This is the story of how Marley became a Hatfield.
I’ve wanted a second dog for approximately eleven thousand years. Last year, I set the boys on task to convince their father that our family needed a second dog. It didn’t work very well. He muttered things about responsibility and poop.
Once, a dog showed up at the local pound that we felt some interest in, but we didn’t make it in time before another family adopted said dog. We chalked it up as “he wasn’t meant to be our dog.”
I upped my game on the second dog playing field late this year with the “dog or baby” “compromise.” Of note, neither of us can make the babies anymore. I still didn’t think anything would come of it, because second dog.
On a Thursday in mid-December, I returned home from one errand to grab something in the house so I could run another errand. As I tried to walk out the door, my husband said, “Hey, look at this,” and he wasn’t flipping me the bird.
Instead, he showed me this:
“What does this meeeeeeeeeeean,” I gasp-whine-cried.
“We’ll talk about it later.”
Naturally, I called everyone I knew as I ran my errands and exclaimed, “WE’RE GETTING A SECOND DOG!”
We talked that night. My husband explained how the wife of one of his fellow firefighters is the new dog warden in town. She stopped by on their shift and mentioned that the pound received a surrender of a white German Shepherd dog. That next morning, while I was out running my errand, my husband went to the pound to “see” Marley.
If you know the story of Callie, or have ever gone to “see” a dog, you know that no one goes to just “see” a dog. It’s code for “that dog is going to live in my house.”
During our conversation, we hit all the crazy variables. What if Marley didn’t get along with Callie? What if Marley wasn’t good with kids? What if he ate all the things in the house? What if he was a spazz like Callie? What if he didn’t like her boring grain free food? Also, he was a Big Boy; would we have enough time to walk and exercise him? And so on.
We decided to go “see” him the next day. Because, yeah, I was going to meet a big white polar bear of a dog and not take him home with me immediately? Silly husband.
At the pound, we discussed our options and decided to foster him over the weekend to see how he got along with our dog, the boys, our space, and so on. When they brought Marley in, my heart melted. He didn’t know a stranger, letting everyone in the office pet him. More over, he came up to me and buried his head in my side. Immediately.
So we took him home. On the spot.
We bathed him and brushed him. Callie growled at him, but nothing happened. Because this is the most chill dog on the planet, you guys. His spirit animal is a sloth. He reminds of Flash from Zootopia. We made jokes about how he was the therapy dog I needed.
Turns out we weren’t far off.
Marley started his life in the Ohio Cell Dogs program. An inmate cared for and trained our dog, who lived with one other owner before us until that owner became too ill to care for him. It’s therapeutic for both dog and inmate.
This is why he doesn’t bark. This is also why he is not fond of the crate. This is also why he comes directly to me when I’m feeling low and buries his head in my side. Why he listens to commands so well.
His next owner also owned other dogs, and that’s why he doesn’t bat an eyelash at Callie when she gets jellyface.
Marley comes to us with a past patched together with loss and love and something bigger than just wanting to own a pet. He comes into our home very much wanted and, turns out, very much needed. He already seems like he’s lived here for much longer than a few weeks. He feels like he’s a part of us.
He’s now officially a Hatfield.
For all of his previous training, he doesn’t pose well for the camera. We’ll work on it, because I believe you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Thanks for being ours, Marley.