John Grogan - The Longest Trip Home


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My Dog Woodson

Monday, December 22, 2008


Woodson snoozing by the woodstove at our home in Pennsylvania.

In anticipation of the Marley & Me movie coming out Christmas Day, the editors at USA WEEKEND asked me to write about our new Lab, Woodson, whom we adopted from the movie set. Woodson is just about the most beautiful dog I have ever seen, even more handsome, I believe, than Marley. And that's saying a lot. Beside that, he has a delightful personality -- a wonderful mix of joyful mischief and loyal affection. He has fit into our family seamlessly, and our other Lab, Gracie, acts like a puppy again with her new playmate. Our new pup makes us all laugh and we love him beyond words.

But Woodson has a back story I had not before written or spoken publicly about. When I accepted the USA WEEKEND assignment, I knew I couldn't tell his story without telling the entire story. Below is the piece, which ran yesterday in newspapers across the country:

------------------
FROM USA WEEKEND, December 21, 2008

Woodson & Me

The best-selling "Marley & Me" author shares the secret of his "celebrity" puppy.

By John Grogan

Sometimes amazing gifts come in small packages, and sometimes they come wrapped in soft white fur. So it was with Woodson.

He came into my life at a most unexpected time -- as I stood with my wife and 11-year-old daughter on a movie set outside Philadelphia counting my blessings that the comically mischievous canines lined up to portray Marley, "the world's worst dog," were not my headaches to worry about.
After all, I'd already paid my dues on that front. I'm the guy who lived with the real Marley for 13 years and who wrote the book "Marley & Me," on which the upcoming movie is based.

But as we stood off camera watching Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston prepare to film another scene from our life, in walked Mark Forbes, the movie's chief animal trainer, and with him was a little white fur ball with a black nose and bright eyes. Woodson was one of several puppies drafted into service to portray the young Marley, and at the ripe age of 15 weeks, his acting career was over.

My daughter's eyes brightened, and Forbes asked, "How would you like to take this little guy home with you?" She looked at me with the most hopeful expression I have ever seen. I knew the offer was coming and already had told the movie's producers my family would be honored to provide a home for one of the fluffy canine actors.

What we did not know that day -- what no one knew, not the trainers or the producers or the breeders -- was that Woodson was, indeed, special. And not just because he had enjoyed a brief run as a movie star.

From the start, Woodson adopted his new family with gusto. He joyfully knocked over the trash, stole shoes, chewed eyeglasses, attacked pillows and dumped his water bowl just for fun. He was calmer than our famous bad boy Marley, but equally mischievous. It was hard to stay mad at him. Just as he stole our socks, Woodson quickly stole our hearts.

But as the weeks passed, we noticed that our pup seemed unable to do the things Lab puppies do so effortlessly -- leap onto furniture or hop into the back seat of the car. The stairs were almost impossible for him. At first we thought he was clumsy, but with each passing week the signs became harder to ignore.

The veterinarian delivered the news we knew in our gut was coming: Woodson was suffering from a severe birth defect. Both rear hips were so malformed, the balls and sockets did not connect. With each puppy step, bone was scraping bone. No wonder our little actor hobbled around like an arthritic senior citizen.

I called the breeders, not to complain, just to inform. They were mortified. I told them what the vet told me, that it was no one's fault, that sometimes nature delivers surprises. Silently, I counted my blessings that our surprise came with a puppy and not one of our three kids.

"Just bring him back," one of the breeders said, "and we'll swap him out for a new puppy, your pick of the next litter." I have to admit the offer was tempting, like turning in a lemon automobile for a gleaming new model. But dogs are not commodities to be discarded when they break, and I assumed that if Woodson were returned, he would be euthanized.

My wife and I thought about it overnight before realizing there was really nothing to consider. Woodson was part of our family now. I got on the floor with our special-needs dog and placed my lips against his snout. "You're not going anywhere, Woodsy," I whispered. "We're in this together."

And we are. With the help of an excellent orthopedic specialist at the University of Pennsylvania veterinary school, we have Woodson on a special diet and a regimen of cartilage builders and medicines. We lift him into the car for rides and up the stairs for bed. Surgery might be in his future, but for now he's comfortable and enjoys his life as a pampered house pooch.

