Film review: Marley & Me

posted at 6:18 pm on December 26, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

** Some spoilers **

The First Mate pegged this as the must-see movie this Christmas season from the first time she saw the trailer in the theaters months ago. The John Grogan book Marley & Me has long been one of her favorites.  For me, as a dog person, I wanted to see the movie, but at the same time I knew that dog stories do not end happily — and I dreaded reliving the passing of our own dogs two years ago, especially Cory.

People who don’t have pets often express puzzlement at how deeply those who do grieve over their loss.  We always say that only dog people really understand, but Marley & Me might bridge that gap.  Like the book, it highlights just about every misadventure one can have with a dog (and a few we fortunately escaped), even to the point where one of the adults screams, “Get rid of that dog!”  They can frustrate and anger you, but they give such pure love and joy that they easily get forgiven, and that’s what gets them into your heart.  Grogan has a short monologue voiceover at the end that explains it, and if you’ve ever had to put down your best friend, you’ll listen through tears.  I can promise you plenty more laughs than tears, too.

Jennifer Aniston delivers her usual excellent performance as Jenny, but Owen Wilson becomes John Grogan.  Wilson is a fine comedic actor, but until now I’ve never seen him get to the heart of a character as well as he does here.  He’s funny and charming as he is in most of his films, but he fleshes out this character, his ambivalence to success, his resistance to accepting middle age, and especially his attachment to Marley.  The scene where he says goodbye to Marley reminds me of experiences of my own, in the best possible way.

The rest of the cast give good performances as well, especially Nathan Gamble as their oldest son at 10 years old.  When Wilson has to drive Marley to the vet for the last time, he knows what’s coming, even if his younger brother and sister don’t.  Kathleen Turner makes a funny cameo appearance, although she doesn’t look at all familiar and I could only recognize her by her voice. Eric Dane does well as a friend who succeeds at everything Grogan traded for a family life, although according to my wife, that’s one rare departure from the source material by the filmmakers.

I’d enthusiastically recommend Marley & Me to everyone this Christmas season.  For pet people, it will remind you of the joys and the tribulations of having these blessings in the family, even if the end comes far too soon.  For those without pets, it will go a long way towards explaining why we grieve their passing.

Update: A good question from the comments: “Is this too intense for children?”  The First Mate and I discussed it, and we’d keep younger children at home unless you’re ready to explain the life and death issues.  The Little Admiral is 6 and might be too young, but she was four when Cory and Angel had to be put down, and we bought a wonderful book to explain the process; I’d say she would understand it and could handle the ending.  There are also some relationship struggles and career issues that will go over the heads of preadolescents, but nothing objectionable.

Update II: The front-page pic is not Marley but Cory, who was my wife’s guide dog for several years.


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jgapinoy on December 26, 2008 at 8:48 PM

Yes, as Lassie ruined Roddy McDowall, and Bonzo destroyed Ronald Reagan, and Toto annihilated poor Judy Garland, who might have done a thing or two, if only…

I’m almost beginning to think that the rule quoted above is exactly wrong.

CK MacLeod on December 26, 2008 at 9:16 PM

We have my hubby’s sons cat. Imp. She was a kitten when his son was a teen. His son took his life in 2005. The cat is still with us. She is old. I worry about the day that it is time for her to go. That is all we have to remember his son. His oldest son. Looks like a great movie.

sheebe on December 26, 2008 at 9:18 PM

Dogs truly DO leave footprints on our hearts.

irongrampa on December 26, 2008 at 9:31 PM

BTW, coincidentally, I wrote about some of my experiences as a dog owner in my blog earlier today. (Click on my username)

jgapinoy on December 26, 2008 at 9:39 PM

CK MacLeod

We could add Audrey Hepburn to the list. “Cat” in Breakfast at Tiffany’s certainly didn’t ruin her career.

PA Cat on December 26, 2008 at 9:39 PM

jgapinoy on December 26, 2008 at 9:39 PM

I enjoyed reading your blog. You are right on how wishy washy people can be.

sheebe on December 26, 2008 at 9:49 PM

And more recently, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle got me kind of misty. While the book overall is rather depressing and somewhat tedious, it’s probably the best representation of the relationship between owner and dog I’ve read or seen.

