John Grogan - The Longest Trip Home


books

Hi everyone. John Grogan here. Welcome to my favorite part of this website, Share Your Stories, where you can tell your fellow readers and me about your own life journeys. In The Longest Trip Home, I trace the story of my childhood and the path I followed into adulthood and my own place in the world. I also write about coming home to my aging parents to say the things that needed saying before it was too late. Many of us have made, or will one day make, similar journeys. Some others will wish that they had had the opportunity. I look forward to reading your stories. Each one means so much to me.

Yours,
John Grogan



A story from Doris Smith about reading Marley and Me
posted 03/14/2017

i saw the movie a couple of yrs. ago, but i didn't realize Marley was actually your dog, John.

I've loved dogs since i was a very little girl. when i was little, a stray dog would come into our yard, and my mama would say, "now you stay away from that dog! you don't know it--that thing's liable to eat you up!" 20 min. later she'd look out and i'd be sitting on the ground with the dog's head in my lap.

my little girl has been just like me from an early age. Everywhere we'd go, she'd see a dog and if it could, it would come straight up to her and start licking her hand.

now i'm much older and have loved MANY dogs in my life--have had my heart broken many times by them. my blond Lab Daisy, who has always been such a lady, is now 14, and has arthritis in her hips--just like Marley. most times she can't straighten up her back legs, and just sort of drags her hindquarters.

luckily she only weighs 50 lbs., so i or my daughter can usually pick up the back part of her body to set her on her feet, or scoot her around to get her where she needs to be. so far she seems to feel ok, and she's lively and alert, just can't move like she used to.

i know the day will come when life will be too hard for her, and the pain from arthritis won't be controllable. I pray every day for God to take her before she gets to the point that she's miserable. I pray for Him to make the decision so i won't have to.

you can see from the photo how beautiful my girl is, but the photo doesn't show how beautiful she is inside, nor how precious.

we had 5 dogs and Kitty from April 2005, and one by one, they have all died except Daisy, so that makes her even more precious.



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    A story from Lyn Bollen about Dalai & Raanii & Marley's help
    posted 01/08/2017

    In August of 2016 I owned a beautiful Tibetan Spaniel named Dalai Rose and a sultry Lhasa Apso named Raanii. Both were approx. 15 years of age. By October 2016 I lost both dogs to a cancer of the gall bladder (in Dalai)and an haemangio sarcoma of the heart (in Raanii). Their passing left me devastated but somehow knowing I had done all I could to save each of them. I was lucky. I got to say goodbye to them. Others don't get that opportunity. As I have no children, they were my life. During my dogs' lives I had been forever grateful to all of the people and resources who and which have assisted me during my life as a doting owner. One of those resources was "Marley & Me". I bought the book in 2006 and found myself rereading the sections relating to subtle changes in our beloved pooches and how the aging process for them can be so non descript and their illnesses so well hidden. I had been a previous cat owner so understanding canine culture was a work in progress for me. Being an avid recycler I moved the book on to another reader shortly after. However, by 2012 when my dogs were passing the decade mark I began to think of the signs I needed to look for in them should they experience bloat or another serious conditions. How would I emotionally react if I needed to urgently transport them to an animal hospital with such a condition? How would I cope if I needed to make that 10th Canine Commandment of going with them on difficult journeys? I knew I would have to do it one day, but I wanted to be ready. So in 2012 I bought another copy of Marley and Me and left it in a conspicuous place so it would remind me of the importance of enjoying my dogs regardless of any behaviour and to stay strong if/when my dogs' health deteriorated. When Dalai's health took a dramatic change for the worse in May 2016 I could recognise the signs. I went to Marley and Me for comfort the night she was hospitalised in August. I somehow unwillingly knew she wasn't leaving. Two days later her surgery was unsuccessful and she was respectfully euthanased. Ten weeks later my Raanii was also euthanased after a shock discovery of the insidious sarcoma invading her heart. She had only two weeks prior survived a anterior cruciate surgery. Her recovery should have been routine, but instead the plans for rest, physio, hydrotherapy and regulated exercise suddenly morphed into the shock of the time bomb located in her heart. A latent grenade laying embedded in such a sensitive part of a living being, waiting to explode upon a slightest movement. Again, I was lucky. The poor surgery recovery had revealed the more serious underlying and indistinguishable cause of her continuing lameness. She could have easily passed suddenly and painfully in her bath tub, out on a walk or even sleeping and we would not have known why. I couldn't rationalise the risk of my second beloved companion being taken away so viciously. Marley and Me reemerged the afternoon prior to Raanii's planned passing. I knew there would be tears (as with Marley and Dalai) but the agony of my two dogs leaving in such a short space of time was heart wrenching.

