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Remember What Has Passed Between Us

“Remember what has passed between us.”

Jacob Marley to Ebeneezer Scrooge, A Christmas Carol, 1843

My dog died yesterday, and part of me died with him. I never realized how much warmth he added to my life until I had to end his. I never thought about being without him until he suddenly had to leave me. He was pure love; a kind, gentle soul with an endearing personality that you couldn’t help but admire. He was so sensitive that if he picked up on the slightest hint of anger he would leave the room.  If I sighed in disgust at something or, god forbid, had an emotional reaction while playing cards (I’m a poor loser), off he’d go. I don’t know how to make sense of my world without him.  Yesterday was the hardest day of my life.

It was a tough week. Marley’s downward slide started abruptly a few months ago. All along I believed he would get better, or at least not get worse. He had a cancerous growth removed successfully, and was fine afterward. Then, a few weeks later, he started to have trouble walking. A dog of his size who can’t walk is a definite problem. After many tests, the doctors weren’t entirely sure what the trouble was. They put him on medication, and with this he managed to get around alright, with occasional help from me. Some days were better than others. Occasionally we could take our long walks like we used to. He liked that. I’d listen to a Dickens audiobook, and he’d smell everything along our path. There is a big open field down the hill from my house that he loved, and we’d walk up to the gate of the nearby water treatment facility. He would wait at the gate, as if expecting them to let him in. There was a surveillance camera overhead, and I often wondered what anyone watching thought of him standing there. On the way back, he’d insist on lying in a patch of grass to contemplate life, and I had little choice but to join in. It wasn’t my usual style to just be; he had to teach me.

A few weeks later he started developing mysterious symptoms that caused him to lose his appetite. More tests, more drugs, more uncertainty. He started to lose weight, the walks became impossible, and he seemed to lose interest in just about everything he formerly enjoyed – rides in the car, trips to Grandma’s, playing with toys, even his favorite food – Frosty Paws frozen dog treats. He had stopped greeting me exuberantly at the door when I’d come home. But after another vet visit and better drugs, I had reason to hope that he’d recover and have some good months left in him (I had at least accepted that he likely wouldn’t have years, yet still avoided thinking that through to the inevitable conclusion that slapped me in the face yesterday).

The final week he lost all interest in food, something that, as a Labrador, he always loved. Eventually he wasn’t even interested in water. I  couldn’t get him to take his pills. I’d put them in his mouth and hold it shut for a long time, rubbing his throat gently, and he still wouldn’t swallow. I felt awful doing it because it scared him, but I knew he had to take his pills or he’d surely get worse. He spent much of the week crying while I was trying to sleep, and while I was usually able to comfort him, it would begin again an hour or so later. It was unbearable. Part of me felt angry with him because I needed my sleep, but I always had one ear open for his cries because I didn’t want him to be lonely or afraid. I felt guilty for feeling angry. I was frustrated at not being able to help him, even though I had run up over $5000 in medical bills trying to do so.

I’m not sure when it occurred to me that he might not recover. It was somewhere around the last few days when he just didn’t seem interested in living any longer. His eyes looked distant, pained. He wasn’t the same dog I knew. Something had stolen that dog from me, and I was left with the poor, fragile, tormented soul before me. He looked so sad. We said our goodbyes many times those last few days. When I left for work at night, I was never sure what I’d find when I got home in the morning. That last night I cried on the way to work as Barry Manilow crooned on my stereo: “This one’s for you wherever you are / to say that nothing’s been the same since we’ve been apart . . .” I commented to coworkers that I was afraid he’d be dead when I got home in the morning. But when I opened the door apprehensively, I was relieved to see that he had hung on, perhaps just for me to get there. It was his last day on Earth.

His breathing was heavy and he looked distressed, sitting in the middle of the living room and panting. It was Friday, and I knew my regular vet would be unavailable over the weekend. I couldn’t bear to see him suffer any longer. I was being selfish, keeping him alive for me. There was no hope. He was giving up, and I finally had to also. I made the decision I thought I could never make. When I phoned the vet, I opened my mouth but no sound came out. When I finally found my voice after a long pause, they understood instantly. Was 1:30 OK?

