Archive for November, 2005

More Dumb Dog Photos

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

A lot of people have been sending me photos of their dogs. I’m a sucker for these things and never get tired of them. This one came in from Debbie of metro Philly and is of her Welsh terrier and “bad dog” Jilly. Ya gotta love those shades. I originally wondered how Jilly was able to sit there and resist digging into the plate of food — until Debbie told me the burger in front of her was ceramic. That would have made no difference to Marley, who would have gobbled it down nonetheless, and then eaten the sunglasses for dessert. Burp!

Amy’s Marley

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

Whaddaya think? This little guy could be a stand-in on the cover of Marley & Me.

Another Marley in Town

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

If you’ve read my book, you might be of the opinion that one Marley in this world is quite enough, thank you. But I’m learning that there are many Marleys out there…yellow Labrador retrievers who share not only his looks but his — how can I be kind here? — ebullient and irrepresible personality. (Diplomatic, huh?) Some of them even share his name.

Amy R. from Racine, Wisconsin, wrote me to let me know she, too, has a yellow Lab named Marley. (That’s him in the photo above.) And, wouldn’t you know it, he’s got the same behavior genes, too. Not only that, but my family’s story is eerily similar to Amy’s story. She writes:
“I just recently purchased your book. I saw the picture of the cover and i just melted. I have a 1 year old labrador named, Marley. We named him after Bob marley, also. Everything in your book is like a picture perfect description of my Marley. He was here for my first miscarriage, just like Jenny’s. The nicknames that you called Marley are the same nicknames we call our Marley. We also purchased him from a farm. I haven’t finished your book yet but I thought that I would let you know that maybe our dogs might just be related. Also in the beginning when you were talking about Saint Shaun, we also had a dog like that. Everything you describe about Shaun our Labrador Jack did. He died last year. He was 5 and he got hit by a car. Then I got Marley for a Christmas present. Little did I know, my life was about to change dramatically. He is a very hyper dog. He can’t sit still for more than 2 seconds. When I play fetch with him I have to do the same thing you did with the sticks. Marley has eaten every pair of my shoes, every pair of my underwear, he has broken our doors from smashing through them. And lately he has been going nuts when the weather is bad. The realism of your Marley to my Marley is quite odd. Each day I read about your Marley, I feel if God has anything to do with our lives, these 2 dogs must be tied together somehow.”

Heaven help you if they are, Amy. (Just joking.) Your Marley is about as cute as they come. How hyper could something so adorable be? (Yeah, I made that mistake once myself…)

Best Nonfiction of 2005

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

On Nov. 1, the Christian Science Monitor published a really great review of Marley & Me. In today’s edition it surprised me with something even better. It published its list of “Best Nonfiction 2005,” and I’m happy to report that Marley & Me made the cut. The list describes my book as “The funny, touching tale of life with a difficult dog.” Others making the best-of-year list were Thomas Friedman’s “The World is Flat”, Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink”, David McCullough’s “1776″ and Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals.” I’m totally honored and humbled to make the same list as these incredible writers.

Christian Science Monitor Book Editor Marjorie Kehe also named Marley & Me as one of her Top 10 personal favorites for 2005. Her list includes both fiction and non-fiction and includes Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking” and “The Painted Drum” by Louise Erdrich. So, OK, I squeaked in at #10 of 10, but I’ll happily take it.

Wow, talk about an early Christmas present. Thank you, Christian Science Monitor!

You can see the entire Best of 2005 List (there’s also one for fiction) and Kehe’s personal favorites at The site also has a link to the original Monitor review.

A Step up on the B&N List

Monday, November 21st, 2005

I got some good news tonight: Marley & Me clicked up one notch on the Barnes & Noble Store Nonfiction Bestseller List for the week ending Nov. 19, moving to #5. The list is based on sales for the week at all B&N stores, and it puts me in line after Frank McCourt at #1, Jimmy Carter at #2, Doris Kearns Goodwin at #3 and Thomas Friedman at #4. And it puts me before Al Franken at #6 and Joan Didion at #7.
To read the complete B&N List, go to:

Yesterday (Sunday, November 20) I moved up to #9 on The New York Times Bestseller List, and I’m scheduled to move up to #8 next Sunday. (The Times has a two-week delay between the counting week and the publication of that week’s list.)

A little more market news: Target stores nationally will begin carrying Marley & Me beginning Thanksgiving weekend. And I’ve received reports from readers that Kroger supermarkets also are now carrying it in their limited books sections.
And finally, the big-volume warehouse club Costco will be carrying the book, but not beginning until after the New Year.

So I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. And believe me, I’ll be giving thanks. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

The "Other" Marley

Saturday, November 19th, 2005

Will the Real Marley Please Bark Twice?

Saturday, November 19th, 2005

When my wife Jenny and I named our Lab Marley, we really thought we were a couple of complete originals. Who else on the planet could possibly have dreamed up the idea of naming their dog after a famous raggae star? Man, were were geniuses!
As it turns out, a few others had the same idea… Since Marley & Me came out, I’ve been getting a steady stream of e-mails from the owners of dogs — an alarming number of them male Labrador retrievers — named….yes, you guessed it, Marley. What’s funny is many of them have attached photos, and their Marleys even LOOK like my Marley. And, from the stories that are attached, more than a few of them ACT like him, too. Truly, a frightening proposition.
One such Marley owner is Cheryl W. of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, who wrote:
I just wanted to share with you that we have a yellow Lab as well, and his name is Marley too. We named him for the same reason you named yours, after Bob Marley. In August of 2001, my husband and I just lost our first dog of 10 years and had a miscarriage at the same time. So, we needed some spirit and “noise” in our house after our losses and decided we wanted another dog. It’s amazing how quiet your house becomes after you lose a pet. So, we went puppy shopping and brought our Marley home a week before 9/11/01. The irony here is that he looks exactly like your Marley! I have enclosed some photos for you to enjoy. But, our Marley does not have quite the same amount of energy as yours did (unless there’s a tennis ball involved!).
It was enjoyable to read your book and all of Marley’s escapades and loving moments. One moment that touched me the most was when your wife was put on bedrest with Conor’s pregnancy and you found Marley sitting by her bed. I am currently on bedrest with this pregnancy and there have been some days where my Marley doesn’t leave my side. It’s amazing how these dogs just have a gut instinct sometimes. Thank you for writing this wonderful memoir.