Tom_Shipley on December 26, 2008 at 7:56 PM

Now why am I not surprised that you would like “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle”, our resident Obama shill? Or did you read it because Oprah picked it? I read it, and it’s one of the most overbloated, overwritten, over-hyped books I ever laid my hands on. 600+ pages of shear boredom.

Haven’t seen Marley and Me yet, but I did read the book and it was terrific but I’m not sure I’m ready to see the movie. My black lab is almost 12 years old and is really struggling in the ice and snow here in Chicago, he’s got cataracts and getting some arthritis in his back end. He was dumped as puppy on my doorstep when I was living in country and we’ve been inseparable ever since.

His name is my HA signature

The best tear jerker dog movie in my mind is “My Dog Skip” with Kevin Bacon and Frankie Muniz…..
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0156812/

Knucklehead on December 26, 2008 at 9:52 PM

Having lost a couple of longtime friendships (in one case more than 30 years) over political differences, I came to realize the truth of Truman’s famous statement: If you want a truly loyal friend, get a dog. Luckily, we already had one.

We have two now, 4 year old Bear and his 1 year old son Bom(bay). Hopefully it will still be a long time before we need to say farewell to either of them.

Here’s a video that will be appreciated by dog folks, and might help the non-dog folks understand why we love them so much. The great Jimmy Stewart reading his poem, A Dog Named Beau, to Johnny Carson:

A Dog Named Beau

They have been our loyal companions since human civilisation began. Their lives may be short, but their paw-prints on our hearts will remain forever.

Agam on December 26, 2008 at 10:00 PM

One of my favorite photos from I Can Has Cheezburger?

I THINK THERE’S A SPY AMONG US…

Greta Van Susteren has a dog and I think a couple of cats. Over at GretaWire, the past few days she has been posting pet photos and stories.

INC on December 26, 2008 at 10:21 PM

Dogs are okay but cats are superior. Just ask one.

Coronagold on December 26, 2008 at 10:30 PM

Right now we have a Sheltie and a Collie, they are the center of the universe around this house and very good friends. I dread the day that we must say goodbye, and I know that after that time comes a new puppy won’t be far behind.

conservnut on December 26, 2008 at 7:21 PM

There are people and then there are sheltie people :)

Dogs are okay but cats are superior. Just ask one.

Coronagold on December 26, 2008 at 10:30 PM

They’re not “superior”, they’re sophisticated and unpredictable. Dogs are like men and cats are like women, just different. Both are great pets.

Too bad that our animals don’t live as long as we do.

Entelechy on December 26, 2008 at 10:37 PM

I took my family’s dog on it’s last walk, he was ok during the long walk we had, we went to a new park, put his head out the window and was loving life. But during that night, he had some bad, bad seizures and had to be put down, we had no choice…

He was taken out into the garage the next AM by animal control, barking like crazy, crying. I went and opened the door with the screen door between us, and he walked serenely, slowly over to the door, he had had a rough night and was a mess, and placed his paw on the door while looking straight at me, and held it there. I put my hand over his paw and held it there. He knew.

He was a great friend.

benrand on December 26, 2008 at 10:39 PM

Entelechy

Actually, some birds can outlive their owners. My vet says that some species of cockatoos have a life expectancy of 70+ years. That’s a real long-term commitment for most humans.

PA Cat on December 26, 2008 at 11:24 PM

Recently I and my BF were planning toput down his dog, but while we had the chocolate lab bassett hound mix at the vet for massive seizures, he passed away. I had a necro on him and come to find out he had a tumor the size of a grapefruit in his brain. I can’t even imagine how much pain that poor old GOOD dog was in, but he was always a happy guy. Even with all of his alergies.

While reading Marley and Me and Dewey (a library cat in Iowa) I had to put down my little girl feline due to kidney failure and the start of liver failure. I adopted her in Seattle and brought her back up with me, as I have always had a cat due to my son. I got her ashes back Christmas Eve and cried all the way home.

