M is for Marley

I was going to call this post “Marley and me” but sooooooomeone (Andrew) decided to use the same reference in a Facebook post so I can’t, *sigh*.

Those of you who know me, know how important dogs have been in my life and how important they will continue to be. From my first dog Pudsey sitting quietly at the bottom of the stairs with me as I sobbed into his fur after another impossible day at school, to Meg, my own perfect puppy, growing and reshaping herself to support me in any way I needed, to the many guide dogs I have had the blessing to know and Eddie, that idiot, who has brightened my life since he entered it, dogs have always been pretty essential to my happiness. There is something immensely reassuring about walking into a house with no humans in it, knowing you are not truly alone, there is another heartbeat, a true friend waiting to greet you, always happy to see you walk in the door and hear about your day, the highs and lows, laughs and tears. For someone who used to find talking to people about how I felt difficult, sometimes it seemed that the dogs in my life were my therapists, my only friends, my lifelines with four paws, wagging tails and loving eyes. I know as a scientist, I should not attribute human emotions to animals but I find it impossible to state what I feel when I see the way my dogs look at me without using the word love.

The trip I am on this summer has taken me to the other side of the world, placed me in a high-stress environment with new people, new places and responsibilities 1000s of miles away from the support my dogs offer me. The first few days I suffered greatly from homesickness, I have never been so far away from home, so detached from those I love and care about. But then, as I just about thought I would never find peace here, Marley arrived.


Marley is Catherine’s son Andrew’s dog; shes only 2 weeks older than Eddie, still a pup really. She’s been living in the Northern territories with Andrew and his partner Karen so she’s been shedding like crazy since getting down here with the heat and humidity; Marley Shedden sure was sheddin 😛 Her mum is a full blood siberian husky who apparently escaped her pen when she was in heat and got “friendly” with a random stray so, Marley’s true breed is a bit of a mystery.

As soon as she got here, I felt better; my chest was less tight, my breathing calmer, Marley was a medicine to the gaping void in my day to day life my dogs usually filled. As I sat reading in bed she hopped up beside me and made it clear I was to spend less time reading and more time petting! She chilled out with me for most of the evening, apparently being new made me interesting, or she sensed I needed her around me. When she realised birds were flying past the window, she decided that the end of my bed was the best seat in the house for such entertainment. 🙂

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Over the weeks, Marley and I became the best of friends; it seemed we each gave the other what we needed, loving company. She greeted me enthusiastically each day when I got back from work and I walked her, played with her and showered her with treats and toys, toys she tried to destroy ASAP.  It was hard to get any photos of Marley on the move; when she’s got the zoomies, shes a blur in the distance. But, she always came back to my side when I whistled for her, something I would like my own puppy to do a bit more consistently!!

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I’ve had more laughs with Marley than I can count, she certainly provides comic relief when needed!! I discovered that she likes citrus sorbet and loves playing hide and seek in the house!

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How is this dog so photogenic? Even my poor camera skills can’t make her look bad in a photo!

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I don’t think I would have gotten to this point here in Canada if Marley hadn’t been here. She left yesterday and, though I’m sad, I know I can carry on now without her, she made me laugh so much I couldn’t second-guess my every mood and found myself thriving here. I know we’ll never forget each other- one day, I’ll come back and she’ll greet me like an old friend. I now count Marley alongside the other dogs who have made a significant and important impact on my life. M is for magical, M is for mad, M is for missing you already, M is for Marley.




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