    Three weeks of being a pack leader with no pack was a dark and empty period. Suddenly a delightful rescue dog named Lou Lou rescued me. It happened so quickly. I thought the adoption process would take much longer, and I possibly may not have been short listed anyway. I felt almost shameful given the short timeframe after the losses of my two puppies. However, Lou Lou entered my life at the right time for me, a time to help my heart heal. As with the Marley effect for your family, I recognise Lou Lou represents many traits of both my beloved Dalai and Raanii. Of greater importance - Lou Lou has made my family whole again. She wears a floral heart shaped tag and respectfully cares for the toys of my previous lovelies. She is sitting at my feet right now whilst I key this and hope fills my world again.



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    A story from Carla about My Dog Bambam
    posted 11/10/2016

    My dog ​​Bambam died two weeks ago but, I miss him a lot, it will always be in our hearts as a good companion that he was.



    A story from Henderson Elizabeth about HOW I GOT BACK MY LOST LOVE
    posted 10/24/2016

    James and I were together for 3 years and lived together for two until he was moved to another state for job in March of last year.Sept was the last time we spent time together.We went for a vacation and had a fabulous time,not knowing it would be the last time I would see him.He stopped calling Nov,and just sent me a text saying he did not want to talk.I did not pursue it because I thought he just needed some space.March came rolling in,and I found out he got married.How could it be?I found out,shortly before we started dating,he was communicating with a girl from another country and made a trip there once and proposed to her.He made another trip in 2015.She finally came to the country Jan of this year and I figured the reason he dumped me was when he found out she was approved to come to the US.I made the huge mistake of going to the social media and found the woman’s posts of their wedding and trips,etc.That hurt me more than I could imagine.It has been 8 months since I’ve seen him but just can’t get him out of my head.Honestly,I feel very jealous of his now.I wake up in the morning feeling nonexistent,empty and wishing I don’t wake up so I don’t have to feel the same pain I could never get accustomed to.The deceit and the fact that I was used and hurt so bad that I don’t think I could move past it.I decide to seek the help of a psychologist because I knew I was losing it. As I searched the internet, I found cases similar to mine and some,even worse.But all of them sang praises of a man whom helped them restoring their broken relationships,marriages and family…Dr Kene Dilli. I was supprised and decided to give it a try as I contacted his email I found in those testimonies; {kenedillitemples AT yahoo DOT com}. Behold,after doing all he instructed,he sent me a parcel plus the steps needed as reguarding the parcel.Now,I have got back my lover…James,and he has filed for a divorce with the other lady he married. #HappyToBeBackWithJames.



    A story from Jacquelyn Garofano about The Story of Pudgy
    posted 09/07/2016

    Nine years ago, I found my best friend Pudgy on Petfinder. I reached out for a kindred spirit, and there he was.

    If it is possible to find your soulmate in a dog, I truly have found mine. Over all these years, he has taken care of me to a much greater extent than I ever imagined a dog could. He is my little brother and my therapist. He has made it his mission in life to help me.

    In 2007, I was 28 and was living in Florida. I felt desperate and alone. I had tried doing social work when I was younger, when I thought I could save the world. After it didn't work out, I felt like a failure. I felt like the light inside of me was dying. I reached out for something to drag me back into the world, and I found Pudgy.