I and my BF won’t be able to watch Marley and Me. It is still to hard for the BF. And right now it is to emotional for me. The book was great.. laughing and crying. But I think I will wait for the DVD.

upinak on December 26, 2008 at 11:26 PM

I saw this yesterday — and am sorry I did.

The film generates no sympathy — or even liking — for the dog or the human characters. It attempts to cover too much ground and leaves story elements that could have been interesting to be shown in short, disconnected snippets.

I’m thinking that as a film reviewer you’re a good political commentator, Ed.

MrScribbler on December 26, 2008 at 6:46 PM

Totally agree with your post. I wrote a similar opinion in the User Comments section of IMDb. Most of course are irate.

asc85 on December 26, 2008 at 11:40 PM

Oh ya,the Christmas Tree survived!Haha.

canopfor on December 26, 2008 at 6:51 PM

I’m where you are now. I’ve got my own pets and just took over my son’s and his girlfriend’s as well while he’s taking care of her across the country in Connecticut (she has stage 4 cancer and is in the hospital). There is no blending going on — the place is a battlefield. I’m hoping they figure out who’s beta, gamma, etc. and everything works out before I have to go back to work.

unclesmrgol on December 26, 2008 at 11:47 PM

I took my family’s dog on it’s last walk, he was ok during the long walk we had, we went to a new park, put his head out the window and was loving life. But during that night, he had some bad, bad seizures and had to be put down, we had no choice…

He was taken out into the garage the next AM by animal control, barking like crazy, crying. I went and opened the door with the screen door between us, and he walked serenely, slowly over to the door, he had had a rough night and was a mess, and placed his paw on the door while looking straight at me, and held it there. I put my hand over his paw and held it there. He knew.

He was a great friend.

benrand on December 26, 2008 at 10:39 PM

Bless your heart. I am sorry. Three years ago, A friend gave me a Rottie. She was old but such a wonderful dog. Not a mean bone in her. Then she started getting skinny, couldn’t keep food down. Vet gave medicine and she seemed better. When I would take her to the Vet. She was wild unless I was right there. A few weeks later, she laid her had on my lap. I looked in her eyes and they were endless. I said to her, “Sam, you are going to be with the Creator”. She lifted her head and put her paw on my lap. Then a few days later I had this feeling in me. Took her to the Vet. She pinched her skin by her stub (tail). It stood straight up. Sam had cancer all through her. The Vet left me in the room with her. I told Sam, “you are not coming back are you? When the Vet came back, she took Sam’s leash. And Sam walked with her as she looked back at me. Tears flowed out of me, like they are now. We have a lot of land. Sam is here by her favorite bush. (We have no trees). I put a Rottie Statue there for her. I have another Rottie, from Rottie Rescue. She is a Angel! I love her so much. Animals are more in touch then us. They have a incredible sense. It hurts when one loses a animal. They are very smart. I hate it when some say a animal is stupid. My Dog and my Cats have given me unconditional love. That is how they are.

sheebe on December 27, 2008 at 12:11 AM

Only true because of their actions lowering their worth right to live, not raising the animals’ worth.

jgapinoy on December 26, 2008 at 8:42 PM

I would love, make that LOVE, to hear how “you” measure a being’s “worth”. I would then love to hear how you apply those same standards to yourself, and furthermore how you differentiate between yourself and a dog. After you’ve turned yourself inside out trying to contort the “argument” so that it fits “your” definition of “worth”, I think you’ll find you (and people who think about animals as you do) are actually pretty worthless afterall. And ironically enough, by your own definition.
What you will come to find (I believe) in the end, is that because we can, we do. Not because we’re justified in doing so. Animals, and in particular, animals who possess enough intelligence to be sentient, are worth more than the vast majority of humans by our own standards. They just aren’t able to vocalize that fact and are therefore, helpless.

KMC1 on December 27, 2008 at 12:12 AM

sheebe on December 27, 2008 at 12:11 AM

benrand on December 26, 2008 at 10:39 PM

My heart goes out to both of you, as well as the others who have posted their stories of loss. It saddens me to know that you’ve suffered such losses, but it lifts my heart to know there are good people still in the world who understand the value of love, companionship, loyalty and compassion. It truly is the greatest gift of life to be able to relate to animals, and understand their greatest gift is that which eludes the majority of humans; Purity of heart.

