In Memory of Marshal
Joyful thoughts of our Boy today. I wrote this on his ninth birthday and made a footnote today at the bottom.
Growing up as a child we did not have pets. My parents time and energy was spent raising eight children. Once, we had a dog for about a month. It was a Weimeriener. The dog was too large for our house and postage stamp size yard. He went to live with friends who owned a farm. It turned out to be the perfect home for him. When I got married my husband had a Beagle. We purchased a German Shepherd for a wedding gift to ourselves.
Although I married into a “Dog Family” it was thirty years later before Marshal, our chocolate Lab, came into my life. Originally, he was intended as a hunting companion for my husband. At some point in time, the bond between Marshal and me grew stronger and stronger. One day I realized he is my “Heart” dog. When I am in a reflective mood I look back and think about all the things Marshal has taught me and what it is that makes me feel the way I do towards him. I think about all the people he touched during his pet therapy visits. Not just hundreds but thousands over the years. His ministry began before he was a year old.
He is an easy dog to love. Most people call him Marshalmellow or Happy. Some call him Brownie. When he is being his exuberant self a few even call him Bozo. He is still called Rocky by our friends because of his early fondness for stones that resulted in two blockages before the age of three. Regardless of what name people call him, they are all done with affection and are self-explanatory.
Looking back over the years, one of the first things I learned was that dogs can actually have dog friends. As a puppy Marshal became friends with two black Labs Boomer and Radar. The boys have had countless play dates, boat rides and sleep-overs. Neither dogs’ names can be mentioned in our household without Marshal unleashing a flurry of tail wags and spins in anticipation of seeing his buddies.
I quickly learned from his labby friends that I could actually like other peoples’ dogs and care about them the same as I care about my own.
On our neighborhood walks I’ve discovered that I am a popular person as long as I have Marshal with me. It took a while but I have realized the children who come running up asking to pet him really want to see him, not me. Yet, these greetings stroke my ego. They make me feel good even though they are intended for Marshal.
Living with a field bred Lab I have learned how to channel his energy and stretch my patience so that we could always have good lines of communication.
As I sit at my desk writing I glance down to see him curled up at my feet sound asleep. He is content to be close by while I go about my work. Each breath that he takes makes me grateful he came into my life.
I think it is fair to say I am a better person today thanks to The Marshal Man. Sadly, Marshal is no longer with us. I believe he deserves to be called one of the special ones. He gave love and joy from the bottom of his heart during his pet therapy visits. This was his life time commitment. His happiness was contagious. Today, November 16, 2012 his birth date, we celebrate that happiness and give thanks for having him in our family.
A favorite picture of TMM
Guest poster - original forum July 2001. Member 2002. nbsc