Woodson will never go hunting or hiking or even on long walks, and that's OK. Some dogs are put on this Earth just to love you.
-----

posted by John Grogan at 12:11 AM

168 Comments:

Blogger Jan Grosholz said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,
I just wanted to comment on your article in USA Today.
We have followed your articles, blogs, books for years and after reading your article on Woodson I had to write you and tell you that you once again touched a cord in m heart. We have a 2 1/2 year old Yellow lab named Bailey that we got after our beloved Golden Casey passed away. We were so heartbroken that at first we said we'd NEVER get another dog, but when Bailey came into our lives we were all smitten, including our 19 year-old cat who doesn't like too many people. Bailey is everything Casey wasn't: athletic, smart (sorry Casey), and energetic. He loves his new best friends, two new kittens, and bright yellow(at first) tennis balls more than anything, including food and will do anything for an opportunity to catch a ball. But soon, we noticed like you did a limp that progressively worsened and when our Vet confirmed that Bailey's right shoulder was nothing but a mess of shattered bone we were devastated. The vet told us he would never get better and would eventually be disabled we never hesitated. Like you and your family, we were in this together and when the breeder said send him back we knew what would have been in his future. So, we love him everyday, throw him tennis balls until he limps up the back steps to tell us he's had enough, give him the medicine the Vet prescribes, and snuggle him on the couch with a shoulder rub and a heating pad. We thank God everyday that we have this beautiful, loving dog in our lives and wouldn't trade him for any other dog in the world.
Our entire family will be the first in line to see "Marley and Me", laughing and crying at Marley's antics and shaking our heads in agreement that yes, that's how a dog really does behave. We wish you much success.

Please wish your entire family a happy holiday season. And give Gracie and Woodson a treat rom us.

Regards,
Jan Grosholz

4:48 AM  
Blogger Peace Love and Skulls said...

God knew what he was doing when he placed Woodson in your good hands, he will have the best life with you and your family...and in turn Woodson will give you all his love and loyalty. That sounds like the best trade off in the world if you ask me! lol
He is special and so are you.

God bless! I and I'm sure everyone else look forward to reading about you and Woodson.

Elsie
Phila, PA

5:08 AM  
Blogger Peace Love and Skulls said...

I shared your blog entry with my mom and she says; Marley sent him to you. =)

5:42 AM  
Blogger Mark + Audrey Lestan said...

John,

I too have had the honor of taking special care of my dog as our Beagle, Gibson, suffered a life altering 100% ACL rupture playing in the park. He has not been the same since. But that's not to say we don't love him any less. His road to recovery has been slow and enduring. You can see it in his eyes that he is not the same dog as he once was.

Now that is not to say that your situation is at all the same as mine. But I wanted to comment on your compassion. Obviously with the book's and movie's (upcoming) succes, your financial situation dictates that the care you will be able to provide for Woodson is going to be top notch. And given the circumstances (financially) I feel that there is never money better spent than for a friend like a dog. Thank you for being such an advocate for Dogs and their needs. Your books have taught me about aspects of my life I would have otherwise not known and your love for dogs reminds me that I am not alone in my admiration for their boundless, unconditional love.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

I am a breeder and lover of labs and have had the occasion to deal with special needs pets - although in my case it was due to age and infirmity. Please take a look at the website for HandicappedPets.com which offers a variety of products for special needs animals. My experience with wheelie carts, canine wheelchairs, was superb. With the hindlimbs supported, my old girl was able to go on long walks and chase balls almost as well as before her disability. Perhaps Woodson would benefit from such a device. My congratulations on coming forward with this story. Your actions should serve as an example for others in a society that too often views animals as a disposable commodity. All the best to you and to Woodson.

10:14 AM  
Blogger MicPhilly said...

Now, you made me cry! I just want to say that Woodson made it to the right home! I wish you all the best! Keep us posted on him!

Thank you!
Michele
Philly!

10:40 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

So awesome that you guys kept Woodson. You will not regret it.

May you all be blessed with a wonderful new year.
Merry Christmas.

1:21 PM  
Blogger John said...

