He is right, we really do need a dog. We told him when he turned eight we would look into getting a dog, but at the time we lived in a house with very little back yard. Then we moved into a fixer upper house when my son was nine and we spent all our time on making the place livable. Now he is ten and we have been slammed with the effects of an economic slump and our money is tight. My son really wants a companion and I think he is finally at the age he could take the responsibility of a dog - so my husband and I agreed that we would fix the fence in the back and see what we could do to get a dog sometime this year.
When the movie, "Marley & Me," came out in the movie theaters, it came highly recommend by friends. It was out in the movie theaters for a long time so one afternoon when Asher and I found each other at home, we decided to go see the movie on a whim. Now, first of all, others had brought there 9/10 year old to go see it, but I highly recommend that the child be at least 13 even though it is only rated PG. Too many discussion of sex and conceiving babies and all. You get the picture. (By the way, the movie just came out on DVD on March 31, 2009.)
Anyway, I wouldn't claim myself as a "Dog Lover" because frankly I am not so comfortable around dogs, but I absolutely enjoyed this movie. The movie is such a reflection on how a family is birthed. Two people love each other, get married, buy a dog, work through mishaps, have a baby, give up a career, have another baby, buy another house, have yet another baby, get another job and move across country. I loved it because it was just so real life! They talked about issues my husband I have conversed on. I enjoyed the movie so much I went and checked out the book at the library and Asher found the "junior" version and read along with me (although he finished it in less than a week).
Now the book is very different than the movie, which is no surprise, but I like the movie better! The book is more for those "Dog Lovers" out there as he talks about the details of doggy obedience, and pooping, and the stages of Marley's death. It was too much detail for me. I related to the movie and the talk about family more.
I have one dog story to add: When I was a freshman in high school I bought a cocker spaniel. She was not that well behaved, or trained to do any tricks, but she became such a good friend and comforted me through the lonely times of, well, high school. When I went away to college my parents couldn't take care of her so I was to find a new home for my dog. A girlfriend said she would take her and I was thrilled. Chammie, my dog named after the color of her fur, champagne, took to my friend, Jill, immediately. About a month later I went over to see my friend and my former dog and was completely deflated when Chammie did not recognize me. She followed around my friend, Jill, just like she had followed me around. It was a sad day for me and I never went over to visit my friend nor my dog again.
I will leave you with the last page of the book, Marley & Me, which is also the closing words of the movie as well.
After Marley's death, John Grogan, the author, wanted to pay tribute to his dog in his column and it took him some soul searching to finally come up with the words.
"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."
"A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbols mean nothing to him. A water logged stick will do just fine. A dog judges others not by their color or creed or class, but by who they are inside. A dog doesn't care if you are rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his. It was really quite simple, and yet we humans, so much wiser and more sophisticated, have always had trouble figuring out what really counts and what does not."
What a great reminder to us all in this busy life we lead, we often loose perspective and do not give the importance of the people around us. If we cancel on this party with my good friend, she will understand, if I don't call her, she will understand, if I keep working and trying to provide for my family and make a perfect house, well everyone will understand. Well, maybe they will understand, but then life slips us by and then we are in a position wishing we had spent more time with the people we love - and learning to love them unconditionally.
Has a pet taught you something unexpected? What have you learned from your life with or without a family pet in your life? Have any dog recommendations for our family with a son who has allergies. Please share with us your stories.