Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Little Marley Man

I made up this song that I sing to Marley, saying his name over and over again and his favorite word: ball. It goes to the tune of "My Little Buttercup" that the 3 Amigo's sing as they are hanging out in a bar. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, it's this ridiculously hilarious movie (mostly ridiculous), but you have to know the tune to know how the song goes: My Little Buttercup.

My Little Marley Man has the sweetest growl
My Little Marley Man won't you stay a while
You and I can play fetch with a squeaky little ballllllllll 
Oh, Dear Little Marley Man 
Sweet Little Marley Man
I Love You.

Whenever I sing him his little song, his ears go wild and he usually runs to get his ball. I'm sure, to him it sounds like this:

blah blah Marley Man blah blah blah blah 
blah blah Marley Man blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah balllllllll
blah blah blah Marley Man
blah Marley Man
blah blah blah

But he seems to like it, even if I'm off pitch... and he has no idea what I'm saying.

Little Marley Man has been a blessing in my life. I saw this shirt in a mall that had paw prints all over it and asked the question, "Who saved who?" That's so Marley for me. I got him from a little town in Fairbury. He was the smallest of the litter, a tad dirty, and oh so small. He fit in my hoodie pocket!

Everyone wanted to carry him around that first night I got him, Joe (one of Kyle's fraternity friends) figured he was a girl picker-upper. He was so irresitably cute!
I had moved to Nebraska earlier that school year (I got him in March of 2007) and I was lonely. I hated it. This small town isn't the most inviting town for newcomers. Everyone seems to have their clicks and I never felt welcome. I was desperately trying to find a job elsewhere but nothing was working out. It seemed as though God wanted me there, at the time I had no idea why (See my post on I'm Not the Same as I Once Was, Thank God, to see why). I think God put Marley in my life to keep me sane...

We were instant friends. I took him along when I worked at school all hours of the night and he'd sit on my lap as I worked, or followed me around as I prepared for the next days lesson.
Sitting on Mommy's lap.

He is a cuddler.

 I found he loved toys - he became my entertainment.

This was only the beginning of a wonderful relationship and the entertainment....

Marley is a miniature rat terrier, but the only thing miniature about him is his size. The longer I had him, the more I got to know his amazing personality. He's a tad weird sometimes. He has a certain way of doing things. And he has bounds of energy. His little legs do not slow him down one bit. In fact, Kyle and I ran a 5K one evening and took Marley along. I was a few paces behind Kyle, but Marley would run with Kyle, sprint back to check on me, sprint ahead to run with Kyle, sprint back to check on me... he ran double what we ran and still had energy to spare!

He has so many weird and wonderful quirks, perhaps that's due to his endless amounts of energy! I thought that the best way for you to get to know him is to list those weird quirks of his. So here's Weird Quirk #1: He HATES it when his toy "ends up" in a box or a basket. He gets so frustrated he yells at the toy... YouTube Video: Marley, Get Your Toy!
Weird Quirk #2: He HATES getting baths. He runs around the house, rubbing on everything. I'm assuming this is an attempt to make himself smelly again.

Weird Quirk #3: Whenever Kyle comes home from work, he immediately finds his toy and begs Kyle to take him outside to play. He'll run and play fetch until we literally have to pry the ball out of his mouth (which as you can see is a tad big)!

Weird Quirk #4: He watches tv with Kyle (he likes the more exciting stuff like National Geographic and the dog shows) and he'll run up to the tv, bark at whatever so kindly popped up, run back to sit with Kyle and repeat the process over and over throughout the show.

Weird Quirk #5: Everyone who walks by him is there to see him. Even when our neighbors, Doug or Jennifer, come home from work, they come home to see him. He's their official greet-er.

Weird Quirk #6: He's definitely a little momma's boy. When he wants to be picked up he'll put his front paws on my legs and dig. If I have shorts on he leaves these little claw marks up and down my legs. At first I thought it was cute, now I'm finding it a tad annoying, and am trying to break him of this habit.

Weird Quirk #7: He sits on the back of the couch, spread eagle, looking out the window, waiting to hear the sound of Kyle's truck coming home from work.

