He always stays
“A good dog never dies. He always stays. He walks besides you on crisp autumn days when frost is on the fields and winter’s drawing near.” — Mary Carolyn Davies
However else I remember 2013, I will remember it as the year of saying goodbye to dogs. Within a few weeks of the day we lost our four-legged family member, Pasha, three others who are dear to me grieved parting with beloved canine companions of many years. One of these unforgettable dogs, Sir Marlee (Marlee to his friends) is pictured above.
Marlee was born on this day seventeen years ago. Like most dogs, he was typically canine, yet also unique. He provided joy, comfort, and a stabilizing presence of love to his family through many years of medical crises and uncertainty, along with the countless joys and sorrows of everyday life. In these ways, he was no different from other dogs. But I will always remember him for bringing me laughter through a quirky characteristic he shared with a comedian whom readers “of a certain age” will remember: Jack Benny.
If you watched Jack Benny very much, you know that he could provoke laughter simply by turning his head in reaction to what his fellow performers said or did. It’s the sort of thing that’s hard to describe until you see it. This dated and politically incorrect but hilarious clip will give you an idea of what I’m referring to, in case you don’t remember.
The first time I met Marlee his demeanor was familiar to me, but it took me awhile to figure out why. Marlee was a laid back, low-key type of dog whose adopted younger doggy brother, Max, was anything but. When the antics of Max or nearby humans would get a bit ridiculous, Marlee would heave a sigh and turn his head, a weary look in his eyes. I told Marlee’s mom he reminded me of Jack Benny, and she knew immediately why I said that. It became a private joke to us, and even today, when Marlee is no longer on this earth, we are able to laugh when things get absurd by imagining Marlee looking on, turning his head. Marlee will always be with us, lightening even the most frustrating situations when we remember his comical resignation.
Among the precious gifts our pets give are abundant occasions to laugh. What are some of the funniest traits of your pets, past and present? I hope you will share some funny or touching memories of your animal companions, whose gifts live on even after they leave us.