Three last hours together. There’s something very unnerving about a scheduled death, and I couldn’t help but think of a prisoner execution. The only thing that kept me from feeling like a creep was his very palpable suffering. I couldn’t bear to see him in pain. I tried to comfort him in those last hours. I said more goodbyes that felt real this time. I thanked him for loving me when I wasn’t so lovable; for always forgiving my faults; for teaching me to be more human, to care for someone and something. I had named him Marley for this very reason – Jacob Marley fulfilled the same role for Ebeneezer Scrooge. While I wasn’t as miserable as that fictional character, I definitely needed some warming up. I told him what a great dog he’d been, and that we would all be following him soon. In fact, my one comfort was in knowing that we are all going to die, which made Marley’s death seem less unfair. It was just an issue of timing. We all have our turn at bat, but no one can stay on the bench when it’s time to go.

It was the hottest day of the summer as we left the house together for the last time. Getting him in the car was very difficult, both physically and emotionally. I was afraid I’d hurt him, which, in hindsight, was a rather unnecessary concern. I wanted him to be comfortable, yet the heat was no doubt adding to his discomfort. Jekyll and Hyde personae argued in my head: “You’re killing your dog!”; “No, you’re doing the hardest thing that love demands – letting go.” It was only a few minutes to the vet’s, and I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or bad. As I was driving, I tilted my rearview mirror, knowing that spot – his spot, the entire back of my SUV – would soon be empty.  Gone were the days when he would be standing right there over my shoulder, looking eagerly out the front window. It was starting to sink in that I would never see him again.

Thoughts ran through my mind of when I first chose Marley. My friend and I were giving him the “dominance” test, turning him over on his back to see if he would tolerate a submissive posture (he did). The old 50s song “Walk Like a Man” was playing on the radio. I sang along to the high-pitched refrain, and whenever I did, Marley immediately stopped exploring and cocked his head to the side as if trying to understand me. That sealed the deal.

The head cock

Once we arrived at the vet’s, the tech, Kathy, helped me get him out of the car. We took him to relieve himself (again, perhaps pointless, but it seemed important to me), where he promptly peed on my shoe because he couldn’t stand up. Normally fastidious, I didn’t care. When we got him inside, we went right to a room we had been in many times before, where they spread out a blanket for him. He was lying in the “play bow” position, with his front paws straight out in front of him. As the tech wrapped the catheter around his left paw with surgical tape decorated in whimsical pawprints,  I saw that she was crying. As hard as this was for me, I wouldn’t want her job. How I got through the next ten minutes, I don’t know. It had to be my concern for him, that he not suffer any more. I tried to get him to look into my eyes, to connect, but he was too distressed. I felt helpless, and that he didn’t know I was there.

When the vet came in, she assured me I was doing the right thing and explained to me what would happen. She would give him a sedative first to calm him down, then a heavy dose of anesthesia, which would end his life. There might be involuntary muscle movement, but this does not indicate suffering. His bowels may let go. His eyes would probably not shut. Did I want her to shave off some fur as a memento? Any particular spot?

The first injection calmed him quickly – shockingly quick. I was gently stroking his rear leg, the one that gave him so much trouble. Was I ready?  It was almost too smooth, too serene. In a matter of seconds he passed from life to death without so much as a sigh, and just stopped moving. That his life could be extinguished so suddenly was disturbing to me, yet I was thankful considering the alternative. Part of me was still pretending that he came there to get better, not to die. In a way, he was doing both. His eyes were still open, but vacant and empty. They used to be so expressive, so full of love and inquisitiveness. It was a haunting image that I’ll never forget. The doctor put a stethoscope to his heart and lungs. “He’s gone.”

I was allowed to stay in the room for as long as I wanted. The quiet was deafening. I put my hands on his head and held them there for a while, a final transfer of love and energy, a recognition of what he had meant to me, and hopefully I to him. I kissed the top of his head. I didn’t know what else to do. I’d have stayed longer, but the stillness was too upsetting. My dog had left me, and now I had to leave him. I picked up his suddenly useless leash and pelt of fur, and left the room alone.

Why do we have to die, I asked myself. Flowers, people, helpless animals. Is it because this forces us to appreciate them, to appreciate life? Would eternal life engender familiarity, boredom, even callousness? Would everything then have no meaning? Is that any way to live?