    Pudgy was the bright spark that re-ignited my world. He was full of energy and challenged me to the very core. As I faced the challenge of teaching him new things every day and he became a better and better dog, I felt great pride in him. What's more, he inspired love and emotion in me for the first time in many years. We forged an emotional bond that was unbreakable.

    I have struggled with mental health issues my entire life, and from the start, Pudgy made it his mission in life to help me. He has an innate ability to sense when something is wrong, and then he magically fixes it. This is not something he was trained to do; this is his own, very special, inborn gift. I had had dogs as a kid, and had been around animals my whole life, but I had never till that point seen a dog behave the way that Pudgy does. It is like a change comes over him, and he immediately goes into rescue-mom-from-herself mode. Once he knows that I am fine, he goes back to his normal Pudgy activities - sniffing, playing, and dreaming about chasing rabbits.

    When Pudgy was around six years old, I learned that my mother had become ill. Two years passed by, and after a long struggle with the illness, she passed away. The loss of my mother hit me very hard. She was a wonderful woman who was not treated very fairly in life. At the same time, I was dealing with some additional struggles. I had so much negativity inside me. I felt angry and lost, and more alone in the world than ever before, except of course for Pudgy, my best friend who had been by my side for so many years.

    I had adopted Pudgy as a rescue dog from an animal shelter back in 2007, but I would never think to call him a rescue dog. He's the one who rescued me. And when my life became challenging, he stepped up to the challenge and accepted a new role in it. To say that Pudgy and I share a special bond is hardly a way of describing what he means to me. He has become my family, my best friend, and finally, he became a psychiatric service dog for me as well.

    A few months ago, I found out that my best friend Pudgy had developed a degenerative heart valve problem. It is called mitral valve disease. The diagnosis was devastating, but after scouring the Internet, I learned that it is fixable with surgery. A rare and special type of surgery. There are very few veterinary surgeons in the world trained to perform this procedure. I have now made it my mission in life to get him the surgery he requires to save him, even if it means crossing an ocean. I have vowed to find a way to defy geographic and financial obstacles in order to get him the life-saving treatment he needs.

    I don't think that I can live without Pudgy. He has done so much for me, I must do this for him. He is a sweet, wonderful and pure creature. I am lucky that I am the human who gets to keep him. He is truly selfless, and has a uniquely innate ability. I am normally an extremely private person, but I want this story to be a happy one. If you want to be part of the Story of Pudgy, you can find out more at www.gofundme.com/bestbeagle, or email me at jacquifridaynewyork@gmail.com. Thank you. -Jacqui



    A story from Chenuk Nethvin about Walter's first day home
    posted 09/05/2016

    It was a warm day, just like any other. The roads were dangling with people trying to go somewhere.

    After a seven minute drive, our car along with us were in front of pet express, known to me as the best place to buy any kind of pet. It was located in the district of Negombo, in Sri Lankan (An island in the border of Asia). Once inside my mind was running wild, I stared right at the puppy station, and then started into a run towards it. Not bothering my parents were holding their purses out of their pocket while collecting the money for the dog, they had the same stranded kind of look on their faces as they approached me and puppies after a short time. I was leaning on the cages staring in to 16 eyes of adorable golden retriever puppies. ‘Now pick a one that is just right for you and us, and a one that will take care of the house’ said my mother, now with proud smile on her face, because of seeing the puppies all bundle on top of my pair of hands. On the way home it was a very long trip, because we had to make at least five stops for my new dog Walter to go on bathroom break.

