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“Marley and Me” – Beloved Dog Exhumed and Reburied

When John Grogan took the misadventures of his “bad dog” Marley and turned it into an international bestseller entitled Marley and Me, his life changed forever. The success of the book and resultant movie allowed Grogan to quit his newspaper job and to pursue a book-writing career. Marley and Me has been followed by The Long Trip Home, the story of Grogan’s childhood. He has also written a series of children’s books based on the white lab, that are destined to become children’s classics. Marley Steals the Show, A Very Marley Christmas, Marley Goes to School, Bad Dog, Marley and Marley, A Dog Like No Other, will keep Marley in children’s hearts forever.

A career move brought Grogan to rural Pennsylvania, and when Marley died in 2003, Grogan buried him on his property. When Grogan and his wife finally fulfilled their dream of owning an old Pennsylvania stone farmhouse, they knew there was something they had to do. In an article in the January 3, 2010, issue of Parade Magazine, entitled Bringing Marley Home, Grogan writes of exhuming Marley and reburying him on their new property because they just couldn’t bear to leave him behind.

Years ago, when my husband’s beloved Irish Setter Shane died, he buried him on their old hunting grounds, “somewhere in Pennsylvania,” in the hopes his spirit would forever roam where he was happiest. Likewise, when my parents’ collie-terrier Dutchess died, they buried her on the property of their former vacation home at Lake Wallenpaupak where she enjoyed so much of her life. When my two cats Buster and Rainbow died in the early 90s, both at age 18, I couldn’t bear to just leave them at the vet. I’d had them so long! If they’d been kids, they’d have been graduating high school! We brought them home and buried them in the backyard.

staring-white-dogToday, Shane and Dutchess still remain in the their original burial spots, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t consider doing what John Grogan has done. However gross this might sound to some people, I totally understand. When we bought our new home, my husband considered exhuming Shane and burying him there. Instead, he went back and dug up a nearby baby white pine and a baby spruce fir, and planted them at our new home. Both trees are now almost as high as the house, and every time we look at them, we think of Shane.

When my parents sold their vacation home, the big question was, do we leave Dutchess here? It’s hard to think of her spirit wandering around aimlessly listening for the sounds of the family she loved that are no longer around. But to this day, Dutchess remains at Lake Wallenpaupak. We always ride by the house when we’re in the area, and shout out a greeting to Dutchess (just before we mumble an expletive at the guy across the road who ruined the area by erecting a large commercial building, and then decided to move). I don’t think there will be much of Buster and Rainbow to exhume if we ever move, and I’d have to leave them, but it will break my heart.

So when I read Grogan’s article, I was not grossed out, I totally empathized with him. After all, he wouldn’t even have that nice new dream house if it weren’t for Marley! In fact, his articles and his works made me partly decide to get a dog to take care of.

As I have been enjoying life with Limber-butt beside me for a number of years now, I can’t help but wonder which part of the house I should bury him. I get emotional everytime this reality strikes. All I can do now is to make more fun memories with my precious pal. Perhaps we can still see and take care of one another in the other life, if ever it does exist.

Sources: John Grogan’s Website; Bringing Marley Home, Parade Magazine, 1/03/10
More animal stories by this author: My Beloved MacBeth; Please Curb Your Dog Obsession

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