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In celebration of the release of “Marley & Me” later this month…
If John Grogan were to place a personal advertisement, it would read: 35-year old journalist looking for a dog. Canine should bring joy, comfort, and companionship. Preferably, dog should show aversion towards toilet water, leather furniture, and excessive drooling. Animal should be obedient to master’s commands at all times. No one expected that this dog would be Marley.
John and Jenny Grogan, talented journalists floating on the wings of newlywed bliss, embraced the dream of an all-American family life when they purchased a puppy. Named after a talented reggae legend, Marley gallivanted into the Grogan family’s home, forever leaving a paw print on their hearts and floorboards.
Marley never fit into the stereotype image of an innocent puppy. His otter-like tail scattered the Grogan’s whimsical idea of a well-behaved dog to the wind. The film “Marley & Me” revealed that this dog had quite a large bone to pick – with the world.
The Grogan’s dog bounded through screen doors, chewed through countless leashes, ate more than a garbage disposal (paychecks, gold necklaces, drywall, women’s underwear, mangos, etc.), and was expelled from obedience school. The dog single-handedly supported 25 percent of the nation’s pet stores from ’91 to ’03. If this dog ever crossed paths with Beethoven (the Saint Bernard many refer to as the ultimate “slobber machine”), Marley would undoubtedly win the Bad Dog Award by a nose.
Shortly after Marley’s passing, John Grogan felt a strong desire to describe how this 97-pound mass of energy had wriggled into his family’s hearts. Grogan said, “At the time I had no idea our loopy, attention-deficit dog would someday provide me the inspiration to fulfill a lifelong dream of writing a book. Nor that that book, Marley & Me, would go on to become an international bestseller with some 5 million copies sold and be made into a motion picture.”
Janet Maslin, reviewer at The New York Times, believes that the book is “a very funny valentine to all those four-legged ‘big, dopey, playful galumphs that seemed to love life with a passion not often seen in this world.'”
Many of us find ourselves wishing we could follow the example of this badly behaved dog. If only we could bound through our lives with unbridled gusto and, like Marley, swiftly throw all caution to the wind and treat the world as one, big chew toy. Let us hope that you will be lucky enough to meet such a dog, but not own one.
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