    “woof-woof” barked Walter as he started to jog around the new environment of my garden. We were now in the surrounded area of my garden The night was just like in your story, he kept yelping and barking, but thanks to your book I had the idea of bringing him it to my own room. Then only did he give a break to his yelping and barking and finally went to bed. Thank you John Grogan for writing a wonderful story like Marley and me, it really made me more confident in taking care of Walter, my dog. Good luck with your family in the future. Chenuk Nethvin a 12 year old boy



    A story from Marilynn Cholowsky about The Longest Trip Home
    posted 02/06/2016

    First of all I love your Marley books - I am a big dog lover - right now I have a Cocker Spaniel - they normally live 10-12 years and he is now 15 but see him slowing down and don't know how much longer I'll have him - but he is definitely Marley's twin - love him dearly though and will care for him as long as he's around.

    The Longest Trip Home brought back memories of my Catholic School days - as a child I was really quiet and shy but my penmanship wasn't the best and the ruler hit my hands constantly - also we used to line up at 10AM for our bathroom time but there were times when the kidneys didn't want to cooperate but you weren't allowed so there were accidents and was told if we told our parents we'd be in bigger trouble so I was too scared to say anything - one of my friends parents talked to my mom wondering why she didn't go up to school and say something and when mom found out she was up to school and got things straightened out - my dad became a Mason which was against the Catholic religion and that caused problems but my dad was a wonderful person and ended each night on his knees - I broke away for a while but am active in Church today but when it came time for high school I definitely didn't want to go to a Catholic high school so my dad said finish until 8th grade and you can go to public school.

    Also my mom was a controlling person and I used to tell my dad he was going up for sainthood living with her - I wasn't as lucky as you and got into a marriage where as they put in AlAnon I was dependently independent - mom controlled my life then did my husband who was an abusive alcoholic but I knew how to fight back after the first time it happened - mom wanted me to leave him the first year but I didn't have the courage and stayed with him 25 years and after the third time he left I told him unless he was in AA not to come back. Finally on my own I learned how to control my life and forge my own identity - in different ways we disappoint our parents but as I grew up and on my own I realized she did try and do her best and wanted the best for me.

    I know how you felt with your father going downhill - I went through it with both parents but my dad was gone in 5 months - with mom it was 5 1/2 years - even when it's for the best it's tough when you lose them.

    I really identified with you a lot in your story - I'm so happy you met Jenny and wish the both of you many more happy and healthy years together.



    A story from Roberta about labs
    posted 12/23/2015

    I wrote a few paragraphs, and lost them in the submission, so this is a test. . . this is only a test.



    A story from Ben Cody about Deuce and Reggie
    posted 12/07/2015

    Here is a picture of the old boys, fighting over a paper thin pillow with an entire blanket to share.



    A story from Ben Cody about Deuce & Reggie (and Chipper)
    posted 12/06/2015

    Last year, I lost my Deuce, a 10.5 yo 05 pound yellow lab who was the polar opposite of Marley. Deuce was the most docile, calm, well behaved dog I have ever met. He wasn't my first dog, but he was the only one that was all mine, from 8 week puppy on. It was also the first dog of my family that had to be put down for something other than age/ natural causes (cancer), and the decision was mine and mine alone. I gave him a good life, and I believe that the time was right and it was done before he experienced real pain. I returned home to a house with only Reggie, my adopted 90 pound black lab who, other than coloring, could have been Marley's personality stunt double(lightning didn't strike twice). I sat in numb shock, not really sure what to do next. I thought of the movie from your book, and it felt right, so I scanned through all of the on-demand cable options, and nothing. Dejected, I hit escape back to regular cable, and there it was, about 10 minutes in. As the movie progressed, it helped knowing others could be so moved by the love of a dog. In my minds eye, this was God's way of letting me know it really was the right time.

    Here I am a year later, and Reggie is showing his age. He is approaching 12, and the later chapters of the book are taking on new meaning. Instead of deafness, Reggie is almost completely blind (cataracts). He has difficulty with stairs b/c of his hips, and we live in an elevated house. He is otherwise healthy, but he is hurting himself running into things, and his hips are starting to really cause pain even with medication. Unfortunately, I can tell his time will be coming soon.

