Marley and Me/Gracie and Me/Koga and Me


We’re off in Raleigh for a quick getaway trip. While we’re here we took in a second run showing of Marley and Me. It was an OK film, about exactly what I expected and was willing to pay $1.50 for. We knew going in that any film with Jennifer Anniston as a chunk of the emotional core had an uphill climb ahead of it, and that turned out to be true. It was mostly breezy stuff up until the last 20 minutes or so. I started crying during the scene where they went out in the rain with flashlights and didn’t stop until half an hour past the end of the movie.

Ahead lie spoilers of the mildest kind. All dog movies that cover any length of time have the same ending and you probably should be aware of what that ending is.

We hadn’t quite counted on how hard it is to watch scenes of a dog being put down. Those scenes more or less seemed exactly like my memories of when we put Grace down, down to the way the eyes slowly shut and his reaction to it. It’s a tough tough moment in a life that 15 years of fun and love can’t prepare you for.

We had 15 years of life with Grace, a year without a dog, and now about a year and a half with Koga. A dog makes your life have a different rhythm and different sets of priorities. Marley and Me was a pretty glib treatment of that on the upside and pretty devastating on the downside. After 3 years, I still miss Grace every day and sometimes when I look at Koga I see a little bit of her. I wouldn’t have missed the good times to avoid those horrible few last days, but they still hurt and probably always will. The trite saying about “trying to be the kind of man my dog thinks I am” is actually about as true as it gets. May I one day approach that.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.