. I looked on Petfinder every day, since I knew that if we were to get a dog, it would be a rescue. Also, knowing my husband, I had to find the saddest case possible to really seal the deal. 

And there he was. Marley, so named by the shelter because he had been discovered with such a serious case of matted fur, he had doggie dreads. Believed to have never had an actual home, but rather spending his years aimlessly wandering junkyards and alleyways, I knew I'd met my match. Nick agreed to "go look". I knew he was toast.

We arrived at his foster home and the woman caring for him said he was a quiet dog, not afraid of people or other animals, but not really interested in them either. He preferred garbage to food and seemed to have really been through the ringer. I was sold instantly, Nick took all of five minutes. He was the cutest, mellowest dog you'd ever seen.

We signed the papers and loaded him into the back of our little Corolla. He slept the whole way back to our apartment, and upon arrival immediately made his home on our futon. 
And that is basically where he spent the next two years. 

He liked going for walks, but not for more than twenty minutes. When we were home, he wanted to nap. He loved eggs and burgers and rice and hated the car. In fact, he hated it so much, that 25 minutes into our 1100 mile road trip to California, we had to pull over for some benadryl. (Did you know you can give that to dogs? It's true.) He loved baths but ran around like a lunatic to dry himself on our carpet as soon as they were over. We often came home to discover that Marley had somehow opened the cupboard and feasted on almost an entire container of garbage.  

Marley did what he wanted to do and never did what he didn't want to do. And he was the best dog in the whole wide world. 

We discovered about three weeks after Lute was born that Marley had an invasive tumor in his mouth and wouldn't make it through the summer. He lasted about two more weeks and we knew it was time to make the decision that no pet owner ever wants to make. It was one of the most heartbreaking experiences we have ever had and it made me never want another dog for as long as I live. I remember hugging him and crying almost the whole night before his appointment, and telling him how much I loved him before Nick took him away. 

And Marley and Me? Well, if that wasn't one of the worst movie choices I've ever made, I don't know. 

And now Lute wants a dog. He isn't adamant yet, but I know it will come in time. My heart has healed and I can definitely see a future with another dog running around and smelling up the joint. But there will never be another Marl. Oh man, I loved that dog.

It's gonna be awhile, though, I can tell you that. Who needs a dog when you have three little monkeys anyway?


  1. You are right, he was the best, right after the Jedster.
    I'll bet if you wait until about November, you can get a Golden/Border for nothin'. Just sayin'.

  2. I so understand. I had the most amazing golden retriever as a kid. He died in my arms the summer after I graduated from high school. It was devastating. I swore I'd never get another dog. And then I did. I love my totally crazy, little Mojito. She got sick in the fall. She recovered, but I realized that one day she won't. Oh, my gosh, what will we do? It sounds like Marley was the perfect dog. Hard act to follow. Also, I can't imagine having to say goodbye to a dog with a brand new baby and all those horomones!

  3. This is such a sweet post! I had to convince my husband to get a dog too, and they quickly became BFFs.

    stopping by from SITS.

  4. I am sorry about Marley. It's amazing how animals dig into your heart. We put our dog down more than 10 years ago and it still hasn't fully healed.

    You won't get another Marley but you'll get another great dog.


  5. Non pet owners can sometimes have a tough time understanding how hard it is to lose a pet. Sorry to hear you lost such a great one... (And working with cats at a shelter, we see a surprising number of fast-growing mouth tumors. Not sure what that's about.)

  6. My husband told me if I ever wanted a divorce, all I had to do was bring an animal into the house and he's be gone. Fortunately, I don't like animals in the house, but I love animals. Animals ARE like having another child too. Sorry for your loss. :)

  7. There is nothing quite like the love of a pet. I haven't yet seen the movie "Marley and Me" but I did read the book (on the subway on my commute to the city) and I would alternate between laughing hysterically and crying uncontrollably. The lessons we learn from our four-legged friends are unlike any I have ever learned.

    Marley seems like he was a really cool dog. Find comfort in the fact that he is now in Doggie Heaven, tearing through the cupboards and ransackin' the joint for some sweet eats. You gave him the chance at a better life; it's something he never forgot. *HUGS*

  8. I had to say goodbye to my girl Oak last May. We adopted her when she was 8 and said goodbye when she was 14. She lived a long life.
    We still have 2 other dogs in the house, So we're not adding anymore in the near future. They sure add our life...good and bad...but mainly good. The kids absolutely adore the dogs. Bothe of them said "doggie" as their first word!

  9. Ok, so your post made me cry. I am new btw, found your site featured on SITS and I love your writing. Anyway, such a sad story! I am a huge dog lover, and grew up with them. After I moved out on my own, unbable to care for a dog in apts by myself, I volunteered at the local shelter. It broke my heart to be there some days, but seeing people like you rescue the dogs was so rewarding! I think it would be so great for your own little 'monkeys' to grow up with dogs, and develop the kind of compassion for animals that you seem to have. Think of all the blog inspiration having 3 boys and a dog would be! :)

  10. I've been in the same situation with my beloved dog. I did find a spot in my heart to love another dog. Check out my blog and my story about my new dog.


  11. Dogs can really work their way into your heart. I puppy raise hearing dogs. They live with me for 6 to 18 months then they go on to advanced training. People always ask me how I can give them up. It's hard. Each dog I've had has taken a piece of my heart with him/her. But I know how big a difference a dog can make in the life of someone who is deaf.

    My most recent dog, Taz, left 13 days ago. I can't seem to make myself put his things away. I will always love him even though he was the most stubborn dog I've ever met. He drove me bananas but I miss him.

    I'm glad you had the chance to get to know Marley. You made each other's life better and that's a beautiful thing.

  12. Awwww. So sorry about Marley. He looks so goofy and adorable in your photo too. I laughed out loud. I'm an amimal person at heart, so I totally know where your coming from with your loss. When me and my family picked up my new dog Happy, her foster family said she'd been through the ringer as well. (tied to a fence and left there.) Well, she just hopped in our car and then snuggled with me at home for the next 12 years. She was the best girl. Also very mellow. I have a feeling Happy and Marley would have been buddies. (Only differences: She wouldn't eat just garbage...she'd eat everything. And she LOVED animals and people)

  13. Thanks a lot for making me get all teary eyed at work. I hope you can find another one who will make you just as happy.