I just finished reading Marley & Me after seeing the previews for the film and realizing I wantde to read your version before seeing Hollywood's version. Needless to say, I enjoyed the book immensely (even though it made me cry...) and it led me to your web site. I am delighted to read about Woodson and his new happy home. What a wonderful gift for him!! Thanks for sharing your life with us through your books, blog, and web site. -John Fischer

3:33 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Dear John and Woodson-

I read your article in the USA Today and it was very familar. Our dog's name was Muphy, a cute bundle of white fur, he was a yellow lab, looked very similar to your Marley and Woodson. At 3 months we also noticed something was wrong, we have always had labs but noticed he wasn't acting the same as all of his brothers before him. We took him to the vet and same as Woodson, however we did have the surgery on his worst side and well he recovered as good as we could expect. Murphy would never be a dog who would go on walks or run like the rest but I am writing this to tell you how wonderful your life will be with Woodson. We live in Southwest Florida and we have a pool, Murphy was by far the greatest retriever when he was swimming, none of are other dogs could ever get the ball when we threw it into the pool. Murphy had the greatest personality of all of the labs we have ever had. He lived a great life and we love and miss him all the time. About 2 years ago we had to put him down, he was 9 years old and his hips were getting worse. Murphy would get a little cranky and then we noticed he was in pain, the medication wasn't really helping him anymore. He had been truly an amazing dog and our life has changed because of him. We tell stories of the "Murph" all the time. I should have written the book "Murphy and Me"!! Good luck with Woodson.

3:39 PM  
Blogger HeathereM said...

It is so sad to see and hear about dogs in pain. My 15 month old lab/shepard mix came to me last December at 2 months old and very underweight and hungry due to the fact that the breeders failed to make sure he had enough food. I managed to get him up to a proper weight within a month. Then, back in September, he ended up with pancreatis and spent 1 night over labour day weekend at an emergency vet clinic with pancreatis, nearly dying. $930, he came back home the next day without any problems, but now I have to watch everything he eats and he is on a low fat diet that he has to stay on for the rest of his life. It's expensive, but he is worth every penny of it.

4:55 PM  
Blogger JB said...

John,
About fifteen years ago our puppy, Girl, a German Shepherd-Great Pyrenees mix, received the same diagnosis as Woodson. It didn't help our spirits when the Vet came in with the diagnosis and said "you poor little critter." We received the same advice, to take the puppy back to the breeder, and didn't do so for the same reasons you cited. We agreed that we would help her deal with her disability and would have her put down if she seemed to be suffering. She must have overheard and understood that last part, because she never showed any discomfort again. She learned to adapt to her disability and did very well. She would wait for us to help her up into the car or onto the bed. (Of course she slept in our bed.) She adapted her gait and carried more of her weight and did most of her climbing with her forelegs, although this was not noticeable unless you watched closely. She could walk and run and chase squirrels and climb stairs, and she was the alfa female in the household. She had a long and happy life and died at age ten of an unrelated illness. She never thought of herself as less than the perfect dog, and neither did we. Our best wishes to Woodson and his family.

5:02 PM  
Blogger Dorr said...

Maybe Woodson wouldn't be a "rerun" in your or your family's life, but now a new experience with the trials of Woodson's condition that differs from both Marley and Gracie. I wish you and Woodson for the best.

11:58 PM  
Blogger Gail Smith said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,
Your article in USA Today about Woodson's medical condition was brought to my attention. I am a veterinary orthopaedic surgeon at the University of Pennsylvania and I have published widely on the diagnosis and treatment of the disease affecting Woodson, known as canine hip dysplasia. Canine hip dysplasia is extremely common affecting more than 50% of some dog breeds and I would like to offer two brief comments that may help you and other dog owners faced with this disease.

First, even for dogs like Woodson, who has the most severe form of the disease, there is a 75% chance that he will improve to good "pet-quality" function by or before 18 months of age without aggressive treatment such as surgery. Keeping him lean and giving him a diet formulated to help protect joint cartilage will lessen the pain of the condition and will slow the development of arthritic changes. If pain medications are needed there are several drugs designed specifically for dogs and available through your veterinarian. Human pain medications are not suitable for use in dogs.

