Marley & Me: life and love with the world's worst dog, written by John Grogan.
I picked up this book because I was in the mood for a good dog story: as we just got a new puppy, I figured the timing was perfect. This is the story of John Grogan, a columnist with the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, his wife, Jenny and their new dog, a yellow lab they named Marley (after Bob Marley). The story starts with the author reminiscing about his childhood dog, an absolutely perfect mixed-breed named Shaun, who the author refers to as Saint Shaun because of his excellent behavior. He was in all ways the perfect family pet.
So, it is with Saint Shaun in mind that the Grogans answer a classified ad for puppies for sale. They go to the owner's home and meet the mild mannered mother and all the 5-week old lab pups. As they check out a spirited male puppy, the owner tells them that one is less expensive than the others ("Clearance Dog" as they temporarily call him). They agree to get Clearance Dog in a few weeks, after he is weaned, and leave feeling elated and excited with their choice. It's only after they are on their way out that they meet the father of the litter: he is running wildly around the yard with a crazed look in his eyes, leaves and other debris all over him. The Grogans start to question their choice.........
After they bring Clearance Dog home (or Marley, as he is now named) the author shares one hilarious story after another about his crazy antics and bad behavior. Marley gets kicked out of obedience training class. He licks his way out of his dog cage. He throws up not on the linoleum floor, not on the hardwood floor, but rather on the very expensive Persian rug. He destroys every inch of his surroundings whenever there is a thunderstorm. And my favorite one, when Marley, leashed onto a table at a cafe, causes all sorts of chaos when he races after a poodle, table in tow.
Despite all his bad behavior, Marley redeems his self on several occasions. Once, there is a crime in the neighborhood, and Marley stays close to the author and their young neighbor in a protective stance. Marley comforts Jenny after she has a miscarriage. And Marley (despite every attempt to sabotage his chances) is in movie!
This is a thoroughly enjoyable book that follows the lives of the Grogan family through the birth of children and changes in careers, an interstate relocation and family vacations. And all the while, Marley is there, a lovable, destructive, big-hearted, "one-of-a-kind" companion. If you are a dog lover, you'll love this dog!