    Enter Chipper; about 5 months ago, some coworkers found a near starved chocolate 1 yo stray lab puppy by my office. I took one look and agreed to take him immediately. He had heartworms, hook worms, and whip worms, and needed to put on about 30 to 40 pounds. Now he is a happy, healthy big boy of about 100 pounds. I look at him and cant help but wonder if he wasn't put in my path so I wouldn't be alone when Reggie's time comes.

    There is just something about labs... Each of my boys has been what I needed at the time. Deuce, my first, taught me a lot about real responsibility, and he helped get me through the emotional turmoil of living in New Orleans after Katrina. Reggie taught me patience and has given me 10+ years of the kind of joy that can only come from a big, goofy, rambunctious lab. Now Chipper is teaching me about compassion. Besides neglect, I am convinced he was also abused. I look into his sweet eyes and wonder who could harm a puppy. He is a new challenge, distrustful of strangers and other dogs, but I know there is a beautiful soul in there.

    It sounds clichéd to say God doesn't give us more than we can handle, but I can't imagine witnessing Reggie's decline alone. With Deuce, I had Reggie to help me come to terms with the loss. Now, once again, God has put a lab in my life to help me, as he has for every trial and tribulation I have experienced in the last 13 years.

    They truly are a special breed. After finishing your book last night, I felt like sharing my story. My heart still hurts when I think about Deuce, and now less than a year later, I am going through it again. I know it is one of many, but your story has helped tremendously. knowing there are others who have been so touched by our companions has helped me cope. Your story was very much worth telling.



    A story from Jessica about THANK YOU FOR YOUR BOOK
    posted 11/05/2015

    Hi , I'm from Peru and would like to thank you for your wonderful book , It has helped to overcome the loss of my best friend Argos , and to remember great moments of our friendship , my friend taught me to accept ourselves as we are and the incomdicional love , I miss a lot !! .well I leave and I hope to come to Peru in their next vacation and visit Cusco !! Greetings!



    A story from Olivia about I am from Australia, I want to testify of how i got cured from hepatitis b
    posted 07/20/2015

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    posted 06/22/2015

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    A story from Denise about Military Dog
    posted 06/03/2015

    I am privy to a beautiful story about the life and death of a military dog and his caretaker. Their story should be told in a book.



    A story from Angelina Blanco about Thank You Letter.
    posted 05/17/2015

    Dear John Grogan,

    I would like to start this letter by thanking you for writing Marley & Me. I developed a new habit of taking responsibility for my pitbull, Sofie. I walk her every day now, even when it’s raining. I question her and wonder what she is doing or where she is. I make sure she has a warm bed to sleep in and food every morning and night. Although she is a family dog it feels like she is just mine.

    It also made me think about my life and job. In the book it seems that you love your job. That’s what I want and and for whatever I want to do I have to be committed to it and love it at the same. You really showed this in your book.

    You added such a touching feeling to Marley. Yes, he was a pain in the tush, but he was also a loving dog. When Jenny was sick of his disruption and destruction and wanted to get rid of him, it changed everything. Everyone was sad and nothing was right, and it made me think about my family and what it would be like if that happened to me. When everybody came back together, it really made me want my parents to get back together. At the very end you had a happy family and you moved into a big house. Then a terrible tragedy happened with Marley, making me cry my eyes out. I couldn’t see the words when I was reading. You made me realize that even when everything is happy, there is always, eventually, a down side to things.

    The main thing this book reminds me about is my black labrador, Mikey. He was just like Marley. He was scared of thunderstorms and loved the beach. He made messes everywhere and absolutely loved people. Mikey, like Marley, was a runt in his litter and he was for sale. When I was reading, all I could think about was Mikey. Half the book was like deja vu. Sometimes during the book, I actually thought you were talking about Mikey. hey are like doppelgangers. After reading the book twice and seeing the movie around 15 times, I really changed from your book. Thank you for everything you have done.

