Marley was our big goofy yellow lab with a heart of gold. Marley came to us after spending over six years with his original owner as her much loved pet. His owner was a young girl who was very social and Marley (then Sonny) would tag along on leash with her to bars and cafes and sit outside and enjoy the hustle and bustle of busy city life. As Sonny got older however, he became less and less tolerant of this active and social lifestyle. His owner was then faced with the opportunity to move across the country to a new climate and into an even busier setting to further her career. Sonny was not going to be able to make that transition with his adverse behaviors developing as he got older which was exacerbated by his joints that were also starting to give him a little trouble. Luckily for Sonny, his owner found us and decided that a retirement to the countryside was just the option that her dog needed. And so with open arms and wide smiles we brought Sonny into our home. It wasn't long before he earned his new name as the book and film, 'Marley and Me' had touched our hearts and his goofy antics, even in old age, reminded us so much of the character 'Marley'.
Marley had a zest for life from the moment that he arrived. He had a loud booming bark and was never afraid to use it to let us know that he wanted something, usually attention. Like any respectable Labrador Retriever he was an absolute glutton for food and treats and any edible item you may have for him. His favorite was rawhides and he would always keep a stash of half eaten ones in the closet in one of the bedrooms on his huge round bed that he came here with from home. That bed lasted years and he always knew that it was his claiming it with his heavy shedding thick coat of hair and his rawhide slobber and mainly his big lanky body whenever it was time for a nap.
Marley became an integral member of the pack, welcoming new dogs in and joining ever changing playgroups of rescue dogs outside in the big field and napping with his favorite low key housemates inside. In the yard he would wander on the outskirts, smelling every blade of grass and attracting a few mellow followers or he would find the action and bark enthusiastically at you to throw the ball. Although he would always be equally satisfied by a butt scratch instead. Marley was never without a smile, a wiggling rear end and a jubilant wagging tail. For a dog who came to us so late in life, Marley always treated us like we were his one and only. Marley accepted everything about our home, our dogs and our life as his own from day one and when that happens, you can't help but feel pride in what you do in rescue. Beyond that though, we also both fell in love with Marley. He had a pure dog spirit that we appreciated everyday and were always drawn to in our busy lives with so many other energies around. He was a special presence in a house full of dogs and we were always grateful that he found his way into our lives.
Marley spent years living it up in his countryside retirement and loving every opportunity that we offered him to be the happy go lucky Labrador that he was always meant to be. Dogs that immediately accept everything about their new lives when rescued make you feel like they have been here all their lives. Even though Marley only spent two years and three months with us, we felt like he had been with us forever. In the end, Marley developed many benign growths that are common with Labradors as they get older. We were grateful every time that we discovered that a new tumor was fatty and wouldn't mean an end to our time together.
Unfortunately though, all good things must come to an end eventually and Marley had a tumor develop on his brain. It was large and inoperable and eventually lead to seizures. Until the very end we kept Marley comfortable and happy in the warmth and calm of our home. In his final days he was segregated in our kitchen as his seizures had become more frequent and severe, laying on a giant bed and a sea of quilts with lavender candles burning and the two of us by his side. We were using sedatives to treat the seizures, but even after he would have one and then would fall asleep for a nap, Marley would wake up and look for us and take food and water and relish in the affection that we gave him. We knew with each one though that the end was near and that we were just postponing the inevitable. It was early in the morning, feeling more like the middle of the night when we head him rustling in the kitchen from where we slept in the living room on the couch. We both rushed to his side and held him as his body gave way and his spirit left us. Weary and worn, devastated and sick, we tried to come to grips with the loss of our free spirit Marley. His absence was a great void that hastened to dissipate in the weeks to come. He was such a loving and appreciative dog, a lifelong companion and even though he was only ours for a couple years, Marley will be in our hearts and memories forever. He was a special angel who shone his light of life upon us, gifting us with the pleasure of his good will and affection in every moment of the time he spent as our beloved pet. Marley gave us faith that what we do in rescue is worth all the struggle and sacrifice.