My Marley And Me Moment

26 Nov

I couldn’t take her to the movies, but she enjoyed watching LOST, 24, and the National Geographic Channel. However she wasn’t a fan of Law & Order … any of them. I think it was the DOINK-DOINK sound. I couldn’t take her out for dinner, but we often had picnics in the park and she was a great lounger. She didn’t really say much during conversation, but she was an awesome listener. Her arms weren’t long enough to hug me during troubled times, but she’d sit next to me on the couch, sniff my pants, wag her tail, and nuzzle her head under my hand. She was a good therapist.


Pinta hanging out ... smiling after playing fetch.

Pinta hanging out … smiling after playing fetch.


Being a Dalmatian, she got a bad rap for belonging to a breed that is considered to be hyper, and extremely needy with temperament flaws.


So not true. She was an exception to the rule. She was my exception. “She was a unique constellation of attributes,” who loved chasing squirrels, back massages, playing fetch with her FAT CAT Inc. dog toys, going for walks, pretending she was a horse for my son, being a pillow for my daughter, and hanging out in the kitchen as I cooked dinner. Wishing, and hoping, and praying that something savory and tasty would hit the linoleum floor.

Seventy-three years old. She passed away at seventy-three. That’s a lot of lint brushes. To think I don’t have to buy another one makes me kind of  sad. I used to get irritated that every time I hugged her or pet her, I’d be covered in black and white dog hair. I must have spent thousands of dollars on lint brushes. But now … no more lint brushes needed. No more Nutro Natural Choice Senior Dog Food. No more Greenies. No more Snausages. No more chasing Penn Tennis Balls. And No more plastic trash bags filled with stinky poop.



A dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes, or designer clothes. A water-logged stick will do just fine. A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he’ll give you his. How many people can you say that about? How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?

— – John Grogan, Marley & Me

To answer Grogan’s question … not many. Other than my children and my Dad … not many. But Pinta made the list. She thought I was amazing, even in Costco sweatpants. And she loved me unconditionally. It didn’t matter if I was a short, struggling writer who was prone to bouts of crankiness when woken up from a profound sleep at six in the morning. She loved me anyway. She was a great dog. She was loyal. She was a member of my family. She was Guat. She will be extremely missed.

Cause of death? Complications due to a herniated disc that put pressure on the spinal cord which resulted in pain in her hips, lameness, and loss of function in her hind legs. Apparently the degeneration happened because of age. We could have put her through more tests, examinations and surgery, but considering her age … the most humane course of action was saying good-bye.

I held it together as long as possible, but watching her go was very emotional.  Next to losing my dad and uncle it was one of the toughest things I’ve ever experienced.

After leaving the vet, my son said he wanted to visit my dad in the cemetery. He said he had something very important to tell him. Considering what had just happened, I thought it would be the best place to let everything out.

He sat next to my dad’s tree and said:

“Papa … I have something very important to tell you. Very important. P doesn’t feel good. [He calls her P] She went to the doctor to get more medicine. Her legs don’t work. She’s a little old. She needs medicine. But she’s going to go to heaven with her medicine. You need to take care of her. She likes Snausages.”

Dude. I so needed another minute after that little speech.

After a while we drove back home and as I entered the house the first thing I noticed was her empty dog bed.

It was a tough day.

“Animal lovers are a special breed of humans, generous of spirit, full of empathy, perhaps a little prone to sentimentality, and with hearts as big as a cloudless sky.”

— John Grogan, Marley & Me


10 Responses to “My Marley And Me Moment”

  1. xavigeis November 27, 2012 at 1:30 AM #

    Animals, especially dogs, are great companions. It is true the sentence “the dog is man’s best friend” A strong Hug!

    • The Guat November 28, 2012 at 5:34 PM #

      They so are great companions and great friends. Very loyal and very loving. Thanks for your well wishes. 🙂

  2. susielindau November 27, 2012 at 4:09 AM #

    I am so sorry. It is really hard and the silence is deafening.

    Believe it or not, I had to read the end of Edgar Sawtelle while Danny was putting our Avalanche down at the Vet’s. When he returned, I went online and found another bichon.
    The next morning, I had to entertain my book club for a Christmas Party. A couple of the ladies came a half hour early by accident. I looked like a crack whore!
    Later that day I had to break the news to the kids. My son came down from college and met my daughter and I at the breeder’s home where they picked out Roxy.
    I picked her up on Christmas Eve! It was the best Christmas ever!

    Will you get another dog?

    • The Guat November 28, 2012 at 1:14 AM #

      Thanks Susie. It was a horrible day. Completely emotionally drained. Not hearing the clack-clack of her paws on the floor is weird. I would often tell her to hurry up and get to her bed so she wouldn’t wake up the kids, now I so miss the clack-clack. The silence is weird. Don’t know if I’ll get another dog. I’ll have to think about that one.

      • susielindau November 28, 2012 at 6:31 AM #

        Take your time. My son was going into his freshman year finals and I didn’t want him to freak out so I bought Roxy. Now I can’t think of not having her companionship and both kids are gone!

  3. Janet November 27, 2012 at 8:08 AM #

    I’m so sorry. I sit here crying while reading your post. I too have a Dal who has suffered from a herniated disc. He’s 10 (in people years) and seems to be okay right now. I’m sorry for your loss. 😦

    • The Guat November 28, 2012 at 5:40 PM #

      Dalmatians are great. I loved mine. She was so awesome and her loss really gets me. I really didn’t want to say good-bye, but the vet seemed pretty convinced that her situation wasn’t going to get any better with time seeing how she was 73 (in people years) and she couldn’t walk on her own. The surgery plus recovery would have been painful and expensive. I totally felt like a bad dog owner. But I guess it was something that had to be done. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words.

      • Janet November 29, 2012 at 7:28 AM #

        Trusting the vet is a good decision. They know best.

  4. adinparadise November 27, 2012 at 4:40 PM #

    Oh, I really feel for your loss, TG. It’s so hard to lose a family member, especially one that always loves you unconditionally, something no human can attain to. Your son’s words to your dad, must have really torn your heart out. Sweet boy. 🙂 Hugs to you.

    • The Guat November 28, 2012 at 1:22 AM #

      Thanks so much. It was like losing a family member. She was totally loving and all she wanted in return was to be petted, a quick scratch behind the ears, Greenies and walks. It was a really hard day and my son’s words … that was really hard. Thanks for the support.

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