Archived: Marley & Us

Originally published as a FB Note, on 20 May 2008 at 22:16

It’s the usual friend-of-a-friend story: We got him after Easter from a couple in Crosby, Liverpool. He was giving the lady allergic reactions and, much as they loved him, they decided to give him up. Having seen him and decided that he was just the kind of dog we liked (not that we were looking for one) – a golden version of Sam, not over-bred, still a pup and with a strong personality.

There was only really one problem. At his previous household, he’d gone by the name of ‘Charlie’. If we were going to have him, we couldn’t possibly duplicate a name. With the addition in the last year of two horses, and a dog and a child next door, the number of new names to remember was bad enough without the potential for confusion that this created.

We even considered not taking him, but in a moment of lucidity, I remembered a great book I read on holiday last year, called Marley & Me (look out for the film in 2009 starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston), about the life and love of a golden lab, which really touched me. As the name rhymed and the book was so appropriate, it struck me that the best thing to do for all was to change his name to ‘Marley’.

Once I’d realised that, it seemed pre-ordained that we should get him and in the end of March, we did. After an interesting couple of weeks in which he and Sam discovered the boudaries of acceptable behaviour, they have become inseparable, which is great to see.

At 9 months, he’s still a mad puppy, although he’s nearly fully-grown. If he makes half the dog that we have in Sam, I’ll be happy. He comes when I whistle or shout him and he doesn’t beg at mealtimes. Already, he’s become a member of the family. I’m sure that within a month or so, we’ll begin to wonder what we would ever do without him. That’s the point at which we know he has really made an impact on us.