Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Dilemma

UPDATE - Dec. 18 - The Dilemma Worked Itself Out
Marley and his new mama, Stephanie
Look at that big smile! :)
I remember the night Marley was "surrendered" to us just a little over a month ago. I had never seen such a big dog in my entire life! He was kind of rambunctious and Makani was terrified of him and he was just so darn HUGE! I questioned whether I had done the right thing, volunteering to foster him. 

Over the course of the next few weeks, I fell in love with Marley. He became my shadow, rarely more than 3 feet away from me at any given time. Makani was just not happy, and I had to remind myself that HE was my dog, and we were giving Marley a good home until the right person came along. Today was that day.

Stephanie found Marley on Golden Rescue's website and fell in love with him immediately. She just needed to get down to Florida to adopt him! Marley will be living with her in the Keys and going to work with her every day! Stephanie was not at all concerned about his size - she loves Marley for Marley - which is the way it's supposed to be! :) As sweet as Marley is, he was not one to give kisses freely, but within 30 minutes of meeting Stephanie, he gave her a kiss. I know that they are meant to be together and he will have an amazing life with her.

As Taylor Dayne sings, "Saying goodbye is never an easy thing..." but it's a whole lot easier when you know that the one you love is moving on to something just as good as he had (if not better). Congratulations Stephanie and Marley! <3 

UPDATE - Dec. 14: A bright glimmer of hope...
For Marley's sake, I hope I'm not jinxing myself, but I do believe we've found his new mama. Someone who's going to love him as much as we do and likely spoil him even more. :) I'm so excited for them to meet this coming Sunday. 
This news comes not a moment too soon for Makani, who has become uncharacteristically destructive. Rob and I have both fallen in love with sweet Marley, but Makani does not share our enthusiasm for having another dog in the house. Casualties include a Alana's running shoes (both backs have been completely chewed up), a gnawed (but salvagable) Reef sandal (grrrrr), a torn up honu throw rug, and a half-eaten Volcom sandal. Since Makani was NEVER a chewer, my first reaction was to blame Marley. Rob proved his innocence very quickly. (see video) Sorry, Marley...my bad. 

In the days since my last post, we've met with another potential forever family - a couple with three young children - who decided that Marley was "wonderful, but scary big." They were afraid he would knock their baby over (and he might...though not intentionally!) I believe that everything happens for a reason, and Marley was just waiting for the right person to come along. I believe we've found her!

Stay tuned...

UPDATE - Dec. 6: The dilemma continues...
Marley met his first potential "forever family" this weekend. The people live on five acres with horses, chickens, rabbits, and miniature donkeys. It sounded like a PERFECT situation for Marley. They stopped by to meet him and seemed to love him. I had bought him a new festive red collar and put a big red bow on him. He looked so handsome! Marley was excited to meet them, but then calmed right down and behaved so well (I was so proud of him! :)). The people were going to lunch, then coming back to sign the papers. 

When the couple returned, they told me that they decided that they weren't going through with the adoption because they were afraid Marley was too active and would terrify their (sometimes vindictive) cat. :( My heart sunk...I'm not sure whether I felt more sorry for him or myself (not that I don't love him, but that would have solved the dilemma). I needed to relax, so I curled up on the sofa with a book, and guess who climbed up and snuggled up next to me? Marley was totally cool with the situation. He clearly loves being here. Even Makani has warmed up to him. Now they play with each other. It's hilarious to watch Marley chase Makani around the pool (great exercise for him too).

Yesterday, Rob brought Marley to KMC with him and everyone loved him - the KMC crew and customers alike. Marley was a perfect gentleman, happily greeting everyone who walked in. :) 

What to do...what to do...

About six months ago, I asked Rob what he thought about the idea of fostering dogs for Golden Rescue South Florida. We had adopted Makani from the organization (as a puppy) and were completely "sold" on Golden Retrievers as our "dogs of choice." Rob was all for it, so I volunteered, we were approved, and shortly thereafter we volunteered to become a foster for a "Golden Oldie" mentioned in a GRSF post. 

"The Sweetest of the Peas"
That "Golden Oldie" was named Sweet Pea, and she was surrendered by a friend of her family. Little was known about her, except for the fact that she was eleven years old (or so the family friend had been told). Sweet Pea truly lived up to her name - she was a sweet, sweet girl. However, she couldn't see well or hear well. She had been shaved, so she looked more like a yellow Lab than a golden. I took her to the vet and was told that she was healthy, despite her advanced age. We weren't optimistic that she would be adopted, and considered adopting her ourselves if nobody came forward. We knew that she was surrendered due to a divorce and we knew that her human dad was a tugboat captain who was away for months at a time (it dawned on me that he was like Popeye, and what was Popeye's baby's name?....). We wondered if her "dad" would come looking for her when he returned from sea! Six weeks after we became her foster family, Sweet Pea was adopted by an absolutely wonderful man from Miami Beach who was specifically looking for an older dog. Her new owner absolutely treasures her (as she deserves to be treasured) and even brings her to visit us. I feel like Sweet Pea won the doggy lottery!

All of this background information to get to the subject of this post - the dilemma! it's all about Marley! I had seen posts about Marley - an overweight (150-lbs!) Golden Lab  whose family was looking for a good home for him because they lived in a small house and couldn't give him the life he needed - on GRSF's Facebook page. A couple of weeks after their first post, they mentioned that they were looking for a foster for Marley ASAP, as his family was going away for Thanksgiving. I consulted with Rob and he agreed that we would step up to the plate. Little did I know what we were in for...
Velcro Dog

Don't get me wrong, Marley is an absolute SWEETHEART! He is truly like my shadow. I had never planned on adopting him though. When he arrived, he was extremely energetic and rambunctious. He was the biggest dog I had ever seen...EVER. Makani immediately growled at him (totally intimidated by his size, no doubt) and was clearly unhappy that this giant was invading his home (which made me feel awful). Marley's owner (although a nice guy) didn't seem overly distraught about giving him up (which was a little sad). He mentioned that his girls gave Marley three donuts before he brought him over. (Well, that explains A LOT!)

World's Largest Lap Dog
Marley quickly acclimated to our household and our routines. After a couple of days, we knew he felt comfortable with us when he climbed up in Rob's lap while we were watching TV. Mind you - this is a 150-lb dog - NOT a lap dog. I took Thanksgiving week off of work, and Marley became my shadow. He followed me everywhere I went (around the house). He did have a couple of accidents in the house (both in Alana's room - hahaha) and absolutely LOSES it if we are walking and he sees another dog, but other than that, he's been a great dog. What I did NOT expect was for Rob to fall in love with him and want to adopt him...hence THE DILEMMA.

Chase with Marley on Thanksgiving
Last week, Rob told me that he wanted Marley for Christmas. Now, you have to understand, Rob rarely asks for anything. For the past few years, times have been pretty tough, so we've really held off on exchanging gifts with each other. I do love Marley - he's a good dog and he clearly loves it here. I'm just not sure I'm not ready for that commitment. Makani is our dog - this is HIS house. He is clearly less happy since Marley arrived. Plus, it's a huge financial commitment (double the vet bills, double the flea/tick prevention, double the dog food (especially when half of it is PRESCRIPTION diet food, etc.), and that really isn't a great idea right now. Not to mention double the dog hair to sweep up and double the - errr - land mines. But it also means double the love, devotion, and protection (c'mon...who would mess with a house guarded by a polar bear). 
I'll let you know how it turns out...

With Love and Aloha ~ Nancy

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