KMC1 on December 27, 2008 at 12:19 AM

Was wondering if any here remember the after school movie TJ, I think it was. About a kid who lived in the slums of New York, and found a stray cat half dead nursed it back to health. Man that was a sad movie.

YES YES YES!!!

My elementary school used to show that video on rainy days as a substitute for recess. It was an inner city kid that was bullied, he found a kitten and gave it a home in an abadoned building. He used a stove as it’s home and would sneak food from home to feed it.

But you are forgetting the ending… perhaps you blocked it out. The kid was walking while holding the kitten, the bullies show up and take it from him. They are playing with it, the kid tries to get it back, and the cat runs into the street and gets killed by a car. Maybe at the very end he gets a new kitten, but I barely remember that. All that sticks out in my mind (35 years later) is the cat getting hit and the look on the kids face.

That film seriously bothered me for a long, long time. I think I was in second grade the first time I saw it. What the hell were those teachers thinking?

cannonball on December 27, 2008 at 12:37 AM

That film seriously bothered me for a long, long time. I think I was in second grade the first time I saw it. What the hell were those teachers thinking?

cannonball on December 27, 2008 at 12:37 AM

Yes I do sir remember the ending, and thank you for bringing it back.

Alex Martinez on December 27, 2008 at 12:44 AM

I like turtles.

yubley on December 27, 2008 at 12:57 AM

We just saw the movie tonight and my family was very moved by it. It’s not often that our two teenagers will agree to a movie between themselves, let alone be interested in seeing anything my husband and I want to see, but this was a unanimous choice and I am very glad we went as a family. We had to put our beloved Border Collie to sleep three years ago when she developed uncontrollable seizures. Our children had never known life without her and it was very hard on all of us (especially my son). This movie brought all that back in a very bitter-sweet way and we spent the car ride home reminiscing about our dog.

The movie was a lovely portrayal of the ups and downs of life with a dog but I was surprised and pleased to also see a positive portrayal of the ups and downs of a healthy marriage. At one especially trying point, the husband John is venting to his friend who immediately starts talking about divorce. John tells his friend that divorce is not an option – “you don’t end it, you mend it.” What a pleasure to bring my older children to a movie that we all enjoy and that supports the values we’re trying to teach without sending them screaming from the room or yawning in boredom.

inmypajamas on December 27, 2008 at 1:10 AM

I watched the trailer and assumed it was a cross between Beethoven and Air Bud. I did not expect Old Yeller. I felt like someone punched me in the gut.

I’ve spent everyday since telling people (even strangers) NOT to see this movie… or at the very least have more realistic expectations of the outcome.

Honestly this movie did for my emotions what “2 girls 1 cup” did for my stomach contents.

Micheal on December 27, 2008 at 1:49 AM

I’m gonna be crucified for this but here goes. Grow up everybody. They’re pets not people. Yes it’s sad when they die, but it shouldn’t life altering traumatic. There are more productive ways to invest your emotions.

Tommy_G on December 26, 2008 at 6:51 PM

I won’t crucify you. I see what you mean. A lot feel same way as you. A pet can do wonders. My death of my dog, helped me cope with my step sons suicide. My dog had cancer. My step son took his own life, which I see the pain in my husband every day. I watch my hubby’s heart die more and more. There was nothing we could do for my dog. My step son didn’t want anyone to help him. Is why I got another dog right away. She has helped ease a lot of heart ache. Same as my two cats. Animals are part of a family. They have unconditional love. The soothing in ones soul an animal can give. Yes, emotions can get out of hand. A good cry reading others pain is good. We are not alone. It is important not to forget. Then ones heart is empty. I lost a few pets in the last six months. My neighbors dog ate my cat Bonnie. And a Coyote crushed my cat Choppers throat. That was something that was quick, and unexpected. I didn’t have to see them suffer. My dog I saw her suffer. Just like my step son. Will never forget my step son, or my dog. Love is equal to both. Death is something one cannot run from. It is important at times to share the pain. We are not all alone.

sheebe on December 27, 2008 at 2:05 AM

You couldn’t pay me to see this. I hate having my heart warmed.

