When I saw Marley & Me the movie, I cried so hard in the theatre that I feared people would think I was crazy. The story reminded me of my own Marley-a 14 year old black and white sheltie Meeko. Crazy, rambunctious, and yet loving as hell.
It wasn’t love at first sight when I saw her though. She was bald and pink when I met her. Kind of like a rat. And even weeks later when we brought her home, a tiny ball of fur, black button eyes with a tinge of blue, we weren’t all taken with her. For one thing, we never had a dog before. My mom only allowed me to have one because I had asked Santa for one every year since I was 7 years old. She even warned me, “Don’t think I’m going to take care of it. It’s your dog!”
I even questioned how much I really wanted a dog after taking care of her for a few months. She was loud, barked at and bit everything and would cry all night unless I lay down next to her holding her paw.
We had her for a year and she still drove us up the wall. By that time, my mom warned me she would take her to the pound or return her to its original owners. We didn’t know what to do with this wild, hyper dog and she didn’t know what to do with us either.
My mom even tried to take her to puppy training class only to be told that Meeko was “too wild” for even the beginners. She nearly gave me a heart attack once when she saw another dog and ran so fast her collar slipped off her neck and almost ran right into the road. Meeko also ran around in circles and barked loudly whenever someone would leave so we would have to spell out words like, “I-M G-O-I-N-G” so she wouldn’t get upset.
Oh and the walls! She bit her way through our walls and made deep holes in them. In later years, she would dig through garbage, suitcases, bags and anything that could possibly hold a treat. I had to stop bringing home chocolate for fear she would eat them all and get sick.
Yet, with all of her craziness, I fell in love. When she was about the size of my head, Meeko would curl up on top of it at night while I was sleeping. I think she did it to feel the cool breeze coming from my window. I loved it even when she slipped once and scratched my eyelid the night before my high school class pictures would be taken. Or the time when I woke up in the middle of the night to use the restroom and when I returned to my dark bedroom freaked out when I felt something furry next to me.
Surprisingly after some time, my mom and her boyfriend Ray fell in love. My mom has thanked me on several occasions for bringing Meeko into her life. She said, “Meeko has opened my heart to loving again.”
It’s kind of funny how this 25-pound rascal of dog came in to our lives and rescued us. It’s just how she loved us every day unconditionally. How she would run up to the window when she heard our car come home, or run up to you to give you a hug, tail wagging. How she would sigh in annoyance when I would pick her up or sit right in front of the TV so you’d pay attention to her.
Funny how a stinky little dog can capture your heart like that. She brought us 14 years of joy, craziness and above all, she taught us love. I’d say that was a big feat for a small dog.