I went to visit two good friends today that I had not seen in a while. I was greeted by my first friend to whom I gave a manly hug followed by a firm hand shake. I then greeted my second friend by vigorously scratching his belly and who was so excited to see me that he peed on my shoe. Both friends had lived with me before losing my house in Chula Vista. When I moved out of my house I brought Marley to where my first friend is now living, just a few blocks away, since I didn’t have any way of keeping Marley with me. It’s true what they say about making wishes that never come true and how fortunate you really are that your wish was not granted because if it were to come true you would have lost something even better. By now you have figured out that my friend who got the belly rub and who peed on my shoe is a dog, a dog that came into my life due to some very odd circumstances and at the time I wished I had nothing to do with.
It all started when another roommate showed up at the house with “Marley”, this mangy, psycho, half dog, half coyote, vicious, man eating dog that had belonged to his brother-in-law who had passed away a few days earlier. My roommate sensing my displeasure with his four legged guest promised that it was only for one day and then he was going to take the dead man’s dog to the pound.
Since the dog’s owner was deceased, the house that he and Marley lived in was now up for sale. They were having an open house the day my roommate brought Marley home. Having this psycho, mean, biting, half breed, snarling coyote/dog terrorizing or mauling any perspective buyers was not going to help move that real estate. So my roommate comes home with this twisted, flea bitten, mangy mutt and nothing else. No food, no bowls, no electric cattle prod to keep the dog from killing any small children, just “Cujoe”, as I fondly named him and his harem of fleas.
I often wonder. If Marley were a fish, would my roommate have brought him home without a fish bowl and water? The answer to that question was almost as terrifying as the deranged dog himself.
As I was saying, the day after dumping the dog off in my now lethal back yard, my roommate gets pulled over by the Chula Vista PD and was now locked up and it didn't look like he was going to see daylight any time soon. I was a little disturbed that I now had the burden of this mangy, psycho, growling, drooling, snarling, wild coyote dog bearing his K9s at every one that walked within 10 feet of the sliding glass door.
A few hours after my now ex roommate hit the bars in the Chula Vista Jail his sister, bless her heart, called me stating that she was heading up to my house to collect all her brothers belongings. Without hesitation and with conviction, I responded to that request with a quick and firm”Great come on up because Marley is ready to go back home.” She never did make it to the house and responded to my request saying something about telling her brother to just take Marley to the pound not to my house. I was in full agreement with that Idea, to the pound not my house, as I had no interest in having this rabid- like dog.
My refusal to accept this possessed mentally challenged mutt was expressed by my deliberate boycott and lack of motivation to provide a single morsel of dog food. Doing so would be in my opinion a suggestion of acceptance of this rogue runt and an act of ownership and as far as I was concerned the owner of that unwanted half bread was still the dead guy. I also was aware that the cantankerous K 9 would be getting his next and possibly his last meal at the pound where I was delivering the dead man’s dog to first thing the next morning, a plan that was getting a lot of resistance from my 10 year old daughter Rachel and who was the only person that could get near Marley without him growling and snapping. In response to my boycott on dog food, Rachel was feeding Marley whatever food she could find. One morning Marley had a bowl of Kellogg Frosted Mini Wheat’s. Next morning I go to pour myself some Frosted Flakes only to find the box empty and Marley’s bowl full. My daughter fed Marley everything from spaghetti and tuna to a couple loafs of bread and the steak I Bar B Q’ed for her dinner. This continued for about a week and then one day as I was getting in my car my neighbor to the left, Juan, came over to me and said, “Hey Irwin, I have been meaning to talk to you.”
To which I reluctantly replied, “Sure Juan, what about?”
“You know, my kids lost a ball over your fence the other day.”
Now I am thinking to myself, “Oh that’s all he wanted” they were afraid Marley would eat them if they jumped the fence to get their ball.
Juan continues, “Well when my kids looked over the fence for their ball, what they saw was what was left of their cat."
"Yikes" I think to myself followed by "How am I going to sell my way out of this one.” I could feel beads of sweat starting to roll down my forehead. Apparently the cat was ripped to shreds and just some fur blood and limbs was all that was left behind. It was getting somewhat difficult for me to swallow as the big lump developed in my throat but I somehow was able to squeak out a very weak, “Really?”
I have to admit, Juan was a real good guy about the homicide, he even offered a theory that a Coyote jumped my fence and got the cat but spared Marley, but we both know that didn’t happen, besides a Coyote would have left no “parts” behind and as we all know Marley is only half coyote.
