What I really wanted to say was how this animal had touched our souls and taught us some of the most important lessons of our lives. ‘A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours,’ I wrote. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things – a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.
~ John Grogan, Marley & Me
Sights and sounds from a really rough morning . . .
My daughter standing at the foot of my bed with tears streaming down her cheeks. My wife crying the cry that shakes the body, the soul, and the silence. My boys holding her on the couch, Ty tenderly rubbing her back as she screamed into a pillow.
Our pug Shadow had curled up in the bathroom on her forest green floor mat and slipped away during the night.
When we moved into the home we’d built, back in the Spring of 2002, one of the first things we decided we needed was a pet. Garsy’s parents breed pugs and Shadow, who’d endured a rough pregnancy that resulted in a hysterectomy, was the perfect fit. I was apprehensive at first, not sure if I wanted such a God-awful ugly dog. But she won my heart that first day . . .
. . . with that mile-long tongue and hearty yelp that lifted her front end off the ground. She’d beg for treats by standing on her hind legs and dancing in a circle. Resistance was futile.
And the kids loved her. Especially Zoe . . .
. . . who on one occasion was the benefactor of Shadow’s protective nature. Our old neighbors owned a pit bull, a dog made mean by years of teasing and abuse. He was chained in the yard one day, dancing and barking and watching Zoe play with a ball on our driveway. When the ball got away from her and went into their yard, he snapped his chain and came running. Being a kid, and the dog being a big bruiser of a dog with a reputation for playing rough, she freaked out and started running.
Between the two stepped Shadow. She lost . . .
. . . and took a bite to the chest. Her yelps, and the screaming, alerted the neighbor, who came running to break up the confrontation.
Shadow had become the family hero by doing what comes natural. Isn’t that the way it is with most heroes?
Eleven years. That’s old for a pug with a go-getter attitude. We’ll miss her dancing around the breakfast table begging for pancakes. The way she’d nudge my leg and then flop down and roll over in anticipation of a belly-scratchin’. Her favorite spot, under my wife’s desk near the vent, is now vacant.
But our hearts and minds are filled with her presence. That’s my girl . . .