This has been the hardest month.  Sadness like a weight in the back of all our minds as we watched our sweet pup fade. She had a beautiful nearly 14 years, which is plenty for a standard poodle, but not nearly enough for us.

A dog exists for the purpose of being a dog, of course, but I can’t help but think that our relationship with our dog has been practice for our relationships with one another.  She was our first baby, our first surly teen, our loyal adult companion.  And these past weeks as I’ve carried her up stairs, bathed her when she couldn’t clean herself, helped her to stand, I can’t help but think of my role in caring for our parents some distant day (sorry mom).

Marley was 9 weeks and 10 lbs. of apricot fluff when we got her.  She taught us patience as we waited for her little legs to climb the hill where we lived in town, and as we chased her around the yard in attempts to get her inside when it was time to leave for work.

She greeted each of our children within minutes of their births and was a constant presence throughout their days.

She was my running partner for 10 years, pulling me the first three years, dragging a bit the 10th, and a hiking companion until nearly the end.

She has been Kale’s special playmate since he could move about.

Mar-dog, Nellie, pupalupagus, pupster…so many names for our good girl.

The hardest part, after the decision, which is always the hardest part of anything, isn’t it?  Is the moment each day when I remember, again, that she’s gone.  The half second when the kids brush an arms length of bagel crumbs to the floor, when the sheep skin tossed off the chair looks just like our pile of fluffy girl, just before I head upstairs for the night, as we burst through the door after a day out.

It’s hard to know sometimes if we’re doing the right thing for an old dog, but she sure did a right thing for us.

We love you Marpup.  We miss you.


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  1. Oh the tears! I remember walking her around the graveyard in Belfast, searching the gravestones for name ideas for Wylie. I ended up stealing that idea when I was choosing a name for Audrey in Hilo. She was such a sweet pup, and saying goodbye is never easy.


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