i couldn’t let the day go by without talking about my nephew dog, marley. the title may have led you to believe i was going to talk about former atlanta braves catcher, javy lopez, but you’d be wrong. like most of your assumptions would be about trying to follow my strange, patched together thinking.
marley was the dog of my dear friends, jennifer and jack. he was their faithful companion for 14.5 years. hiking, swimming, travels, parties, break-ups, marriage, babies, day-to-day living. the ever and ongoing quest for chow (even though he was supposed to eat his OWN chow, he knew there’d be a stray morsel here and there if you were eating some of your own delicious chow, preferably something beefy). most of all, i’d say their relationship and all of marley’s relationships were characterized by an immense and abundant source of love.
i know that most people have a fondness for their own pet that cannot rival the love they have for other people’s animals and everyone thinks their own animal is the best, smartest, most fascinating creature ever (it gets much worse with children). but, there was something about marley that was incredible to watch. he was so charming. he’d win over the most stubborn of hearts. the person who hated dogs or even worse, pretended not to care.
and forget about those of us who were already animal lovers. i’d do anything for that dog. i’d get up early to let him out, lest he be uncomfortable for one second … never mind he had his own routine with his parents. but i was up and he was up and i just couldn’t begrudge that face. and even though i was away in a different city in a different state, i just went a-walking. then began the vigilant and ongoing fight … keeping all the gah-bage out of marley’s face. get that GAHBAGE out of your mouth. god. why do you want to eat all of that nasty stuff, dog?
i lived with marley for a year. there was hardly anything better than hanging out, watching tv with my roommate, jack, and a ball of marley by me. it was in that year that for about a month one summer, whilst watching copious amounts of baseball with jack that i started calling marley “javy lopez.” i don’t know why it started. i really don’t. i don’t mean to make light of this, but in true fashion of the disease, i can get kind of autistic with stuff sometimes. i get stuck on stuff. if something sounds particularly pleasing to me, i can just get my brain caught in the record groove.
“javy javy javy,” i’d say to him. i couldn’t fucking stop. i know jack grew tired of it. “jaaaavy lopez.” i mean, for god’s sake. it was a fucking BRAVES catcher. and who likes the braves when you’re a CUBS!! fan? NOT ME. and not javy .. i mean marley. lol. i couldn’t stop calling him javy lopez. it was terrible. it’s pretty funny now.
jen and jack have been all over the country and settled in california for quite some time. marley has hiked all over god’s creation. he started getting big old tumors some years ago, but they’d have them removed. and so on and so on. in the last year or so, it got to the point where there wasn’t much skin left to repair with. and so the last tumor they just left alone. and it grew. he was still happy and tail wagging and eating and being marley.
but just like the tumor that ate my grandma, eventually your food goes to feed the tumor and the rest of you becomes oh so very thin. all of your living goes toward dying, i guess. but the kicker about going through life with a pet is that we’re asked to step up and do one final good deed for them. one thing we aren’t really truly asked to do for our human counterparts until it’s really been done for them already. we are asked to put our dear friends at peace. it requires loving them *this* much more than wanting to have them around forever. it’s a selfless act.
a woman came to the house this afternoon. jen said it was completely peaceful. they took him directly to jack’s parents’ house in central wisconsin and buried him there. she said he’s overlooking a lake and the sun was setting. jack’s grandma is celebrating her 100th birthday this weekend. it’s a cycle. we come here, we experience this life and we move on.
marley most certainly did some good time somewhere along the line, because he picked a great family and a great experience. he’s at peace and completely healthy and young and his spirit is whole. i miss that dog.