15ish years ago, long before the book and movie brought you Marley the world's worst dog, my dad brought me home the world's cutest puppy. This was also long before digital cameras so I don't have any cute puppy pictures for you, but believe me when I say he looked a lot like this:
I had begged for a puppy, like most kids I guess, for years. Every Christmas I thought "this is going to be the year!" but instead my parents thought it was HILARIOUS to give me stuffed animal puppies to open. That actually is kind of funny now that I look back at it :)
One year, a few weeks before Christmas my dad came home with an adorable little puppy and I could not have been more thrilled. I named him Marley, yes after Bob, and the first night I had him he stuck his butt up to the side of his crate and pooped on my lavender carpet. Other than that rocky start, he was everything I'd ever wanted in a puppy.
We lived in a very rural area, so during the day Marley stayed in a nice, big pen attached to our shed so he could run around and not have to stay in his crate while we were gone. Everyday after school I would go out there to let him out, promptly be covered in puppy kisses, then race him to the house. About a week after we got him, I came home from school to find another Beagle puppy in the pen with Marley. I was totally confused but hey, two puppies are better than one! Turns out my mom felt bad about Marley being alone while we were at school and work and made my dad go back and get one of Marley's brothers to keep him company. The picture above is literally exactly what they looked liked, but again this was a time of film cameras so that is not actually them...
Marley and Toby were ridiculous. Ridiculously cute, ridiculously funny, ridiculously michevious. I distinctly remember the two of them running down the street, each holding the end of our neighbors lawn chair cushion, with only their wagging tails visible.
Toby was around for 5 or 6 years before we lost him to an unfortunate accident. Marley was visibly upset for a long time after that, but remained the most loyal and sweet dog.
My mom called me this past Friday night at a very late hour. I was expecting her to give me bad news about our relative who is sick. Instead, she told me that Marley had been hit by a car and didn't make it.
He lived a good life and I am so glad we got to spend time with him the last we were home.
I know some people think it's weird to mourn a pet, but if you have pets you know that they are most definitely a part of your family.
Every one of our neighbors knew him and said hi to him on his daily walks with my mom or my sister. Everyone who has been to our house in the past 15 years was greeted in the driveway by Marley...and he probably peed on 3 out of 4 of their tires while they were there. He loved long walks, belly rubs, bacon grease and hooking up with the pit bull down the street (he was sort of a ladies dog...). He was kind of stinky, picked fights with dogs three times his size, and had a semi-rational fear of cats. He was Marley way before the book/movie made it cool. I hope that doggie heaven is full of bones to chew on and trees, tires, mailboxes, coolers, couches and camping chairs for him to mark as his very own :)