Second, my colleagues at Penn and I have developed a diagnostic test for canine hip dysplasia, known as PennHIP. This test can accurately determine a dog's susceptibility to developing hip dysplasia as early as 16 weeks of age. With knowledge of disease susceptibility, your veterinarian can implement appropriate preventive therapies to offset the condition. There are approximately 2000 veterinary practitioners worldwide trained to perform this procedure. To locate a PennHIP certified veterinarian, go to the website of Penn's School of Veterinary Medicine.

Hopefully this information will be helpful to you and others. Please hug Woodson for me and give him assurance that his pain and disability will improve in the near future.

Happy Holidays,

Gail K. Smith, VMD, PhD
Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Director, PennHIP

8:56 AM  
Blogger abruder1 said...

Dear John, we got a rescue three years ago from the Leonberger Club. She came from a puppy mill, and of course had bad breeding. The club Vetted and Xrayed her and found one hip had only half the socket. They said she would be good for a couple years. But after 4 months she was in extreme pain. We looked into hip surgery and Michigan State Vet school wanted $4000.00 and would give NO promise that she would be any better. Our Vet then told us about another procedure called Femoral Head Ostectomy. They cut the ball off of the femur and the bone goes up past the bad socket. It creates it's own new joint in the muscle tissue and they learn to walk on it with no pain. It souned like a butcher job to us, but we researched it, and usually it's done on smaller dogs with great success. Since Leonberger dogs will grow to 120 to 130 pounds, we weren't sure. We talked to another well known Vet Surgeon in our area, and after he evaluated her, he said she would be a good candidate. We did it, and she took two weeks before she started to put weight on it. She learned to use it quite well, and after limping for another year, she is completely normal!! She can run, jump on the beds, and jumped off the deck after her hated squirrels! Please Wiki and Google this procedure and give it serious thought. Good luck, Al

9:04 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thank you for the wonderful book. Just finished it. I had a Lhasa Apso as a child and prayed every day that she would return to me when our car was stolen at the mall and my dog happened to be in it at the time. The comments some people have written in about Marley being "abused" are baffling to me. If they really think that, I really wonder if they're missing a screw. I would also be curious to know how those people expect humans to treat other humans....

Anyway my boyfriend has a black lab "Gerty" and german sheperd "Fritz" that I've "adopted" during the past 3 years. Even when things aren't working out between us and we've seperated, I can't help but miss the dogs, talk about them constantly and wonder if we can work things out so I don't lose the dogs! Imagine staying together for the dogs! Yep, that's how much I think of them! The 5 year old black lab is a trained bird hunting dog and after her one hour daily hike,always gives me a look like "ok, now what? that's it?". She is quite a character (some say she acts like a puppy) and I get pure enjoyment just watching all the amusing contortions she puts her body in when she sleeps. She loves people, but my biggest challenge yet is to get her to meet and greet other dogs without every hair being raised on her back. It's unfortunate because she loves to play. If you have any tips, please let me know. Gerty is also the million dollar dog. They told us the breeder should have known that the parents were also allergic dogs and should not have bred them to begin with. It is what it is, so we now have the duty of giving Gerty allergy shots and antihistamines, but of course she's worth the trouble and expense!

The german sheperd, who has never ever had a health problem, is 14 years old and has the most beautiful coat of hair. He always gets compliments, no one believes his age! He was hiking an hour a day until this winter. Now his arthritis and hips are starting to cause him trouble so his walks were recently reduced to a half hour a day. At his age I don't think we'll put him through any surgery down the road so I don't know how long we have with him. It certainly gives us a deep appreciation for the aging process. I can't wait to see your movie! Thanks so much again!

10:36 AM  
Blogger Gayle said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,

You have done it again--made me cry. I agree with the others, Woodson was born to live with you.

I want to thank you also for doing the PSAs. I have been involved with humane and rescue groups for several years, and I know all about people getting the cute puppy and then no longer wanting it when it doesn't behave like they thought it would.

I hope all of the Grogan family, including the furred and feathered, have a blessed Christmas.

Gayle

6:51 PM  
Blogger Gi said...

