Marley and Me Chapter 6-10 (2)
We were ready for a change from Florida. There were too many people and cars. The weather was always hot, with a lot of thunderstorms. We wanted to live in a quiet place in the country. We wanted to see summer, winter, spring, and fall. Most of all, we wanted to see snow.
Our new home was very beautiful. There was a small river near our house and there were woods all around it. Marley was very happy. Fie loved playing in the woods, and running after small animals.
Three weeks after New Year, it snowed. The children were very excited because it was their first time. We put on warm jackets and ran outside. Marley followed us.
Marley was very funny in the snow. He fell down all the time. Snow lay on his fur and his face. I could only see a black nose and two brown eyes. I could read his thoughts:
I don't understand. What's this? It feels so cold and wet.
But then Marley jumped up again. He ran around the yard and jumped through the snow. The children laughed happily, and Marley was happy, too. We had a great time.
It was almost the end of our first winter in Pennsylvania. We were very happy in our new house.
But Marley was nine years old now. He moved more slowly and he slept for most of the day. Sometimes when I took him for a walk, he got very tired. His fur in many places was gray, not yellow.
Life with Marley wasn't easy. He cost us a lot of money. He ate a lot of food and he broke a lot of our things. We could never change him. We knew that. But he was one of our family. He loved us and we loved him.
That spring, I said to Jenny, "Let's get some farm animals."
"OK," she said. "But we don't have a place for big animals. Let's get some chickens. Then we can have eggs every day."
Jenny talked to one of the moms at the children's school. Donna lived on a farm. She gave Jenny four baby chickens.
The chickens lived in a box in the kitchen. They ate and pooped. Then they ate some more-and they got bigger.
One morning, I woke up early when I heard a call from downstairs: Cock-a-doodle-do!
I woke Jenny up and asked, "What's that noise?"
"Oh," she said. "I don't know." She turned over and slept.
Every morning, the chickens made a lot of noise. Sometimes they made loud noises very near Marley. Marley was usually afraid of loud noises, but he didn't move away from the chickens.
"That's strange," I thought. "Can't Marley hear the chickens?"
One afternoon when Marley was asleep in the kitchen, I walked up behind him.
"Marley!" I said. But Marley didn't move. "Marley!" I said again. Nothing. "MARLEY!" I shouted. Marley turned. He stood up and wagged his tail.
"Oh, no," I thought. "Marley can't hear."
But Marley could hear some things. When we put food in his bowl, he always heard the sound of his dinner. He ran in from the next room.
Marley was always hungry. He ate four big bowls of dog food every day, and he also ate our food. Labradors are big dogs, and Marley was a very large Labrador. But he never got fat.
One day I came home from work early and I went into the kitchen. Marley was there. He didn't see me and he didn't hear me. There was a sandwich on the kitchen table. Marley stood up and put his paws on the table. Then he ate the sandwich.
"What are you doing, Marley?" I asked. "You are a bad dog." But he didn't hear me. He ate the sandwich happily.
I put my hand on Marley's fur and he jumped. When he saw me, he lay down on the floor. He looked up at me and I started to laugh. I couldn't be angry with Marley. He was old now and he couldn't hear. I couldn't change him.
The chickens weren't afraid of Marley and he never tried to catch them. They walked around the yard and Marley went with them.
Marley Gets Older
Jenny and I had a good life. Our children were young. We felt young, too. But when we looked at Marley, we saw many changes. The years went past, and he was twelve years old. By this time, he couldn't hear anything. His fur was gray. His teeth were brown.
Late one night, I took Marley outside for his walk before bed. It was winter and there was a cold rain. I went back into the house for my jacket. When I came out again, Marley wasn't there. I looked for him everywhere, but I couldn't find him.
I went back inside. Then I walked upstairs and woke up Jenny.
"I can't find Marley," I said. "He's out there in the rain."
Jenny pulled on her jeans and shoes and we went outside again. I walked slowly through the woods and called for Marley. Jenny went a different way. We were very wet and cold.
"Let's go home and get warm," I said. "I'll get the car and come out again."
We walked back to our house. Suddenly, we saw Marley. He stood outside the house, out of the rain. When he saw us, he was very happy. I felt angry with him, but then I was happy, too.
I brought him inside and dried him. Marley was very tired. He went to sleep and woke up at noon the next day.
Marley couldn't see well now. His fur started to fall out, too. Jenny cleaned the house every day, but his hairs were everywhere. But Marley's biggest problem was his hips. They hurt him a lot and he couldn't move quickly. He couldn't climb the stairs easily. But he tried to follow us everywhere.
