Friday, December 26, 2008

Post-Holiday Cheer

Happy holidays, all! Phew, who'd have thought the Christmas season could get so hectic? :)

Apologies for my absence... I'm spending the holidays with family, and have lately been busy scrambling to do last-minute shopping and kissing the chubby little cheeks off my newborn nephew. Now everything is thankfully settling down and I'm looking forward to a week of mind-numbing boredom. Oh, and blogging. I hope.

I'm afraid I haven't got much to report right now, except that I saw Marley & Me today. I hate movie theatres as a rule. They smell like popcorn and the collective breath of 200 snuffling people. But I broke my rule of thumb because Owen Wilson is adorable and, after all, I love the book. (Yes, I've heard all the negative rap - I love it anyway.) I bet half the people here have read it, too. If not, you're missing out. It's a lot of fun, especially if you're a (slightly sadistic) dog-savvy owner, because it seems like the poor Grogan family did everything wrong.

Buy from a slightly-shady breeder? Check! (I think John Grogan, who probably isn't very familiar with the terms, was a little too loose with the 'B' word, since it calls to mind such negative connotations and, as I say, the woman was only slightly shady. The place in the movie, however, sure looked like a BYB. Made me heave a big shudder.)
Forget to research research research? Check!
Buy the discount puppy, check!
Go into it knowing nothing about training techniques... Check. Oh dear.

The heartwarming thing is that Marley could have ended up a disaster, but he didn't. He landed in the right hands, if not the most capable hands, and they stuck by him and (eventually) managed to tame the beast (somewhat). Anyway, it's not a story about a dog - it's a story about a family that owned a dog, who was kind of crazy, and I think every dog lover should read it and make it their anti-Bible, or see the movie... Though I warn that the ending was a sob-fest in my theatre. Even the huge guy next to me pulled his cap down low and started sniffling. (He also read my book during the trailers. I know this because I left it face down on my jacket when I went to the washroom, and it was face up when I got back. I hate movie theatres so much.)

And for something more in the Muttpuppies vein, here's an article WB dug up for us. You may have to trawl, but you'll find it. Oh, you silly governor. Buy a Christmas puppy? Check! Buy a muttpuppy, secure in your belief that it will not aggravate your allergies? Check! There are so many other reasons to dislike the guy; this one is just a perk that made me snicker.

So a belated Merry Christmas, happy Boxing Day, let's all get crackin' on those post-Christmas sales and New Year's Resolutions, and I hope everybody is enjoying the holiday season.

(And for all you Jen fans keeping score, I hear Marley & Me beat out Brad's movie opening day by about $3 million.)


water_bearer said...

Welcome back! Hope you had a nice holiday. I confess I am one of three dog people on the planet who has not read Marley & Me. Someone, somewhere, early on when the book first came out and just as it was getting popular mistakenly ranted in an online review that the dog died young of bloat due to the owner's negligence, so I boycotted it without ever checking out what really happened. Shame on me, I know.
Oh, and yes our gloriously arrogant buffoon of a gov. bragged about his mutt on the evening news. I like how in the tv and print version, there's actually no mention of the word "Maltipoo." Andy Shaw just mentions a "Cross of a Poodle and a Maltese." Go Andy! Hahahahha. Oh boy, I need to get out more.
Anyway, good to have you back. Happy Holidays to you and Tip and the Angry Pig.

muttpuppiesontrial said...

Thanks! Hope you and your Layla had a lovely holiday as well. :) My gang sure did. You bet Tip knows what hanging up that paw-shaped stocking means - last year he was up pacing in the night, like a little kid waiting up for Santa! (The AP greeted everything with a cynical eye, until she found the can of pumpkin seeds among her treats. Her favourite!)

The Grogans were ignorant, no doubt about that ... but I think they did their best to give Marley a good life. I've never owned a breed prone to bloat, so I'm not the best judge, but I don't think it was any fault of theirs. And Marley was well into seniority by the time he died. I tend to blame the whole Marley disaster on the breeder - poor uninformed Grogans! She deliberately bred a dog with a crazy temperament and then hedged when they asked to see him (they caught a glimpse of the wild beast later). Marley was discounted because he already appeared to take after Dad. And poor Marley ended up riddled with health issues - problems with his ears (he eventually went deaf), his hind legs, and his stomach... I'm an overanalytical reader. But I think in noting all the mistakes they made along the way, John helps educate his fellow non-savvy owners.
(In spite of the Owen Wilson factor, I still like the book better. John's bond with Marley was much more evident, and he wasn't gonna give up that dog where his movie counterpart would have. Instead, he trained like mad!)