My favorite movie is Shadowlands, starring Anthony Hopkins as C.S. Lewis, the real-life Christian apologist – one who attempts to explain why God allows suffering in the world. Lewis gives fancy speeches on how suffering is God’s wake-up call to an unappreciative world, but he never really experiences suffering personally. Then he falls in love with an unconventional woman who opens him up to life and love, only to lose her to cancer. He is beside himself with grief. She tells him that “the pain now is part of the happiness then” – that love always brings pain in the end. You can’t have one without the other. It’s part of the deal. To avoid pain, we attempt to live in the “shadowlands,” a fantasy future, always hoping for the next best thing around the bend but never really experiencing the present. A life wasted in anticipation. Thoreau put it this way, saying he wished to avoid, “when I come to die, to discover that I had not lived.” Death is part of life. Without it, life would lose all purpose. We don’t want it to end, but it must. Eckhart Tolle, when asked the meaning of life, said that life has no meaning. We bring meaning to it.

Marley knew how to live. He didn’t dwell in the shadowlands, but always stopped to smell the roses. He knew that the best things in life are not a good job, a fancy car, or a big house. They’re the simple things: going for long walks, lying in the grass on a sunny day, being exuberant about life and people, good times with friends, getting lots of rest, being endlessly curious; always forgiving wrongs, always extending the benefit of the doubt; remembering that life is short and you must live and love while you can – savoring the moments, because everything will surely pass away. Didn’t the Spirits warn Scrooge of this?

Accountants talk of business entities as “going concerns,” meaning there is an assumption that the business will continue for the foreseeable future. Life, however, should not be viewed as a going concern, but a temporary one. It will end, and should therefore be enjoyed while it lasts. It has been my long habit to dwell on past woes and thereby not enjoy life out of distrust for its pesky unpredictability. It’s not going to catch me with my guard down. Marley tried to teach me otherwise, both in life and death. This is his legacy, his gift to me. I will miss him. We were constant companions for eleven years, sharing the tears and the laughter. He used to come to work with me every day, and all my customers knew him. This morning, I came home to an empty house strewn with evidence of his former dominion here: the toys, the uneaten bowl of food, the phone message saying his prescription is ready. Caring for him this last week had bonded us even further, and I was beginning to think I was getting good at it – so much so that many times this morning I forgot that he wasn’t here. I still expect him to come up to me with that eager, expectant look he got whenever he wanted something. Sometimes, before he got ill,  I made him wait if I was busy, but now I’d give anything for his chin on my leg and that look of innocent expectation.

I was closer to Marley than I have been to any human being. As a card-carrying introvert I was never very good at relationships, but with dogs you don’t have to compromise on where to go, what to do, or negotiate space needs. You have all the control. This works for me, but you can’t practice it on people. I’ve tried. It’s not even very fair to dogs, but they are long-suffering and adaptable. I did eventually learn to surrender to Marley’s needs and abandon my selfishness, because I loved him (and, honestly, who can turn away such pure enthusiasm?). When he wanted to go for walks in the morning after his night of sleeping and my long night of third-shift work, I took him. In spite of my weariness, his need seemed quite reasonable and I came to enjoy fulfilling it for him. This shows signs of sacrifice and selflessness for someone you love. Marley knew there was hope for me yet.

His favorite bed

From Shadowlands:

“Why love if losing hurts so much? I have no answers any more. Only the life I have lived. Twice in that life I’ve been given the choice: as a boy and as a man. The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering. The pain now is part of the happiness then. That’s the deal.” 

Some of Marley’s ashes will be sprinkled in the field he loved to explore. 

31 thoughts on “Remember What Has Passed Between Us

  1. What a beautiful tribute. It was heartbreaking to hear about his passing. Sorry for your loss. We have our memories, which are the next best thing–those last forever.

    • Thank you, Ken. He will indeed live on in my heart and my thoughts. I will often ask myself, “What would Marley do?” For one thing, he would lose at cards more graciously . . .

  2. As heartfelt as your tribute is, which will bring tears to anyone with feelings, I am hoping you are remembering that everything in life has a reason, a purpose, and it seems as though maybe Marley has accomplished his. You were so fortunate to have such a wonderful companion and albeit that companion was a dog–he has helped YOU in being the person you are today. It appears as though Marley showed you what it is to love unconditionally, how to compromise-share-commit and all kinds of things that maybe no human has been able to achieve. Those things are important in completing the ability to really live. Marleys passing doesn’t end your life, but may be the very reason for all your relationships to be good in the future. Marleys purpose will live on forever as you take those things further in your life. Marley lives, within you, your heart, your mind and your soul. I’m so sorry you’re hurting Tim, and I hope time will lesson the grief and replace it with a stronger feeling of a better man for having Marley as part of your life. Rest in Peace Marley, and find peace with his death Tim. Remember to smile and laugh at the memories. Your friend, Joanne