It's Vintage, Duh on December 27, 2008 at 2:25 AM

I am of the opinion that the average dog is a better person than the average person, so I don’t really enjoy dog movies (or animal moves in general) where something bad happens to the animal by the end of the movie. I’ve been known to even shed a few tears when the villian’s vicious guard dogs get maimed or killed in a James Bond movie.

I once read Mark Levin’s book “Rescuing Sprite.” It was a quick read. But afterward . . . let’s just say I was a little less eager to be away from my dog for long periods of time.

eaglescout1998 on December 27, 2008 at 5:29 AM

Tommy_G on December 26, 2008 at 6:51 PM

You’re not wrong. I’ve lost a grandparent and a dog, losing my grandmother was much harder. That doesn’t mean that losing the dog wasn’t very hard, and kind of caught me by surprise. When your brain produces those chemicals that make us “love” and “care” it often doesn’t care whether it’s for a person or an adult. Especially if you’ve grown up around animals and they are just part of your emotional development. Anyway, I’ll try not to get too wet about it, but this kind of stuff is great because it really does remind us that so much transcends politics and ideology. I miss my dog and can’t wait to see her tomorrow post holidays trip.

DeathToMediaHacks on December 27, 2008 at 8:55 AM

KMC1 on December 27, 2008 at 12:12 AM

You totally ignored the fact that I used the “strike” mechanism over the word “worth”, because I corrected myself hours before you attempted to correct me.

jgapinoy on December 27, 2008 at 9:12 AM

KMC1 on December 27, 2008 at 12:12 AM

You lecture me for measuring worth, & then you call me worthless. Nice.
Happy New Year.

jgapinoy on December 27, 2008 at 9:14 AM

KMC1 on December 27, 2008 at 12:12 AM

BTW, the turkey breast was delicious. I love being an omnivore. You ought to try it.

jgapinoy on December 27, 2008 at 9:14 AM

I like turtles.

Thinking of that clip still makes me laugh, too, after what, a year?

jgapinoy on December 27, 2008 at 9:16 AM

I am of the opinion that the average dog is a better person than the average person, so I don’t really enjoy dog movies (or animal moves in general) where something bad happens to the animal by the end of the movie

I agree there about average dogs and average people. Actually I have never met a truly bad dog. I’ve known mischievous dogs and dogs and stubborn dogs. But I believe there is no such thing as a bad dog. Only bad owners. Most of the Michael Vick dogs have been rehabilitated and adopted. They weren’t bad dogs, just their owner was a piece of shit human stain on the earth.

As for the movie, nothing “bad” happens to Marley. He dies of old age and is surrounded by the people that love him. But I know what you mean.

angryed on December 27, 2008 at 9:21 AM

Trying to find this bumper sticker at a pet store here in Austin:

“I want to be the person my dog thinks I am.”

There are a couple of variations on it. Chuckled the first time I saw it.

mimi1220 on December 27, 2008 at 9:23 AM

You gotta love dogs. No matter how “bad” they are at times once you take a deep breath and step back for a moment you can’t help but laugh. My own doberman Mojo (who more often than not gets called Bad Mojo) ATE the seat and saddlebags off one of my Harleys a couple of months ago, apparently he really doesn’t like the exhaust note on that particular bike and was getting even while it was asleep! God I love that dog, and it’s a good thing for his sake…or I’d have a nice doberman skin seat cover!

BadMojo on December 27, 2008 at 10:01 AM

We’re picking up our new Chocolate Labrador puppy next month to pair up with our 9 year old chocolate. This brings back some memories of the early years with our old girl, Chloe.

I wouldn’t trade those memories for all the money in the world.

George on December 27, 2008 at 10:13 AM

I have been a puppy raiser for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, have adopted two of the released labs that I raised and have one old mixed breed dog. I am very much a dog person; when I read your article it brought tears to my eyes. I read the book and sobbed at the ending. I can’t bring myself to see the movie–even if I laugh at the trailers. It was a great book, tho. *raises a glass* Here’s to you, Cory!

splash883 on December 27, 2008 at 10:20 AM

Truth be told, humans could take lesson on friendship and loyalty from ANY dog.

irongrampa on December 27, 2008 at 10:43 AM

Every single dog is a little piece of God.
And that’s why dog is God spelled backwards.

