I’ve returned from Manchester, and having run out of reading materials on the train there (even though I had a pile of work with me–amazing how distraction-free the train ride can be when it’s more than three hours!) I decided that for Friday late afternoon into evening, I would read nonsense. So I bought the book “Marley and Me” at the WHSmith at Manchester Piccadilly rail station, and managed to knock off the entire thing before I got home. And oh, what a book, if you have ever had the pleasure of trying to manage a badly behaved dog.
I was married for six years, and at about year 2.5 in the marriage the ex and I brought home an adorable puppy that sounds a lot like Marley from the book. It was only half retriever (not clear if it was Lab or Golden) and half spaniel of some sort, so only about 50 pounds full grown (half of Marley) but shared so many of the characteristics of Marley that it was gut-wrenching to read. My little darling was Murphy, and he was the most adorable and exasperating puppy, and later, dog, one could ever imagine. I loved him fully and he brought me great joy in the remaining 3.5 years that my marriage survived, including being a strong comfort to me when I lost family members in a terrible car accident about a year before my divorce. I was completely gutted when I had to leave him with my ex-husband when we got divorced; I was in grad school and moving into a studio apartment, and the ex bought another house with a yard in suburbia. But I admit, he was a very badly-behaved dog, Marley-style.
Murphy was the reason that I stayed in touch with my ex after we divorced, after I left Minnesota and even after I left the country. I would dog-sit to see Murphy when I was still in the area, and later I would just visit, spending painful time with my ex-husband for the sole purpose of getting to see, and photograph, my darling and ill-behaved mutt. But I did move to the UK, and eventually I got the sad news from the ex that he had inexplicably–and without telling me–gotten rid of Murphy, then probably about 8 or 9 years old. He claims to have sent Murph to the humane society, but I have my doubts. It was nearly two years ago that this happened, and I’ve had no contact with my ex ever since. I’ll probably never know what became of my darling puppy–for he remained a puppy, a badly-behaved but enthusiastic puppy, the entire time I knew him. I probably don’t want to know what happened in the end, given that the fate of a nearly 10 year old dog given up to the humane society cannot be good, and who knows if that is even the truth of what happened (I don’t trust my ex to tell me the truth).
So for people on the Liverpool to Norwich train this afternoon, who could not figure out why I was crying my eyes out reading this book about a dog, there you have it.