    • An amazing comment, Joanne. I have not regretted any relationship I have had, painful as some of them were. All have caused me to grow. You can’t love without pain, because someday who or what you love will have to leave you, willingly or not. This has always made me reluctant to enter a relationship. I realize it makes no logical sense. It’s like not living because you know you’re going to die someday (I do that, too). Oddly enough, my other favorite movie, Dead Poets Society, advocates the “Carpe Diem” philosophy: “Seize the Day!” Of course, it’s not so odd . . . I’m drawn to these movies for a reason.

      Thank you for your motivating words.

  3. Hey Mr. Michaels this is Kathy Washington the tech that placed the catheter and bid my goodbyes and patted Marley on the head assuring him that it was a pleasure meeting him. I have been in this field for almost 8 years and to be honest you do become callous to some peoples misfortune in the loss of thier pet but sometimes you sense the love a person has for their pet and the efforts they make in holding on and doing the right thing. I so often put myself in thier shoes and think about the love I have for my own pets and the thought of having to make a decision like the one you had to make. I try to justify the reality I try to wage the quality of life and I question whether a person is keeping thier pet alive for thier own selfish reasons. Personal struggles I deal with every day but I do it because I feel like helping animals is what I was born to do and on occasion I develop feelings in the short time I have to get to know someones pet and seeing them slowly deteriorate that pulls at my heart strings to. I admire and applaud people like you who know that thier pet is not only a pet but a friend a companion and sometimes the only reason someone wakes up every day. Animals play a powerful role in the lives of those that love them.There is a poem written called the Rainbow Bridge, and that is where Marley will be waiting for you. I am truely sorry for your loss. Kathy

    • Thank you, Kathy, for your comments and your kindness to Marley over the last year. You were certainly more than just an anonymous tech that I mentioned casually in my tribute. Your compassion for animals is obvious, and Marley and I were honored by the fact that his passing saddened you. I’m sure it’s easy to become numb to the death of a pet when you see it so frequently. For me, it was the first time. I’m glad that you were there Friday to help us both through this. Someone sent me a copy of the Rainbow Bridge, it’s a lovely sentiment and Marley deserves to be there.

  4. Dear Mr. Michaels,
    This tribute to Marley was very beautiful as was Marley. Marley had a wonderful personality and I enjoyed working with him at the animal hospital while he was here. There are some animals that touch every person that they know and I believe Marley was one of those. Marley was a dog that I felt like I could always trust and seeing him (even when he was unwell) added a drop of sunshine to my day. He was easy to love. It sounds like Marley had a wonderful life with you and you with him. Thank you for sharing him with us. He will be greatly missed and never forgotten. I am so sorry for your loss.
    Sarah Robbins (Technician at Montville Animal Hospital)

    • Thank you, Sarah. Yes, Marley was pretty trusting. He would go right up to a skunk and say hi. He never shied away from veterinary care, and would get right up on your scale most times without prodding. He went to work with me every day for a few years in my retail shop and greeted customers. Only once was anyone afraid of him. He was great with kids, though little dogs made him a bit nervous because they often jumped up at his nose. Thank you for your comments and concern.

  5. Dear Tim,

    I have never met you or Marley. When I saw the Obituary, I wanted to see the tribute. It is a beautiful tribute for your precious, adorable dog. I cried through the whole tribute. I have pets and I am an animal lover. I have lost pets and I know how devastating it is and how painful it is. I do everything and anything for my pets. And, I can tell after reading about Marley you’re the same way. It sounds like you tried everything to save him. But, you couldn’t let him suffer because you loved him. You made a very hard decision to do what was best for Marley. You said you didn’t think he knew you were there with him. It may not have seemed like it, but I’m sure he knew you were there and how much you loved him. Animals sense it. One of my vets told me they know you’re there, when one of my pets died in my arms. I lost one in Dec. One in Jan. to cancer, he is the one who died in my arms. And another in Feb. It was a very bad time for me. I was also taking care of my nieces pet with heart disease and she died 6 days after mine who had cancer. I’ve also had 2 cats pass away in 2007 and 2009. I miss them all very much. Right now the pain may seem unbearable at times. But, I hope all of the good memories you have with Marley and knowing you gave him a good life helps ease some of the pain. You’ll always miss him and love him, but you know he isn’t suffering anymore. I’m truly sorry for your loss. And, Marley’s grandparents loss also. Take care…

  6. Dear Tim,

    Like Jo-Ann, we have never met. We just wanted to express our sympathy to you regarding the loss of Marley. As a childless family, our four-legged “son” is our everything…and, like you, he knows us (and we know him) better than anyone else. People often do not realize the relationship and bond that others can have with their pets. And, it’s obvious that you and Marley shared something very special.

