Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sugar & Me

Tonight, we decided to have a family night, which means we order pizza and watch a movie. I loaded up on pizza grease and then sat down to watch Marley & Me with the fam. Huge mistake. Prepare for total emotional meltdown.

I'm sure most of you know about Marley & Me. It's a movie starring Owen Wilson and the woman Brad Pitt dumped, based on the book by John Grogan about his relationship with his yellow Labrador Retriever, Marley. I believe Owen Wilson attempted suicide right after this movie, and now I know why.

Current Husband and I had a Marley, but her name was Sugar Magnolia, after our favorite Grateful Dead song. She, too, was a yellow Labrador Retriever, and we got her about a month after we were married. She was also a Bad Dog, but we loved her. Sometimes we didn't know how much we loved her, because we were so pissed off at her, but we did truly love that dog. The parallels between Sugar and Marley are many. Indulge me while I take a walk with my dog down memory lane.

Sugar loved to chew things. She ate drywall and paper towels and garbage. She ate dead squirrels or rabbits or birds she found outside. She ate the flowers in my garden and the fence. She chewed on shoes and purses and table legs. When we had Oldest Daughter, Sugar chewed up and ingested many toys and stuffed animals, and her favorite thing to eat was baby socks. As soon as the baby kicked off a sock, Sugar would gulp it down. We soon found ourselves with a back yard full of baby socks that had made it through the dog's entire digestive tract. She ate a t-shirt I bought on our honeymoon and part of a quilt made by my deceased Mennonite grandmother. We came to understand that it was impossible to keep everything off the floor, and if it found its way to the floor, it would eventually become a steaming pile in the back yard.

Sugar loved to run. She would catch sight of a small forest creature or a large dog or a flying Frisbee and she was gone. If she was attached to a leash that was attached to your arm, that was your problem, not hers. She loved to see the front door opening and pick the exact moment to bolt through the space and run away down the street. She would come home a few hours later, exhausted and panting, and smelling of swamp and feces and dead animal, but she came home happy. We would always chase after her down the street, worried she would get hit by a car or ruin someones yard, but she would elude us. We found later that if we stopped chasing her, and started running in the opposite direction, she would follow us. She seemed to think that if there was something more interesting than chasing her going on, she had to be a part of it.

Sugar also failed dog obedience class. She would sit and lay, but beyond that she was wholly uninterested. She wouldn't heel, she wouldn't stay, she wouldn't come. She had a real problem with going through the garbage to get people food. Our instructor said that if you give a dog something with hot sauce on it, the dog would be deterred from eating people food. CH took a piece of steak and smothered it in Tabasco sauce, salsa, crushed red pepper, and cayenne pepper. Sugar ate it, drooled profusely, and begged for more.

The next night at obedience school, the dogs were supposed to show a trick they learned to graduate from class. For Sugar, learning to stay would be a huge accomplishment. CH walked her out to the middle of the circle of puppies, told her to stay, and walked away. As he got to the outer edge of the group, the instructor starting yelling, "Call your dogs! Call your dogs!" Sugar, as was her routine in every class, has started pooping in the middle of the room. However, the aroma of jalapenos, salsa, and cayenne pepper was too much for the other dogs. They had to have a taste. Chaos ensued, and we were handed Sugar's GED for dog class and asked not to return.

Sugar also liked to stare. She liked to stare at us as we went to the bathroom, when we talked on the phone, when we had sex, and particularly when CH was watching TV. She would sit across the room from him and just stare at him endlessly. It was very unsettling.

But Sugar also liked to stretch out on the bed between us, and lick us endlessly, and she could chase a ball all day long. She loved our babies (she was around for all three), and she was loyal to a fault. She was always willing to go wherever we would go, and she expected nothing in return but a fresh bowl of water and some food. And an occasional rawhide bone.

When she died, Sugar left a void in our lives that hasn't yet been filled. She was our first baby. And it is unfair that these animals that love us so unconditionally have to live such short lives. Are you crying yet? Because I am. Damn that John Grogan and his touching dog movie. And damn those casting people for making us think we have to look like Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson at 40. And damn the screenwriters for making us think people who write can live in restored vintage farm houses on the outskirts of Philadelphia worth at least half a million dollars and drive Volvos.

Excuse me, I have to go and give Current Dog a hug. I suggest you do the same with your current pet.


The Insatiable Host said...

so i actually watched the movie and went to my family's old house and saw the grave of our Marley - Brandy the Irish Setter...she was the bees knees.. Damn the man, damn John Grogan and damn anyone who says the movie and or book aren't good..ick i hope i dont look like Owen Wilson in 10 yrs...ick...

anyhow, listen about the panty pyramid, if you are in, you dont have to "recruit" people or anything, i have been accepting interested peeps info so there isn't any feeling of "fuck i have no one who would do this" for that reason...i too feel the same way; however, i dont know how she does it but EXG mentioned it once and i have instant interest...i literally have maybe 20 people from my extensive span of peeps (totally sarcastic if it wasn't oozing on the screen).

anyhow, if you are down let me know and if not, im sure you'll see the should be a jolly good time...BTW am totally stealing Mt. Thong!!

hope the gobble gobble was great and kiddies and fam are wonderful.


IH danon

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