Marley had good days and bad days. One spring evening, I took him for a short walk around the yard. The night was cold and there was a light wind. I ran and Marley ran with me.
"Marley!" I said. "You're a puppy again!"
We ran back to the house. There were two small stairs in front of the door. When Marley tried to climb the stairs, he fell down. He lay on the stairs and looked sadly up at me.
Marley was too heavy for me. I couldn't carry him, so I had to push him up the stairs. Then he stood up and went into the house.
When I looked at Marley, I thought, "We only have one life and it can change very quickly."
I enjoyed my job on the magazine, but I really wanted to work for a newspaper again. Newspapers were more exciting, and I liked writing about big stories. I also liked getting letters and calls from readers.
A friend told me about a job on the Philadelphia Inquirer. This was one of the best newspapers in the United States. I wrote to the newspaper and I got the job. I was very happy.
In the summer, Jenny visited her sister in Boston. She took the children with her. I didn't go because I was busy with my new job. Every day, I was away from home for ten or twelve hours, so we took Marley to a vacation home for dogs.
Some days later, an animal doctor called me from the home. "I'm sorry," she said, "but Marley's very sick. When he saw the other dogs, he got very excited. He ate his food too quickly. Then he had a bad problem with his stomach and he almost died. He's a little better now, but it will happen again."
"Oh," I said. "What are you saying?"
"Do you want us to help end Marley's life?" she said.
"Oh," I said. I couldn't think. "I have to talk to my wife."
I called Jenny in Boston and we had a long conversation about Marley. In the end, Jenny said, "The doctor's right. We have to do the best thing for Marley."
I called the doctor back. "Yes, Marley's a very old dog," I said. "Life isn't so good for him now. He doesn't have many teeth and he can't hear. His hips hurt him, too."
"Yes," she said. "Maybe we have to put him to sleep. But I'll call you again in an hour."
When the doctor called again, she said, "Marley's a very sick dog, but he isn't getting worse."
The next morning, she called again. "We can wait," she said. "Marley's eating. You can take him home tomorrow."
I was very happy. The next evening, after work, I went to the dogs' home. Marley was very thin and weak. I thanked the doctor.
"Everybody here loves Marley," she said.
One of the workers helped me put Marley into the car. Then I drove him home. He couldn't climb the stairs to the bedroom and I didn't want to leave him. So, that night, I put a sleeping bag on the floor and lay down next to him.
"Tomorrow Jenny and the children are coming back," I said. "But tonight, Marley, it's only you and me."
I thought about my first night with Marley, when he was a small puppy. That night, he cried for his mother, and then he slept in a box next to my bed. Now, thirteen years later, here we were again. I put out my hand and petted him.
In the next weeks, Marley got a little better. A lot of the time, he lay on the floor in the family room, asleep in the sun.
But one morning, when I was in the bedroom, I heard a noise. Then Conor shouted, "Help! Marley fell down the stairs!" Marley lay at the bottom of the stairs. Jenny and I ran to him. But then he got up and walked away.
"Marley had a bad fall," I told the children. "But he's OK." But Marley was hurt. When I got home from work that evening, he couldn't move. When he saw me, he tried to get up. But he fell down again on the floor.
"I don't think Marley can go upstairs again," I said.
But I was wrong. The next day, I was upstairs at my computer in my bedroom when I heard a sound. I turned around. Marley stood at the bedroom door!
"Marley!" I said. "What are you doing here?"
I went to him and petted him. Then I looked into his eyes. "Marley," I said, "you're going to tell me when it's time - right?"
A Great Dog
Winter arrived early that year. The children waited for the snow.
"Can Marley live through another winter?" I thought.
Jenny and I took the children to Disney World in Florida. It was their first Christmas away from home and they were very excited. Jenny took Marley to the animal doctors' office. They gave him a home there and watched him carefully.
We had a great family vacation. But on the way home, somebody called us from the doctors' office.
"Marley's very tired," she said, "and his hips are really hurting him."
The next day, Jenny went for Marley. He got out of the car, but he couldn't walk into the house. He lay on the ground outside. Jenny called me at work.
"I can't get Marley inside," she said. "He can't get up."
I left my office and went home. When I arrived, Marley was inside the house. But he was very sick. He lay on the floor. For the first time in thirteen years, he didn't get up when he saw me. His eyes followed me, but he didn't move his head. I looked at his stomach; it was very big.
I called the animal doctors.
"Bring Marley here now," a young woman doctor said.