    Thank you for letting Marley pass in peace. Thank you for being strong enough to realize that he was only holding on for you and giving him the “OK” to let go. And, thank you for sharing such a beautiful tribute with strangers! A part of him will remain with you – forever. As for Marley, he’s at the Bridge…probably eating Frosty Paws.

    In sympathy,
    The Conte Family

  7. Someone should put this online to one of the news stations or Youtube, and there would be many contrbutions pouring. He was such an adorable dog.

  8. Tim,
    Again, like those before me, we have never met, but I feel your pain with the loss of your dog. Somewhere I read that a dog is the only being on earth that loves you first, even before they love themselves. I do find this statement to be true. Dogs are naturally lovable and have a way of pulling on our heart strings like no other creature. I hope that you soon find the strength and the courage to find another companion who might need you as much as you need them. No one can replace Marley, but maybe some one can help you heal. Keeping you and Marley in my thoughts and prayers.

  9. Dear Tim,
    I and my lab Lucy, have had the pleasure of meeting Marley when he walked by my house, while being “babysat” by his grandmother. I know how absolutely wonderful and loving labs are. I am so sorry for your loss and I know how sick you must be feeling, there are no words to describe the pain. My heart goes out to you.
    Jackie Quercia

  10. Im so sorry for your loss,I hate to say I know how you feel, but I think I do. My animals are my children. Ive been criticized so many times over the years, called “obsessed” simply because I love my dogs.
    Ive had to put a few animals down, and like you, ive spent many thousands trying to save them, but because we know our animals so well, we also know when its time to let go, and if they could talk with words, I think they would thank us for knowing. For me, letting go of my animals is the hardest thing ive ever done, but the years of happiness they gave me,and the good life I gave them makes it easier for me to accept.

  11. Dear Tim,
    I do not own a dog, but always have dog treats and milk bones on my shopping lists for my neighborhood friends. I wish I had someone like you to write my obituary and a tribute.to me. I am so sorry for your loss.

  12. Tim,
    My husband and I lost our chocolate lab in December–she was 15. We think about her every single day. The bond we have with our furry children is such a special one. Marley was so very lucky to have you as his Dad.

  13. What a wonderful tribute to a most beautiful dog. I don’t know you or Marley, but I have made the same decision as you years ago and it is the most difficult one anyone can make. I have to say I haven’t cried so hard in a long time watching the pics of that bug guy of yours. Stay strong, it will get better, and you will never forget.

  14. Dear Tim,
    After reading your beautiful and heartfelt tribute to Marley, I hugged my dog. I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot fathom the thought of having to make such a tough selfless decision. Marley was a lucky dog, and you were a lucky guy to have touched each other’s lives. You’ll never walk alone.

  15. I said goodbye to my best friend 9 years ago and got another a few months later, even now I call Ruby my new friend “Sandy”, my previous companions name.
    It was difficult not having her under my feet or next to me all the time, memories are all that remain and knowing she had a good life is comforting.
    Sandy was 13 and a half when she left, I still see her at six weeks when she was given to me, and all the time she spent with me, without looking at photos.
    You never forget all the love they give you and memories you enjoy today, is still another gift from them. You are the center of their life, their god no matter your station in life, they want to be with you all the time, protect you, wait hours on end to give you that joyful welcome.
    Today, I’m Rubys god and I don’t forget that, she depends on me and wants to be at my side, misses me when she doesn’t see me. I’m aware of all her needs, which require only love, attention, care for her well being and safety.
    She sleeps at my side touching me, if I go lay on sofa, she comes there again at my side, when she sees me put on certain articles of clothes, she goes smell the leash.
    I give her all I can because, I know the day will come when I will wish she was there for just one more treat, one more hug, one more ride or walk.
    There are many dogs that need that love you have; I’m sure you can make another friend, that will fill that void and feel the happiness that unconditional love brings. I feel your loss, pain and anguish; I lived it myself.
    I made a copy of your tribute to remind me of the joy and sorrow love brings and that love will overcome the sorrow, with smiles of good memories and the justified pride you have in Marley. Marley loved you, nothing can change that. Good luck and may you get and give unconditional love again and live it to the fullest.

