Two weekends ago, Catherine O’Brien, a reporter for The Times of London flew over from the UK to visit Jenny, the kids and me at our home in Pennsylvania. We had a grand time with her, and she gave me a brief tutorial in the World Cup. We both marveled at the many parallels in our lives — kids, country homes, journalism careers, gardening passions — despite living on different continents. Her story, which ran in The Times on Monday beneath the headline, “The dog with two tales” noted those similarities.
Catherine’s story began this way:
There are 3,500 miles between John Grogan’s house and mine, but as he shakes my hand and leads me through the back door to his kitchen, I cannot help but be struck by some spooky parallels. For a few moments, it appears that no one else is in, but then I spy Colleen, his nine-year-old daughter, in the garden bouncing upon a giant trampoline (theirs is rectangular, ours is round). His two sons, it transpires, are in the darkened basement den, watching television, which is just where you would find my own boys when given free rein at 10am on a sunny Saturday. As the coffee brews, Jenny, John’s wife, makes a fleeting appearance to say hi and explains that she is off to the supermarket…
The United Kingdom version of Marley & Me debuts on July 3, and the Times sent Catherine over in anticipation of that release date. The package included the interview and a short excerpt (from Marley’s al fresco dining experience). The article calls the book “a universal story of family life, and a publishing sensation.”
To read the full story, you can follow this link:
Meanwhile, I continue to enjoy all of your letters, emails and postings on this website. Some I find achingly beautiful and heartfelt. This was one of them. I was so moved by it, I read it out loud to my daughter, Colleen, who said, “Aw, Dad, that’s sooo sad. I feel bad for Bear and his mom and dad.”
Here is that letter, from a woman named Teri who lives in the Philadelphia area and is a regular reader of my column in The Philadelphia Inquirer:
It may seem like masochism, but I had to revisit your January 2004 column in which you said your final goodby to Marley. I have been numb since Monday morning, when we had our beloved yellow lab, Bear, (a real Marley clone), put to sleep after almost 12 years of being our constant companion. It is if you have said everything that I already wanted to say. He looked and acted so much like Marley that after I read your book I could have sworn they were from the same litter.
Even after just two days without Bear. the ghost of our dear sweet lab still nips at my heels, his barks, softened and raspy with age still resonate in my ears. When I woke up the first night after we put him to sleep on Monday, my husband was downstairs, outside on the back porch, staring out into the yard. “Honey,” I asked, “Why are you out here? It’s 3 a.m.?” My husband replied, without looking at me, “I am letting Bear outside”…but I could see his tears in the dark shadow of the night
It is especially hard when we are alone in the house and my senses are still on alert as I can swear I feel Bear brush by my legs, hear his deep sigh as he would go to lie down or even smell his “doggy smell” which still lingers on his blanket, though I have washed it and neatly folded it beside his kennel.
A death has touched our hearts and our lives….a very different kind of void…a throbbing echo of hurt that will resonate in the walls of our home for a long time…A home that is a very quiet and sad place. God, I hope there is a doggy heaven…I really do….I surely can’t imagine my life without petting that sweet guy again, kissing those velvety ears, or wrestling with him to release the 14th remote control that he destroyed or my my latest new pair of shoes. (he always knew when they were new!)
Sincerely, Teri R.
A beautiful farewell to your Bear, Teri. Thank you for sharing it with us all.