My stance on the dog food boycott was crumbling and unraveling with a fury, between my daughter Rachel’s insistence on sympathizing with the fugitive cat murderer and my neighbors children mourning the loss of "fluffy" it was apparent that Marley needed more than just the food from the bread group. Now I am spending money on this dog I got from a dead guy a dog that was now a liability creating a negative impact on neighbor relations do to murdering their cat and now more than ever I wanted nothing to do with that dog that I now had to deal with because his owner was a dead guy and my roommate who failed at completing his mission of taking Marley to the pound the next day due to a slight delay of five years with half time. As coincidental as it may seem, Juan and his family, less one cherished cat, moved out of that house the next day. Now I could have been irresponsible by omitting the fact that for the past week prior to Juan’s kids discovering their beloved feline remains , Juan had been slowly packing up his house and moving to his new home, but he was gone the next day and in the interest of fact not fiction I have to keep it real. It was my desire to never again experience a situation as uncomfortable as the one that began with, ”Hey Irwin I've been meaning to talk with you". I had no choice but to reconsider my decision to boycott dog food and thought in light of the latest neighborhood death, It was better that I get that dog some dog food to eat before any small children come up missing or another neighborhood pets get mutilated. Rachel dragged me kicking and screaming all the way to the store where we bought some canned dog food. In the meantime a friend of mine who was also a Marley sympathizer delivered a big bag of dry dog food which he got at no charge from behind the local Pet co, thrown in the dumpster because the bag was torn. With expenses on the rise to keep that pet eating pooch stuffed with dog food so he would not pray on any other neighborhood family members and the negative impact the murderous mutt had on neighbor relations, now more than ever I was Hell bent on delivering that demon possessed dog to the pound first thing the next day.
Well the next day turned into next week and as the months rolled by I noticed how much I enjoyed seeing the terror in my visitors eyes as they experienced Marley trying to come through that sliding glass door splattering drool on the glass and showing a mouth full of teeth and I swear his eyes were glowing red too as he barked, snarled and growled at every unsuspecting guest that came over to the house. Marley who lived in the back yard, had the uncanny ability of knowing when a stranger stepped foot in the front yard always alerting me about the intruder and that’s not even the best part. Imagine how much I enjoyed watching as some brave soul, after assuring me they were” really good with dogs” was fearlessly going to approach Marley without any fire arms, confidant that he will be Marley’s new best friend. Now in the spirit of being a responsible adult, I make a feeble attempt to avoid any bloodshed by pointing out that Marley was also part coyote and so you better be good with dogs as well as good with coyotes or I recommend that reconsider entering the animal’s enclosure. None of them ever heeded my warnings, which by all means was a good thing, so I watched helplessly as they approached the psycho, twisted mutt with the raised fur on his back only to see the self-proclaimed dog whisperer retreat in terror once they got that hand that is always stretched out in front of them free from those sharp white teeth in Marley’s mouth that were clamped down on it. Once the wounds were treated and “dogs best friend” had recovered from the brutal attack I would always say as serious as possible, "Ya think that dog was showing you all his teeth for a reason?" as I thought to myself, “You sure are good with dogs alright, good enough to eat""
Once again my stance that had Marley bound for the pound was unraveling with a fury and crumbling right before me. I found Marley to be loads of entertainment and an excellent watch dog, that along with my fear that my daughter would hate me for the rest of her life if I followed through with my promise to drop him off at the pound. It didn’t take long before Marley’s new diet; one can of wet mixed with two scoops of dry, really started paying off. All that mange as well as the areas that were completely void of fur had disappeared never to return again. In fact Marley's jet black coat was shinny and thick and he was putting on some weight making him even more intimidating. As those days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, I I found myself having conversations with Marley everyday five times a day and it did not matter what the subject was, he always gave me his full attention as I rambled on with him sitting right in front of me with his eyes following my every move, one ear at attention and the other ear flopped over, intently hanging on to every word I said and before long, Marley and I, we struck a friendship up? One day after tossing all the dog mines over the fence into the dumpster in the backyard of the vacant house being renovated next door to mine, Marley runs past me at top speed and snags this old tennis ball off the ground and drops it at my feet. I picked it up and tossed it and he tore off after it. One day he was standing on top of the hot tub as I bent down filling his bowl with dog food when he tapped me on the head with his paw and when I looked up he leaped off the other side of the hot tub and ran in circles around me, taunting me to try and catch him and the both of us ran around that back yard like a couple of lunatics until I dropped from exhaustion. As I lay on the ground my chest heaving as I tried to catch my breath Marley comes over and licks my face and plops down next to me with his head resting on my arm. I also noticed that Marley would not step foot in the house, his feet would never pass the threshold as he stretched his neck with only his head past the door one ear at attention and the other ear flopped over, like I trained him or something how did he know not to come in the house.
Turns out that Marley is very sweet, extremely playful and quite intelligent and would you believe that since he has been in my care anyone who had known Marley prior to him landing on my doorstep would always ask, "Is that Marley", "Wow he looks really good" of course always making that observation from a safe distance.
I never thought I would say this, but I actually sent a letter to the penitentiary thanking my ex roommate for bringing Marley to me; I wouldn’t want to have been at that house without him. He kept me company and always agreed with everything I said. As I often put it, Marley was just a few fry’s short of a happy meal. You quickly learned not to get your feet too close to edge of my bed if you are standing in my room unless you wanted to get startled out of your skin as this ferocious growl was heard from under the bed seconds before he latched onto your shoe or foot. He was by far the best roommate I ever had. Oh yeah, did I mention that one day I left a girl friend of mine at the house while I made a quick trip to the store and forgot to put Marley outside. Upon my return I found Marley in my bedroom doing his psycho dog bit complete with flying globs of slobber, snarling and lots of white teeth refusing to let her get off the bed until I returned. That’s right, No doubt about it, “Mans best friend!!”