  16. Dear Tim,
    Thank you for sharing your final days with Marley. I am so sorry for your loss. I had to put my beloved Cosette down in 2008, and your story recaptured all that I felt at that time. I believe that pets are a gift from God that teaches us what it is like to be loved unconditionally.
    My logic mind wondered if I was doing the right thing. My heart knew it was.
    I miss her to this day, but, all the painful memories are now replaced with the joyful ones. May you, too, experience the good memories when your pain subsides.

  17. Tim,
    I was so sorry to hear of your loss. I can relate to somewhat of what you are going through, as my son-in-law recently lost his beloved Roxy to cancer, and I saw what it did to him. She was 15. Hard to imagine having to make that decision as you had to do, just know that in the end, you did what you needed to do out of compassion for your partner in life. You will be rewarded. Your tribute and video were fantastic. Hope to run into you again, it’s been along time since you sold M and M. Miss having you around. Take care, and God bless.
    Michael Erardy

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  19. Wow, what an amazing tribute to your dog Marley. We had to make the same decision with our Akita 4 years ago tomorrow and it was absolutely heart breaking, worst day of our lives. I haven’t cried so hard in a long time until reading your tribute! Every step you described felt so familiar. I left the vet’s office saying, no more, never again, I can’t go through this again and then days and weeks went by and our lives were so empty and we had so much love to give, that we gave a puppy a new home. I felt guilty at first like I was replacing Shogun, but that wasn’t the case. There are so many animals out there who need love and we had so much to give. I don’t think we would have gotten through it without our new dog Brody, though not a day goes by that we don’t think of Shogun and there are stil days that hurt and I will be using some of the wise words in your tribute. I especially love “the pain now if part of the happiness then” :-) Marley was so lucky to have had a life with you and you did so much more than most people would have, always remember that.

  20. Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments. The outpouring of sentiment, both here and on YouTube, Facebook and Legacy, has been tremendous. Marley’s obituary in the Norwich Bulletin generated over 60 comments, and his was the most viewed online for almost two weeks. His picture and obit appeared right alongside the human obituaries. My dad, who reads the paper every day, said he has never seen that done before. Also, this blog entry received over 800 views, and Marley’s YouTube tribute over 500.

    It has been three weeks today since Marley’s death. I have gotten more used to him not being here, though still I forget on occasion. I received his ashes a week after his death, but have not been able to summon the courage to spread some of them yet in his favorite walking spot. His urn rests in the corner where he usually slept, with his collar, lock of fur and favorite toy.

    It is getting easier, as only the good remains. As my friend Roger wrote, the only death is not being remembered – which ties in nicely with the title of this post.

  21. Pingback: The only death is not being remembered « Full With Tomorrow

  22. We lost our dog in June this year, he was a black labrador/flatcoated retriever cross. He was 15 and very much loved by all our family. He had a very gentle kind loving nature and was a best friend to us and our other dog.
    He is still very much missed, but it gets easier. We were on holiday but had to return home, where our son was looking after both dogs to have him put to sleep. It hurt. He had very gentle soft ears and warm loving eyes. Sometimes you still hear them when they are no longer there.
    His name was Jacob Marley, known usually as Jake.

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  24. I can’t stop crying. Oh my god I look at my two and think how I will feel on their last days. It will kill me. You are such an incredible writer. I can feel being there with you and Marley every step of the way. I can even feel and smell the grass you laid on in the field. So unlike you you are right, but good for you you let him teach you. Kind of reminds me if “spaghetti sauce”. I read this out loud to a friend and sobbed through it. My tears made it difficult to read. Some where in the middle little Liam who had been quietly playing near me realized I was upset and started to whimper, he tapped me to pick him up and but him in my lap. He is there still. Dogs are so amazing, like your Marley, my Liam knew something was wrong with his mama. Thank you for posting this beautiful memoir, it is so touching and heartfelt. Although you may struggle with it, you ARE an amazing human. Thank you Marley for your help and aid
    in your masters quest for transformation and teaching him that selflessness gets you back more love than you gave.

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