That’s Cheryl’s Marley at the top of this post. Open the back cover of Marley & Me and compare him to my Marley on the beach. Too close for comfort, don’t you think? I suspect my Marley was Cheryl’s Marley’s evil twin. Or at least incorrigible twin.

And the Winner of the Marley Lookalike Contest Is…

Thursday, November 17th, 2005

So, OK, there’s no contest, but if there were a contest, I think I just found the winner. Jamie S. from Reading, Pennsylvania, sent me a letter describing her yellow Lab pup, Rudy, and describing how shocked she was to see the cover of Marley & Me in the bookstore. “I was immediately drawn in because the picture of Marley looks just like my Rudy, a now 9 month old yellow Lab,” she wrote. “I have attached a puppy picture of what our Rudy looked like only a few months ago.”
I clicked open Jamie’s digital image of Rudy…and low and behold, it was like a young Marley was staring back at me. Not quite the same, but pretty darn close. Take a look at Rudy, then at 12-week-old Marley on the cover of the book. What do you think? Separated at birth?

By the way, Jamie goes on to write: “Your story reminds me of us. We have only been married a year and a half and as soon as we bought our house a year ago we decided to get a dog that spring. And our lives have never been the same…we are in love with our POOCH! We have taken him to two puppy classes and he goes to a puppy play group every Saturday. He doesn’t listen to me at all and has eaten more socks and undergarments than I can count. He brings us so much joy (and frustration) everyday, but all of it is worth it.”
Oh, don’t I know that drill….

And here he is…Fred

Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

In the post below, I reprinted a letter from Theresa
from Brooklyn, who described her very Marleyesque
chocolate Lab, Fred. After I told her I had put her
letter up her on my blog, she was kind enough to
share a photo of the boundlessly joyous Fred.
So here he is….

Meet Fred, a Lab Like No Other

Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

I’ve been hearing about a lot of incredible dogs lately. Incredibly good dogs and incredibly mischievous dogs. Mostly, incredibly memorable dogs. People are telling their stories on the “Share Your Stories” page of my website (button above), and in private emails to me.

One of my favorites came from a New Yorker, whose oversized chocolate Lab Fred
safely falls well within the elite club of MOST MEMORABLE DOGS. I loved her email and am printing it here in its entirety. The ham-sandwich story is So Totally Marley. Separated at birth?
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Fred:

Thank you for a great read.
Of course, I had a Lab (chocolate)who I named
Fred (he so looked like a Fred). I had him for
almost 14 years. I had to give him to friends of mine
when he turned 8 so I had joint custody of this
gigantic goofball (about 115 pounds at his largest)
for the last 5 years. My friends turned out to be the
perfect family for him (I was living in a studio
in the city)–they had an acre of land in Rockland
County. His adoptive father, Danny, is a NYC fireman
who had an amazing bond with Fred and said that
he could not have gotten through 9/11 without Fred.

I read somewhere that labs are missing a part of
the brain that signals when they’re full
–I know this was defnitely the case with Fred–
our very own food disposal and vacuum cleaner.
He loved food so much that I was
convinced that if he were human, he would
prostitute himself for any type of food
(especially watermelon and bagels).

Of course, Fred was a food thief extraordinaire
–one time, he stole a leftover sandwich out of the
car(it was half a sandwich inside a plastic
sandwich bag that was inside a brown paper lunch bag).
He smelled the sandwich and took off with the
whole paper bag and was about to dig out the
sandwich out in the front yard (I think he
was thinking picnic). Then he noticed me chasing
him down and had a look of panic. He was not
about to lose this prize of a ham sandwich so he
looked at me wildly for a second–looked down at
the bag–looked at me again–and came up with a
quick solution. He grabbed the whole paper bag
with his huge gator-like mouth and GULP–he had
swallowed the entire brown bag in one gigantic gulp!
Yes–he got the sandwich in time–WITH the plastic
sandwich bag AND the brown paper bag! When the plastic
bag finally came out the next day or so–it looked
like he had smuggled cocaine out of Colombia or

Fred also loved the water and would go to the
neighbors across the street (an Emmy-award
actress and a NYC policeman couple) and bark
in their backyard until they opend the gate and let
him swim in their pool–he’d take a dip and then
stand outside their back door until they came out and
gave him a piece of cold cut–then he’d walk back
nonchalantly back to the house–that was his
idea of a dog day’s afternoon. He had trained a TV
actress and NYC cop for a free swim and snack.

Well, that’s just a couple of my memories of Fred
–he died almost 2 years ago and had a great life.
The doctors told me that he had about 6 weeks
to live (cancerous stomach tumors that had spread)
–but he lived about 15 months–that’s the power of
love, alternative medicine and homemade chicken
and rice everyday (thanks Lisa and Danny!)
And thank you for a great book–I’m going to buy
2 copies–one for Danny and one for my brother who
misses Fred as much as I do.

Best regards,
Theresa K.
Brooklyn, NY