    Sincerely,

    Angelina Blanco Archer Lodge Middle School



    A story from Peter DeWitt about Im in your book!
    posted 05/04/2015

    Hello John,

    I recently found out that my story from highschool is in your book titled, "Bad Dogs Have More Fun." I am the guy who got suspended from school for having a syrup covered steak knife and a pen knife in my car. I had no idea the story was in a published book. I was wondering if you could send a signed copy of the book. I would love to be able to have that to keep in the house! Thank you very much I look forward to hearing from your office! My email is ptddweitt@gmail.com



    A story from Alyson H. about Paws
    posted 04/20/2015

    Dear Mr. Grogan,

    I read Marley & Me, and found myself very moved. Some parts made me laugh out loud at Marley’s insanity, and others brought me nearly to tears. In your story, Marley was more than just a thing being written about, but rather a character that I grew to feel personally close to. Marley was a lovable, energetic, crazy dog. I felt as though I could connect to your moments with Marley. I used to have a young puppy named Bella who absolutely refused to learn anything that I tried to teach her. She was probably the most stubborn, energetic, crazy dog I had ever met. Bella always wanted to play, but she simply never wanted to rest. She was never still, never pausing for a moment. She always ran and jumped all over my massive golden retriever who was probably four times her small size. If we put her in the crate to try and settle her down, she would whine and scream until she got out, and when she did, her energy multiplied by ten. Did Marley ever do this? She chewed two large holes in our thin carpet, and how she got her teeth to latch on to the carpeting, I have no idea. Marley, I felt, was very much like my puppy Bella.

    I must admit that I was near tears when I read that Marley died. I remember and experience in which I felt a similar loss, even though it may not seem as drastic. I had a cat named Paws. She was the sweetest cat I had ever known. She was all black with a fluffy white chest, a white dot along her nose, and white paws. I loved her so much, and I admit that I told her all my secrets. She was my best friend. If one day she felt as though she didn’t get the proper amount of attention, she would crawl up my chest no matter what I was doing, interrupting by wiggling her little nose up to meet mine. She would then wrap her paws around my neck in a hugging way, almost as if she was just needing a little hug, a little care. I would hug her back and we would stay in the same position for sometimes an hour. I remember her purrs and her soft meows as she lay cuddled in my arms. But Paws was getting old, and she began to pee everywhere. On the bed, on the floor, on the couch, or even on a blanket that was haphazardly thrown across my room. My mom told me the truth. Paws would not go in the litter box, which was very available, and she was getting old. My mom told me she needed to go. The next day, Paws was taken away from me. I remember crying about it. I remember feeling as if a true friend was being ripped away from me. Did you feel this way? Like a huge hole was just gaping inside you from missing your best friend? I remembered my friend, Paws, when I read the part about Marley’s death. I’m sorry for your loss.

    Sincerely, Alyson H.



    A story from Rhea A about My First Pup
    posted 04/20/2015

    Mr. Grogan,

    The day I lost my first pup, Tammy, was tragic indeed. She was sweetness in a poodle’s body, but had great difficulty with arthritis and her joints, like Marley. And, like Marley, she’d follow me up and down the treacherous flight of stairs. One day, she just up and collapsed. It was three days and countless tears before she woke up again, and when she did, she couldn’t move, only blink up solemnly from the floor and yip with pain anytime someone pet her. We finally had to put her down. Buster, our other poodle, was very attached to Tammy and refused to eat after she was gone. He followed close behind her. I have shared this story with you because, after reading Marley & Me for a school assignment, I knew you would understand losing a dog you cared about. It was such a tragic and beautiful story.

    After I read the book, a few questions came up about Marley and Me. Do you have any advice for new dog owners? Was there anything Marley wouldn’t eat? And what was the most embarrassing thing Marley ever did?

    Sincerely, Rhea A.