Disturb the Universe on December 27, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Saw the movie last night with my 11-year-old who read the book (I haven’t, but living in Philadelphia I have read John Grogan’s columns and lots about the book and the making of the movie). The Inquirer review was actually not great, and I pretty much agreed with it. In fact, there are a few cuts from that trailer that aren’t even in the movie. It is a little choppy and somewhat superficial, especially in drawing in the Grogan children. It lacks a depth that is hard to put your finger on. But overall I enjoyed it very much. My daughter was surprised that there was a lot of sex talk (fairly explicit too – if your kids don’t know where babies come from yet you might want to leave them home for this one.) But she liked it.

Be warned if you go, the trailer shows you just about all the highlights of Marley’s misbehavior. The movie is much more about John Grogan and his life than it is about the dog. But he has had a very interesting life and Wilson does a fantastic job portraying the inevitable conflicts and joys of a man who starts out with a dream, but finds that life is what happens while you are making other plans.

rockmom on December 27, 2008 at 10:56 AM

I would also add that seeing this movie made me very glad that I had my kids first and then got the pets. If your children have pets around from the moment they are born, they will almost certainly be very traumatized when the pets die. We did not get our dog until my kids were 12 and 8, so they have lived plenty of their lives without a dog. And it’s likely they will be grown up and gone by the time he dies. (He’s a little Marleyish too – a beagle mix ruled by his nose, difficult to control around other dogs and still barks at our cats all the time.)

rockmom on December 27, 2008 at 11:01 AM

I don’t know if All Dogs Go To Heaven, but I know that I will, by the grace of God.

I don’t think Heaven will be Heaven without our pets. I know I have a few waiting for me. Since all creatures have souls the reunion will be great.
I won’t be going to the movie – my wonderful dog is 14 and is in great shape, but I know her live is limited. I can’t stop crying now, so the movie will do me in. It’s even hard reading some of your stories. Cheetah is a rescued dog and has shared my home, my life and my bed for those 14 years and the most wonderful mutt ever. She is a serene, clean, empathetic animal. Thank goodness someone gave her up instead of putting her down.

Bambi on December 27, 2008 at 11:51 AM

Whoops – I think I put the quote around the wrong sentence.

Bambi on December 27, 2008 at 11:52 AM

…cats are like women, just different. Both are great pets.

Too bad that our animals don’t live as long as we do.

Entelechy on December 26, 2008 at 10:37 PM

That’s dangerous when Dowdified.

exception on December 27, 2008 at 12:03 PM

You totally ignored the fact that I used the “strike” mechanism over the word “worth”, because I corrected myself hours before you attempted to correct me.

jgapinoy on December 27, 2008 at 9:12 AM

Actually, you struck worth in regards to humans lowering their value, but specifically used “worth” in regards to animals. It’s all semantics anyway, as you replaced “worth” with “right to live”. As in, in your opinion animals have less right to live, unless or until a human does something that lowers their “worth”.
In either case you have neither defended nor justified your opinion, but rather have emotionally decided that you are right. Sounds a lot like a worthless Liberal viewpoint to me.

KMC1 on December 27, 2008 at 12:05 PM

yesterday was my son’s 8th birthday. one of his presents was a collar with a leash. this morning we went and picked up his real present, his new best friend, a golden retriever which he named Donut. Life is good =)

mrfixit on December 27, 2008 at 3:51 PM

I loved the book, it was a gift a couple of Christmases back. And, yes I laughed out loud and cried many times when reading it. When Marley comforts the woman after her miscarriage, I just cried and cried. Dogs know. They sense our pain and want to make us feel better. It is more than just a master, pet relationship.

