I have lost my beautiful Marley’ aged nearly 13. The loss of a pet is traumatic and that trauma is sometimes hard for non dog owners to understand. I had Marley from the LRSEC nearly 13 years ago. I am a coordinator for the rescue and I answered an emergency call regarding two five month old puppies. Mum came with me (she was often my ‘wing man’ on rescue visits). What met us left us both shocked, and desperate to get the pups out and into the safety of the rescue.
The dogs had never left the tiny crate they were born in. They were knee deep in excrement, food was thrown in through the bars for them to eat from the filthy floor. They had never had the opportunity to use their limbs outside of the crate so were unable to walk properly, their feet were splayed so they walked on their heels. The smell was awful, they were filthy, covered in urine and faeces. We took the pups straight to a vet. After three washes they still smelled awful. The vet checked them over but he was unsure if there would be lasting damage from their confinement, only time would tell.We took the pups back to my home to decide next step. Both were terrified, having never seen anything but the crate. One pup was less scared and a lovely home was waiting so we decided to allow him to go straight there. The other pup, Marley, was so much worse so I decided to foster him to see what I could do. My existing labs Rosie and Oscar befriended him. Foster lasted about ten minutes before I knew he was going nowhere. Marley bonded immediately with me, and seemed to get such comfort being near me. So that was that, Marley became ‘Marley and me’.Throughout his life Marley was always nervous, that lack of socialisation in those first few months had undoubtedly done lasting damage. He wasn’t fazed by emergency vehicles going past, sirens blaring, or fireworks, but if anyone coughed, or took a tissue out of their pocket he would run. That obviously reminded him of something from his past. He was a needy dog, but we needed each other and we had such a bond. During the nearly thirteen years we were together I never left him more than a couple of hours, never went on holiday because I knew he couldn’t cope without me. He followed me everywhere, we were a team.My shadow is no longer there, those beautiful brown eyes are no longer gazing into mine. I gave him the very best life I could. His paw prints are firmly etched on my heart along with those of Oscar and Rosie. If there is a ‘Rainbow Bridge’ I hope they will all be there when it’s my turn, tails wagging furiously and waiting to search my pockets for treats.Run free Marley, you were
By Barbara Wilson