    A story from Elias B about Our Dog
    posted 04/20/2015

    Dear Mr Grogan,

    The day that I first cracked open your book with my Reading Enrichment class, I was a bit apprehensive. I am, quite honestly, more of a cat person, and my pitbull with extremely erratic behavior, was not an easy task. Our dog’s name was Zeus upon puppy purchase, and my father decided that Hank would be an appropriate name. I would act out as much as he does if my name was Hank. My father, after realizing that our dog specialized in leaving “gifts” by the coffee table, and barking at the grass (among other things), decided to give up on the dog. He has to decided to keep our dog in a kennel outside, until he can ¨prove himself¨. Now as you know, and I know, due to personal and second-hand experience from our dogs and tales of other dogs, that it can be extremely difficult for a dog to prove itself, for a dog has no morals, free-will, or even opposable thumbs.

    Reading your book, I began to see my dog in a different light, and gave him the proper attention, and even picked up some tips to start my very own path to owner-dog nirvana. I assumed the dog craze to be an absolute cliché, and it wasn’t until after I started reading your book did I realize that it was a cliché that you started. Your book was the trademark story, something that helped anyone who’s read your book or seen the movie to see their dogs as gentle symbols of life, like a second generation of the family. I was very open to my dog at first, but due to my cat-like attention span, I ended up showing less interest in the dog as time went by. The typical canine-care routine was becoming monotonous, and I don’t think I ever would’ve recovered from my eminent ennui if it wasn’t for Marley & Me.

    Our dog was clumsy, needy, and always saw himself in his ¨puppy days¨, as most dogs do. He was not a lap dog, but that never stopped him. If you even so much as said the word ¨dog¨, he would charge. Some would even think to shield their bodies, but if you were at the other end of his ¨500-meter-doggy-dash¨, you would really want to just shield your face, unless, of course, the idea of slobber-showers seems pleasing to you. Though my dog is an erratic, messy slobber-machine that I wouldn’t even leave alone inside the house, his imminent death is something that I fear for, though it will be quite some time. It’s something I wouldn’t be able to put into words, let alone think about. I can only imagine how hard everything was to put into words for you, especially after his death. We as a class, do greatly appreciate your effort to share your story, and I don’t think you need me to tell you how big of a hit the novel was.

    One dog that I hold close to my heart, and regret every moment that we did not share, was named Thor. I was young, but he was younger. His death was unfair, but it was my fault. I neglected him. My parents attempted to convince me that it was a snake bite. It was an obvious heat stroke. He was a five-month-old English bulldog, and it was 103゜outside. What with the bathing, his energy, his unconditional love, and his need to always entertain, it was too much for 11-year-old me. I took it all for granted.

    But that was so long ago. It has been so long since his death that all the dirt, leaves, and animal feces from newer pets began to pile up, until his little rectangular gravestone became buried, along with a lost family member, and he truly was. He was of a litter of nine, from a dog that our grandmother owns, named Ibby, who is still alive in perfect health, and grudge-free. She doesn’t seem to know, or resent, the death of one of her own spawn, and she doesn’t resent me for it- probably because she is a dog, and resentment isn’t included in the package.

    Dog deaths aside, I have some questions for you, and would greatly appreciate if you would respond ASAP:

    First and foremost: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers that doesn’t involve:

    •Avoiding Drugs

    •Staying in school

    •“Following your heart”

    •Some other dead cliché

    Are there any other anecdotes or parts of the novel that didn’t make the cut? If so, would you mind sharing?

    Do you look back on your infamous trip to Ireland with regret, nostalgic longing, or neither? Why?

    How come you waited 2 years to mention the events of 9/11 and how it affected you?

    Once again, thank you for sharing with the world a heartwarming and heartbreaking tale, and for taking time to read my intricately collocated letter, and I do sincerely wish you the best of luck with future pets, or even kids, grandkids, family heirs, etc.

    Sincerely,

    Elias B.



    A story from Dylan M about Loss
    posted 04/20/2015

    Dear Mr. Grogan,

    I enjoyed your book very much; it was very interesting and made me think back to times I’ve lost people and animals in my life. I’m only seventeen, but I do know quite a bit about death. I haven’t really lost anyone or anything extremely close to me yet except for my dog Max. I was wondering if you have lost anyone else besides Marley that was very important too your life. I know losing family is very difficult, and I expect that was why it was difficult too let go of Marley.