GoLightly said...

I won't read the book, because it sounds too much like a funny, glowing glorification of the mistakes humans make. I won't see the movie, for the same reason. I don't find it that funny, frankly.These "funny" situations go on all the time. They then adopted another Lab, and needed Cesar for the inevitable behavioural intervention. The dog began killing chickens. What a surprise:(

Sorry, I hope they make little money on it. But, of course, I'll be wrong.

Anonymous said...

Check out the blog post about Marley at for a more sobering evaluation.

I never read the book, won't see the movie, but did see the trailer and the Dog Whisperer episode (first I'd heard of Marley. They were busy screwing up another field bred lab). That was enough.

I deal with too many shelter dogs who are the victims of clueless idiots to find the Grogans amusing. But they are a great example of How Not To Do It.

Enjoying your blog, by way of Terrierman! Happy Holidays and all the best in 2009.

muttpuppiesontrial said...

I love the book because it feels like an account of every dog owner's ordeals. We've all made mistakes with our dogs and been astounded by the antics they pull. (I'd feel very differently if they had given Marley up to a shelter, but they didn't, and I don't think he suffered any ill effects of their ignorance - though I may have to re-read the book...).

I certainly see where you're coming from, though! Funny, if somebody had written a book like that about their raising a child, I'd have thrown it at the wall fifty pages in. I don't even like kids, in fact I much prefer dogs! Guess I just weigh these things differently. The truth is, the majority of dog owners are nowhere near as informed as us folks. ;) There's much worse than the Grogans out there. At least Marley was happy and loved.

Happy holidays to you as well. :)

water_bearer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
water_bearer said...

I don't think I feel as strongly that I'll boycott the movie. I'll wait until it's on video or cable, but I'll definitely watch it because it looks good. I already know going in that I'll bawl like an idiot at the end, but that goes without saying when it comes to animal movies.
I do believe however that the Grogans did the best they could and at least tried to educate themselves along the way and whether it was bloat or not, he was old, and Marley had a good life and probably was lucky to have gone to people with that much patience and love to give. I've said it before, but if my parents' little satan spawn of a pseudo Springer (say that ten times fast) had gone to anyone else with less love for Springers and less behavioral knowledge, he probably would have been surrendered to a shelter or put to sleep because he would have gotten himself in so much trouble.
However, I did watch the Dog Whisperer episode with the Grogans and their new dog. This was well after the book was a big hit and the movie may have already been in pre-production. I'll forgive them for not knowing any better with their first dog, but when I saw their new dog and that they didn't have just any Lab but had a high drive, hyperactive field-bred Lab I wanted to smack them both through the TV screen when they were surprised he was killing chickens. Did they not learn anything about dogs in their ordeal? Maybe they love Labs as a breed so much they don't care if they come with a little impishness? OK, but that still doesn't explain why they didn't go get a low-key rather lay by your feet at the hearth all day bench bred Lab from a reputable breeder or rescue. Fool me once...
Anyway. I feel terrible that I pooh-poohed it the other day as a hoax, but apparently it was very real. Poor kitties -

GoLightly said...


Merry Christmas, MoT.
Wasn't I grumbly at that moment? Sheesh...

So many dogs like that though. Not all are so lucky...
Okay, I will watch it when it comes out on satellite;)
I love Jen. She rules, Angie drools. Owen is well, still Owen. I liked him best in Cars;)

Flip had the BEST Christmas, ever. Blaze is still figuring it all out. Got her playing around some rustley things, she was so cute.

Say Hi to Tip! From Flip!

Linny said...

I loved the book, and literally stayed up all night reading it through to the end. I saw the movie today, and although I didn't think it was nearly as good, I did enjoy it.

It's seriously sad though. There were a lot of children in the audience, and some of them were sobbing out loud at the end. I'd really suggest thinking twice before taking the kiddies (or even sensitive adults).