Wow, John!
That was really touching!
I remember the first time you posted here in the blog a photo of Woodson and I thought he was so cute and perfect! - and no doubt he is! - but I would never imagine that he would have a health problem...
And certainly he's a part of the family so letting him go is not an option.
My dog, Maggie is an old lady now... she's 11... and we've had some rough times with her but it worths so much for all the joy she brings to us! For every single time when I get home and she's the first to notice and comes all clumsy to say hello...
Well, just as you said, and it's so true: "some dogs are put on this Earth just to love you".
And we are lucky that some people on this Earth are here to love and protect them too...
You make me really proud!
Merry Christmas for you and your family! And God bless Woodson and Gracie.

Giovana - 19
São Paulo - Brasil

7:21 AM  
Blogger EL B said...

I have had Labradors in my life for more than 2 decades. When I read Marley and Me I saw each and every one of them in him, and laughed and cried with you. The spirit of all of them are in Marley, and in Woodson (and Jessie, Cassie and Amanda-"Pandemonium").

Today I have a special needs Lab who is full of love for everyone. Emma (now 2 years) has had a difficult and painful puppy-hood. She's endured two major surgeries at Tufts, and will live forever with pain in her legs/hips. I could not, and never will give up on her.

She is receiving Reiki healing, massage therapy and acupuncture treatments in addition to traditional veterinary pain meds. Emma only knows love and that everyone in her life wants her to be the best she can. I admire that you did not give up on Woodson; your story is mine. Woodson and Emma should meet someday and romp as only they can.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Violet said...

I am so excited to see the movie, and your book was one of my very favorites. My husband and I laughed out loud at parts and cried at others. Your love for Woodson is beautiful. We are Afghan Hound owners and we thought our "Dazzle" was the naughtiest dog around til we heard of Marley's antics! I am a painter of dogs. Other things too. But dogs are my hearts passion. Thank you for sharing your writing, it is such a gift to the world!

7:21 AM  
Blogger Lisa Henderson said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,

I just came home from seeing "Marley & Me" and I just want to tell that I absolutely love the movie. I laughed and laughed, and then I was crying like a baby when Marley died.

I've read "Marley & Me" over a hundred times and I STILL laugh out loud and still cry, so watching the movie was no different. They were both great.

I just read about Woodson, and want to tell you that I believe everything will work out with him. He's such a cutie pie and I know Marley is watching over him.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.

1:09 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

you have now made me cry twice today, saw Marley & Me with my husband today and he cried-this was a first, made us come home and hug our "bad dog" and tell her we appreciate her...Merry Christmas

3:47 PM  
Blogger Mary Jo said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,

My children and I loved the movie Marley and Me. The story was all that we have experienced as a family who loves our dogs and whose dogs have loved us. Thanks for a heartwarming story. Pets can bring out the best in us all. Glad to hear that Woodsy is doing well.

Respectfully,

Mary Jo

4:34 PM  
Blogger Baldur said...

Dear Mr. Grogan.

I am a 25 years old journalist in Iceland. I grew up with a Labrador Retriever. My parentes have had four females. We got the first, Pía, the year I was born. She died from cancer at the age of 13.

Next one, Kola, had to go at the age of four. She suffered from the same birth defect as Woodson and eventually couldn't walk without weeping. I hope, from the bottom of my heart, you'll be able to take care of Woodson so that he'll grow old.

Last summer (2007) our loved family dog, and our enthusiastic hunting dog (true retriever) Birta had a heart attack, only 8 years of age.
It was only two days after giving birth to eight little yellow puppies.
With great care (24/7) we managed to breed them till they were old enough to go their own homes.
Burying Birta in our garden, when listening to the eight hungry puppies crying for their mom is the most heartbreaking moment I've ever experienced.

Now Birta jr. is nearly full sized. She's as clumsy and as powerful as Marley. Joyful she surly is and she is (like most Labradors, absolutely great with kids. Just as Marley, she only listens when it is to her benefit (food or walkings). She hasn't been fired from school... YET!

I bought "Marley and me" on 23rd of December (Icelandic translation). I laughed out load through the first chapters but finished it, with tears in my eyes, yesterday. What a book. The table sweeping tale, the missing jewleries, wet kisses and destroyed speakers is something that brings backs endless memories to a livelong Labrador Retriever owner as myself.

