Monday, November 5, 2012

Teaching an old dog new tricks

By Angela Thomas

Like so many Americans, my dog was the highlight of my week. After working long hours in retail, I would put the key in the lock, open the door and there would be my adorable boxer dog, Emma—toy in mouth—greeting me at the door with her famous “wiggle butt.”

My family lost Emma last December to heart cancer. Her loss was something that strongly resonated with my family. My dad lost his best friend, my mom lost a daughter and I lost a sister. Emma was such a special dog to us. She never drooled, she rarely gave doggy kisses and she managed to be as well behaved as possible. We were cat people after all—we never experienced those sloppy dog kisses and the need for unending attention.

She was the friendliest, happiest and most playful pup. She loved her squeaky toys and she loved her hulahoops. She loved her French fries and her bacon. She begged like she was a starving dog and ate like a pig.

She was the bomb-dot-com in other words.
Grogan and the famous Marley!

A few months after Emma’s death, I was perusing through a bookstore in West Chester, Pa., and discovered Marley & Me by John Grogan. I had heard about the movie and refused to watch it. I just couldn’t go through that pain again.

Almost a year after her death, I sat down and read Marley & Me for a week. I laughed and I cried. Grogan wrote a book that any dog lover could relate to. But the book also focused on the journey of family and the important lessons of life. Marley grew with the family—teaching them responsibility, unconditional love and loyalty.

I could relate to Grogan both on a journalists level and on a personal level. After Marley’s death, he wrote a column about his beloved dog. After Emma’s death, I couldn’t seem to get closure. I missed Emma and I wanted to do something in honor of her so I decided to use my journalistic voice as a means to do so.

I wrote about the benefits of adoption. Emma came from Boxer rescue in Pennsylvania. She was abused and abandoned and came to us with optimism. She taught us so many lessons, especially on love. I interviewed a representative from Boxer Rescue and a representative form The Humane Society of Harrisburg. It took me two weeks to write the article and 1,000 words later, I had closure.

I suggest that not only as an animal lover, but as a human, check out Marley & Me.  I promise you, it will change your life.

To read my article on animal rescue, go here

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