Weird Quirk #8: He smells his farts. Seriously. I'll hear a little squeek and see him whip his head around and sniff his own butt. I have yet to catch this on video, so I have no proof, except Kyle's word, but I swear the day I do get it on video is the day I submit it to Funniest Home Videos.

Weird Quirk #9: He HATES the wind most of all. We'll go on walks (remember that 50 mph wind is a normal thing here in western Nebraska, so he pretty much hates his life) and he'll walk belly to the ground, trying desperately to find a place to get out of the blasted wind. The cutest part of the walk is when he takes his paws and tries to fold his ears down. They don't stay down, of course, so he does this multiple times.

Weird Quirk #10: We have to get toys that are hairless. He'll eat the hair and make himself sick. Plus we find little nips of hair alllllll over the house. We can't even buy tennis balls. You'll know he's found a toy with hair when you see hair stuck to his nose, and he's trying his darndest to get it off his tongue. The big joke is that we have to get Marley hairless balls.

Weird Quirk #11: He has a guilty conscience. If we leave him for any length of time, he goes to the basement and poops. I find this more annoying and frustrating than weird, but my point is, we know he's done this when he won't greet us at the door. Our first question is, "What did you do?" He slinks over to us, crawling on his belly, tail tucked, and rolls on his back, as if he's begging for his life. Sure enough I'll find a little poop pile in the same dang spot! Ugh.

Weird Quirk #12: He FREAKS out (sprints, jumps, whines, barks, cries) whenever you say any of these words: hungry, bye-bye, walk, treat, toy, outside, or even if you say... "Want to...?" Kyle and I have had to find other ways of saying these words (he's learned to spell) like Hungry is "the H word" and walk is now perambulate. That way we can have a conversation about him and make a decision without him freaking out, and keep from breaking his little heart if we decide not to do one of the above mentioned words.

Weird Quirk #13: We have to watch him closely outdoors. He likes to rub in the smelliest, nastiest thing he finds. One time he found a dead fish swarming with red ants, Kyle just picked him up and threw him in the lake, took care of the ant problem. But... he... was... mad... he hates water and he loves being smelly. Two strikes against Kyle, which leads right into the next quirk.

Weird Quirk #14: Because he's a momma's boy, whenever he's upset he runs to me, begging to be picked up. If he's hurt, or mad, or scared, I'm who he runs to. Sometimes he puts his cold little wet nose in my armpit. Yeah, we're buddies.

Weird Quirk #15: He INSISTS on sleeping under covers. He just burrows right in...

Weird Quirk #16:  He especially loves squeaky toys. If Kyle hides under a blanket and squeaks that toy, Marley digs and digs and digs for it! He doesn't give it up! We found a fun way to keep him entertained - just put his squeaky toy in an old sock or tie it up in a blanket - it's a puzzle he loves trying to figure out.

Weird Quirk #17: One time, he found a poor ground squirrel, destroyed it by ripping off its head and plopping it at my feet, as proud as can be. I swear he's always looking for another opportunity to repeat that!

Weird Quirk #18: He has to wear coats in the winter when we go outside, otherwise he shakes and shakes and nearly freezes to death. (He has 3 to choose from...)

Weird Quirk #19: He's like a cat. He'll lick his paws, and then wipe his paws over his face in an attempt to bathe. He has super stinky breath, so I doubt this actually works, but it's cute to watch.

Weird Quirk #20: Whenever he's in a crazed playful mood Kyle and I joke that he has "CrAzY eYeS." He looks very much insane. He puts his butt up in the air, hops around, takes off running (tail tucked, ears back), does this amazing jab step, turn around thing, heads straight for you, and does it over and over again. I'm tellin' ya... "CrAzY eYeS"

Weird Quirk #21: He plays soccer using his front paws with a ping-pong ball. Very entertaining. 

I have to stop... this could be ten times the length it has already become.

Despite all his weird quirks, Marley is a light in our life, Kyle and I love him so much! Maybe it's because of his weird quirks that we love him so much. Either way, he is a one-of-a-kind dog. Everyone in town knows Marley, he's just so - likeable. He's brought so much joy and laughter into our home that life without him would suddenly become bland. 

So I guess the question, Who saved who? no longer stands. My Little Marley Man saved me those first few years of loneliness. Everyday he shows us the meaning of unconditional love and the joy of living.

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