This book thouched me and I can't wait to see the film.

Merry Christmas,
Baldur Guðmundsson, Reykjavík Iceland.
baldur@dv.is

6:05 PM  
Blogger sanford said...

Went to see Marley and Me today. I thought it was pretty true to the book. I am not sure why they felt the need to put in the Alan Arkin character and the writer friend since they did not appear in the book.

Needless to say the end was quite sad, even though I knew what was coming since I read the book. There have only been a couple of movies that have made me cry, this movie was the third. I shed tears reading the book too.

We had a lab that was bad, not as bad as Marley, but he had his moments. It was one of the saddest days in my life when I had to put him down.

We have another lab now. He was 11 at the end of August. He is still quite healthy, but I know that at any time I can be facing the same circumstance again.

As much as I like the movie, I don't think I can watch it again because the end is so sad.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Amanda Pina said...

Good luck with Woodson! His is really cute!

7:03 PM  
Blogger Jennifer and Brandon said...

God bless you John Grogan! Woodson has angels as parents. My husband and I saw the movie today and we both looked like train wrecks when we left...such a great movie and almost as good as the book! :)

7:06 PM  
Blogger JennyLeeArt said...

Just wanted to say that we saw Marley's movie today and we loved it. We have been the owners of Iggy (Airedale), Abby (Black Lab) and now Mojo (rescued black lab with some definite quirks). We know troublesome dogs. I haven't read your book but I think the film captured beautifully what it is like to live with a dog as a part of your family.

Holiday Blessing to your family and your new little pup.

7:31 PM  
Blogger JennyLeeArt said...

Just wanted to say that we saw Marley's movie today and we loved it. We have been the owners of Iggy (Airedale), Abby (Black Lab) and now Mojo (rescued black lab with some definite quirks). We know troublesome dogs. I haven't read your book but I think the film captured beautifully what it is like to live with a dog as a part of your family.

Holiday Blessing to your family and your new little pup.

7:32 PM  
Blogger Chrisy said...

I just got home from seeing the movie. I've been so looking forward to it and it was wonderful. I did read the book first and was excited about seeing it played out on screen. Thank you for sharing all your stories and you are a beautiful person for keeping Woodson! As a Vet Assistant/Tech it is so refreshing to here/see people that actually consider their pets as one of the family and treat them as one. I see so many animals treated badly it is good to hear a good story once in awhile. Also thank you for saying dogs shouldn't be discarded just because they aren't perfect, that is how I feel too.
I do have to say in the book and in the movie, the scene of Marley's passing got me crying like crazy. That part of the job is never easy and I cry at every one and feel for the families. We recently had a family in with a sick cat, the little girl 5 years old ran out into the waiting room yelling at her father to hurry he needed to get in the room and say goodbye because Pumpkin was leaving to go to heaven. Just had to share that.

Can't wait for your next book.....

7:55 PM  
Blogger Missylaneous98 said...

John, I really want to thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us. Your book, at times, made me feel like I was reading about my own chocolate lab. I can't wait to see the movie- Have my tissues all set to go! :) Thank you!
P.S. Woodson is a very lucky little dog! Thank goodness your family adopted him, as he is likely getting a chance that he may never have gotten at life!

8:36 PM  
Blogger VVM said...

Dear John,

When ‘Marley & Me’ was initially published in 2006, I was resistant to read it. At the time, I did not consider myself a “dog” person, even though I owned one.

A brief history:

Lucky, a Dalmatian mix who adopted me – is my blessing. He stumbled into my life; back in the days when I was a single Mom and had little time for caring for a dog.

At the time, (2001) I had just enough energy for my daughter, my job, myself and my studies. I was, at 30 years of age, trying to find my way in the world….after a divorce…raising a daughter. The last thing I needed to find was one more encumbrance. I already had a child who was 5, a job and a mortgage.

Lucky was the rescue dog of one of my boyfriends during that restless and stressful period of my life. However, when I would leave my (at the time) boyfriend’s home, Lucky would hop right into the passenger seat to come home with me. He never wavered in his desire to be with me.