I have two, a black lab and a German Shepard, 11 and 8 respectively. My lab is going down hill and will most likely soon be gone. Of course at the end of 2007, my husband predicted she wouldn’t make it through 08, but so far so good. Truly with dogs I think it is the unconditional love we get from them. There is no where else one can find that kind of love. In our dogs eyes we are perfect and they are always happy to see us.

That video of the two dogs whose owner returns from Iraq after quite a while is so heart warming and heart wrenching at the same time. Both of these are a reminder that whenever the heart loves a great deal, it will also grieve a great deal, but in the long run, the love is always worth it.

Jvette on December 27, 2008 at 3:58 PM

Our pets are part of our lives and are also “family members”.

In the last 36 years, we have had two cats. The first lived to 16. Our “latest” was going on 20 when her body just shut down.

Spent her last 4 night sleeping on the floor with her because I could see what was happening….and I did not want her to be alone. She could not eat or drink, even though she wobbled over to her dishes.

On her last day, her bladder let go. She tried to make it to her box, but her legs would not carry her. She was in no pain, but age just caught up.

After that, I took a pillow and placed her on it, and sat with her on my lap until the end. My wife and I were with her until her last breath….and yes, I believe she knew we were both there….and cared.

Yes, she is buried in our backyard. Foolish? Don’t think so. This little spirit gave us much joy and, I think, 20 years is a qualifier. We will miss her.

Ray-500 on December 27, 2008 at 4:55 PM

Not a pet person myself so I think I’d have a hard time making this connection that those who are pet owners seem to have. Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs (and some cats) but I never grew up with pets around.

Speaking of pet mayhem, my cousin brought his dog over to Grandma’s on Christmas and sure enough the big lug got in the kitchen and ate the meat (a couple roasts instead of turkey this year). His eyes were pretty big after eating all that. I’m just glad it didn’t get sick. I’m sure my cousin had fun scooping up that mess the next day.

Yakko77 on December 27, 2008 at 5:36 PM

KMC1 on December 27, 2008 at 12:05 PM

You are not only a caricature of liberalism, you are the pot calling the kettle refrigerator black.
People are infinitely more valuable than animals.

jgapinoy on December 27, 2008 at 7:59 PM

You are not only a caricature of liberalism, you are the pot calling the kettle refrigerator black.
People are infinitely more valuable than animals.

jgapinoy on December 27, 2008 at 7:59 PM

That is true. My husband always said no matter how much happier the dogs made him that our daughter, he would choose her over them if he had to make a choice.:)

Jvette on December 27, 2008 at 8:34 PM

I am writing this with Buck at my feet and I wanted to thank everyone who has written about the loss of their pets. The comments that I have read are helping me cope with the impending loss of Buck the greatest shar-pei ever. My wife gave him to me for Christmas ten years ago and he is without a doubt the best gift that I have ever received. Buck started coughing around Thanksgiving. At first I thought that he had a viral infection until he started losing weight. One week ago I found out from my vet that he had a tumor beside his heart. Due to the location it is impossible to remove it. At the most he only has about two weeks left to live and I am determined to make him as happy as possible during the time that he has left. I know that very soon I am going to have to make the decision to end his life and that is going to be one of the saddest days of my life.

dawgyear on December 27, 2008 at 11:52 PM

You are not only a caricature of liberalism, you are the pot calling the kettle refrigerator black.
People are infinitely more valuable than animals.

You make absolutely no sense whatsoever. And you’ve yet to explain, justify or otherwise support your position other than to give your opinion.
And you call me a Libber. HA.

KMC1 on December 27, 2008 at 11:53 PM

That is true. My husband always said no matter how much happier the dogs made him that our daughter, he would choose her over them if he had to make a choice.:)

Jvette on December 27, 2008 at 8:34 PM

Well, that settles that then, doesn’t it? lol.

