He always stays

Marlee channels Jack Benny, March 2008

Marlee channels Jack Benny, March 2008

“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.

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.

6 Comments

  1. Chris

    Cute! I enjoyed the clip. Had seen before, but always brings a laugh. Some comedy is just timeless.
    My brothers and I had many dogs growing up. Lot’s of memories and funny tales. Thanks, Julia, for conjuring the memories!
    Cheers!

    • Yes, there was nobody quite like Jack Benny for being hilarious without saying a word. I think Bob Newhart sometimes was funny in a similar way.

  2. mike c.

    looks a little like an Ewok?

    • I never thought of it, but he certainly does! Good eye.

  3. Judy from Pennsylvania

    By a strange coincidence, your post today about saying goodbye to Marlee began a day of mourning for 2 other dogs. The first was an accidental encounter at the back door of our veterinarian’s office where I was delivering a thank-you gift to the staff. They were gathered there with a large black dog on top of a metal cart, and the elderly owner was aside them. I suddenly realized I was witnessing a euthanasia and I was overwhelmed with compassion and tears. I stood silently until the staff gently placed the man’s beloved dog in the back of his car. The man walked past me toward the car and I murmured, “I’m so sorry”. Our eyes met, both filled with tears, and he silently got into the driver’s seat. He was living what I have been dreading with our own dog, Millie.

    Then later in the day on Facebook, our nearby neighbor posted a photo of his totally adorable dog, Bailey, who had died that day after a sad battle with cancer. Bailey was a golden lab that was full of bouncy energy and never met a human she didn’t enthusiastically love. Their neighborhood walks over the years entertained everyone and knitted us together in our appreciation of her lovable personality. Today I’ll write a sympathy note to our neighbor and I’ll include the quote you gave, “A good dog never dies. He always stays. He walks beside you on crisp autumn days when frost is on the fields and winter’s drawing near.”

    • Judy, I’m so sorry for the sadness you have experienced in connection with these two losses. It is indeed heart-rending to part with an animal who has been part of our family. I am so thankful we didn’t have to take Pasha to the vet to help him die. It was hard enough without that and I am so happy that Pasha was able to die at our York home that he loved so dearly. I hope Millie will have an easy passing when her time comes, and I also hope that time is as far in the future as possible. Regarding the quote from the post, I have found it to be true. Though I miss Pasha terribly, there is a sense in which he always will stay with me. I’m sure Millie will always be with you too. ❤

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