    I understand why you loved Marley so much even though he seemed very crazy almost all the time. I currently have a dog named Lincoln; he’s a silver lab and he also acts like he’s lost his marbles all the time, although he can’t relate to Marley when it comes to the weird things he loves, we can when it comes to our cat Zarpa. This cat’s fetish is insane; I’m surprised he hasn’t tried to marry plastic because he loves it so much. So I do understand having a pet that is special compared to other animals, because I have two and just as you loved Marley, I love my pets because they are different.

    Sincerely, Dylan M.



    A story from Levi S about My Dogs
    posted 04/20/2015

    Dear Mr. Grogan,

    Marley and Me was very touching and humorous. It makes you think about the smaller things in life and appreciate them more. By making the last part the most heart-jerking, you left us all with a deep, emotionally rich feeling. I have felt losses, and they are similar to your experience. My old Saint Bernard Romeo was a great dog, loyal and fluffy. We used to bring him in and use him as a pillow when we watched movies. One time he was playing near a house with a broken window. He jumped through it, and a shard sliced his stomach open, and he bled all over himself. My father and brother helped him walk down to the house where he soon died. I found myself crying since I had lost something so dear to me.

    I’ve had several dogs since and none compare to Romeo. None but Jewell, our English Mastiff. She was three years old and had heart problems. We put her down in the middle of the night, but I wasn't told until the following morning, and this put me in another slump. I have not felt the same about any dog as I did about Romeo and Jewell, but that’s okay.

    I wanted to ask you if you had the choice, would you have switched Saint Shaun and Marley’s place in your life? Would you have wanted Marley as a child and Shaun as an adult? It could have changed the ways you view dogs entirely. Do you think your life would be much different? I was just wondering because it seems that your life would have flipped completely around.

    Sincerely,

    Levi S.



    A story from Jake A about My Grandfather
    posted 04/20/2015

    Dear Mr. Grogan,

    First off I’d like to say that I enjoyed your book very much. Reading about Marley’s hijinx was very enjoyable. It was a very touching and relatable book. Marley reminded me to appreciate my own dog more. The book was one giant emotional roller coaster. It had moments that made me laugh and smile, and then it would immediately change to something that brought tears to my eyes. Your book had some of the best imagery I’ve seen in a book for a long time, and it felt as if I almost lived a portion of my life with you.

    One time I dealt with loss was when my grandfather died. I was very young when my Grandpa Gene died, probably around five or six years old. My grandfather was easily my best friend at the time. We did everything together, and I mean everything. We would watch cartoons together, prank my grandmother, eat together, walk the dog together, play with toys together, and even play super hero together. My grandpa and I were inseparable. My mom and grandma told me about one time where I told my grandfather that everything was “bulls

  • t” . I said, “This house is bulls

  • t. That car is bulls

  • t. The siding of the house is bulls

  • t. That phone tower is bullsh

  • t.” My grandpa thought it was hilarious, but when my grandmother walked out she did not find it nearly as funny. I remember whenever my grandpa died they didn’t tell me until after I went to my grandparent’s house and searched the whole house for him, and after I was done and asked where he was they broke the news to me. I was devastated, but I didn’t cry because my dad always told me “Men don’t cry,” so I had to be strong and keep my tears in because I was a man. My mom told me later in life that at the funeral you could see me physically struggling to keep in my tears. I’ll never forget the memories I made with my grandfather who was my first best friend.

    Lastly, I have a few questions that I’d like to ask you. If given the opportunity would you rename any of your children? If you were able to go back in time and choose to never publish Marley & Me would you? Would you prefer to have chosen different states to live in? What is your favorite band and song? And lastly, what current pets do you have? Thank you for your time Mr. Grogan.

    Sincerely,

    Jake A.




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