KMC1 on December 27, 2008 at 11:54 PM

Saw the movie today and it was surprisingly pretty close to the book. Sure, it is a lot to pack about 12 years in 2 hours, but I think it was done well. And yes, I cried at the end. I do not even want to think about that time with Scout, the Wonder Dog! But, this movie was moving because, as you note Ed, why we are dog people. Dogs have an amazing ability to just be our friends. They really do not care about our politics and all of that. When my wife was layed up with two broken ankles, Scout the Wonder Dog was always there with her, day in and day out. And, that is what the book and this movie captured.

righty64 on December 28, 2008 at 1:51 AM

the inevitable conflicts and joys of a man who starts out with a dream, but finds that life is what happens while you are making other plans.

rockmom on December 27, 2008 at 10:56 AM

so it goes.

maverick muse on December 28, 2008 at 6:54 AM

We had our children first. In 4th grade, our daughter decided to save her money to buy a dog. During the year it took for her to gather the funds, we all enjoyed reading about the different breeds and discussing what we needed to do to raise a baby puppy well. Our daughter blessed our family with the sweetest yellow lab female, the runt of the litter. In time, we took our pup to obedience training classes where the teachers were highly critical of our lab’s stubborn resistance, dawdling whenever commanded to “come” though quick to respond to all other commands. The owner of the school told me I had to use “the voice” of authority, so I have; but even after 12 years, she comes at her own slow pace unless of course it is meal time. Labs generally take a good 6 years to mature beyond puppy-hood, during which time our friend with German Shepherds would always laugh at our “boinky” lab. But she’d be the center of attention at his lakeside parties. His Shepherd ruled supreme, and decided to befriend our little lab amongst the pack of lake dogs. Our pup would thrive as a dog in the dog world, then come back to Mom and play the lady people-puppy taking a seat in a chair keeping perfect balance and acting the happy listener to everyone’s conversations. Our dog has always been so full of love and affection, and the desire to please us. When the kids were going through teenage years, their love for our dog never failed even if patience for parents wore thin. As each member of the family suffered severe set backs, there she was, healing us each day with her love. I tell my sweetheart 12-year-old golden lab she’s our family’s guardian angel. She is a wonderful family partner.

Pets can make a great gift in life. Whatever care that people give to their dogs is returned a hundredfold.

That some denigrate affectionate relationships and the appreciation for pure loyalty and love is understandable given that some people repudiate those qualities regardless of the source. Best not to torment good creatures with contemptuous or disinterested partners.

maverick muse on December 28, 2008 at 7:34 AM

Great Movie. But I don’t think it is appropriate for young kids given some of the sexual underpinnings. It would be tough enough to explain the facts of life concerning death. I don’t need the extra headache of explaining the other facts of life.

RedSoxNation on December 28, 2008 at 11:02 AM

I just talked to my daughter who sent our grandkids to see this movie thinking it was a great Christmas upbeat movie. They just had to put down their dog a month ago and had no idea about how the movie ended. The kids all came home in tears and they are still crying. Shame on the people for making a downbeat sad movie at Christmas. To hell with Fox movies.

suzyk on December 28, 2008 at 9:12 PM

“Is this too intense for children?”

Well, we saw it with our 7-year-old yesterday, and she was just fine. Cried, but fine.

seanrobins on December 28, 2008 at 10:19 PM

My dog was all the proof I needed for the existence of a supreme being. They are as perfect a creation as the physical universe could possibly expect.
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The benefits they bring are beyond measure.
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That they are often treated so poorly by humans is a sad commentary on mankind.
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When a religion hates dogs, that tells you all you need to know.
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For surely all dogs go to heaven.
And cats are OK too.

esblowfeld on December 28, 2008 at 10:51 PM

Guide dog? so the Captains wife is blind? how could she then see the movie?
I’m gonna try to see what I can find out through googling before I embarrass myself further with my ignorance(?)

Drunk Report on December 29, 2008 at 1:50 PM

This movie seems like a terrible Friendsified version of My Dog Skip. Rent that instead.

Resolute on December 29, 2008 at 5:58 PM

Its a home renter. It will make a grown man cry and parents will have to ask themselves if the kids are able to handle it. It is a very very sad ending. Saw the “Day the Earth Stood Still” on Christmas. A 3 out of 10. Save your cash, wait for netflex or kroger $1.00 machine.

Coastal Paradise on December 30, 2008 at 7:00 AM

Eh yep..made me cry.
Might coulda/shoulda made it a one hour flick, not 2.

Jed1899 on December 30, 2008 at 8:57 AM

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