Sunday, May 07, 2006

Marley & Me

Have you read this book yet, Marley & Me? It's not about me! John Grogan tells the story of life with another Marley, a yellow Labrador retriever. The author states that his Marley is "the world's worst dog," but actually, Marley was a lot like me. And Lady tells me daily that I am a good boy, so he couldn't have been that bad. Lady just finished the book. I snuggled up against her on the bed or on the sofa as she read. She woke me up with her laughing, then sniffling, then laughing again, and her crying. I licked her tears. She hugged me and told me again and again how much she loved me. She considers me a gift from God. I like to hear the story.
One day, Lady was talking to God about being lonely living by herself here in China. She was new to the neighborhood and hadn't made any friends yet. She was just getting used to this new city. She didn't relish going home to an empty apartment. She missed her beloved Chelsea, a hyper doberman pinscher. She missed the companionship and the warm welcome she'd receive when she returned home. But she had a house and a yard in those days. Her apartment here was no place for a large dog, so she told God she'd like to have the closest thing, a black and tan dachshund. Lady had no idea how rare black and tan dachshunds were in this area.
About a week later, a friend called to tell her about a little dog who needed a home. Guess who? Lady asked her friend what kind of dog it was. When she found out it was a dachshund, she held her breath after asking what color. You guessed it! Black and tan! Lady knew it was the little dog for her, but she told them she would pray about it and call back. She thanked God for hearing her need and answering. She tried to contain her joy until she could actually meet the little dog and bring him home.
I belonged to Boy, and lived with him and his parents. House Helper also took care of me. After more than two years, Boy and his parents went back to the states for six months. Helper Girl took care of me. That's why I understand both English and Chinese. I missed my Boy. But he didn't return. Instead, Dad returned to pack up their belongings. They weren't coming back.
The first time I saw Lady, Helper Girl was taking me out to take care of business. Lady was walking up my stairwell. "You must be Marley," she said. She lowered her hand for me to sniff and lick. She tasted good. I let her scratch me behind my ears. I vigorously wagged my tail. After I returned from taking care of business, I came home to find all of my belongings packed up in a paper sack. What's going on? I knew somehting was up because for days my stuff kept disappearing, and Boy was not here. Now this. Soon, Lady had me in a taxi and off we went. She held me firmly and talked to me all the way. She told me the story. So this was my Lady.
After several hours, a bus ride, and another taxi ride, we arrived at my new home. I ran and sniffed every room in the place. I found my water dish. I found my toys. I was home.
It's been two years now.
The other Marley in the book was very big. I am small. He was yellow. I am black. He got into lots and lots of trouble. I get into my share, but every day, Lady tells me what a good boy I am. I think it is wishful thinking. I still shred my stuffed toys and leave the polyester fiberfill all over her floors. When she makes the bed, I unmake it. When she mops the floor, I decorate it with paw prints. I lift my leg on things I shouldn't. Still, she thinks I am wonderful.
Lady is happy to come home now because I always greet her enthusiastically. I keep her company. I introduce her to humans in the neighborhood. I make sure she gets daily exercise. I clean her face every morning. I am a daily reminder that God hears her cries and cares about her. I am a daily reminder that God knows right where she is and what she needs. I know this because she tells me.
While John Grogan's Marley and I have many differences, we are both fiercely loyal to our humans, and greatly loved. You can read about him in Grogan's book, and about me in my blog!

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