He has never left my side. I credit him with saving my sanity, my belongings and even my home since then.

Flash forward seven years. Well-meaning but ne’r-do-well boyfriend-previous-owner of Lucky is a distant past. Enter in a new boyfriend who is a dog lover (could I have anything but at this point?) My daughter already knew this man as a friend and adores him.

After a brief scuffle about WHO is the dominant male, Lucky adores Donnie…who is now my husband. They became best friends and Donnie is reliving his childhood pets through the indomitable Lucky.

Lucky has been revived into puppyhood since our most recent canine addition. (Story for another time.)

We all (well, the human parts of this family that are accepted into a theater) went to see the film tonight. Well done, Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston and YOU John Grogan…for getting onto the big silver screen the story of love that captures all – family, canine and human.

Best Wishes,

Vicky Merrill

PS. You inspire those of us who aspire to be writers.

9:10 PM  
Blogger mitchell crane said...

I suggest you try this product:

http://www.syn-flex-usa.com/

Our 1 1/2 year old labrador was diagnosed with OCD (osteochondritis dissecans), and I read about this product online. The testimonials were so incredible that I had to give it a shot. Gone is the limping and pain, and I'm sold. God bless you for taking in Woodson. I will pray for his recovery. You have a very kind heart Mr. Grogan.

9:48 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Hi Mr. Grogan,
Did your wife ever tell you that a crazy crying girl once called your house? That was me. I am glad that you didn't find me and have me arrested :) but after seeing the movie and reading the book, I am not sorry. That night I was in such despair after finishing the book that I wanted to tell you both how loved Marley is by so many people. This was pre movie days, keep in mind. I was just guessing. I saw the movie this evening and it was soooo good. Marley will be forever in my mind just like Lassie and Old Yeller!!! Thanks for sharing your life with us.

10:07 PM  
Blogger Ashley said...

Hi John,
I just finished reading Marley & Me last night at about 3 am. From the very beginning when you go to visit the puppies for the first time, it reminded me of when my family got my chocolate lab Bailey four years ago. Like Marley, Bailey is a naughty dog with a huge heart. I laughed out loud when you described the "Marley Mambo" - Bailey does the exact same thing, but we refer to it as the "Puppy Crazies". We recently moved to Tennessee from California and were unable to take Bailey with us. However, my uncle agreed to adopt her, which comforts us knowing that she still is part of the family. My entire family is in love with labs and simply think they are the best dogs on earth. I was moved by all of your book, but especially related to the end in light of the recent passing of one of my uncle's dogs, Sioux, a black lab mix (one of those "saint" dogs - the Anti-Bailey/Marley) who was put to sleep this summer. Even as my "cousin" dog, she had an impact on the entire extended family. Thank you for writing such an honest, humanistic and inspiring book. I can't wait to someday have a husband and children of my own to raise a lab puppy with. I just can't get enough of Marley and I plan to see the movie tomorrow!
I wish you and your family - including Gracie and Woodsen - a Merry Christmas.
Ashley

10:25 PM  
Blogger KathyR said...

Mr. Grogan,
Thank you for telling the story of Marley. I saw the movie last night and cried tears of joy and sorrow most of the way through. We recently lost our lab, Baxter and in so many ways, I saw Baxter in Marley. He too was a rather rambunctious dog, a challenge but when all was said and done, he was the joy of my kids' lives. The loss was difficult. I saw the movie alone - My kids (who are not so much kids anymore at 25, 20 and 17) are not emotionally ready to handle what could have very well been the story of Baxter.
Thank you for bringing the love of a cherished member of your family to the public. You have surely touched many, many people. Marley was an awesome, amazing guy!! Woodson will be too.

6:55 AM  
Blogger dianej said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,
My family and I waited with GREAT anticipation for the premier of the movie. All of us had read the book several times. My daughter had the school aged version of the book (to which I thank you for the edited parts!)I have never gone to the movies on Christmas Day. For this movie I conceded.
While the movie was sweet and funny and reminiscent of the book, I truly felt they did you a disservice. I felt that they did not capture the essence of Marley's loyalty to the family. FOr example, I really thought that the movie would play up the "Scream in the night" chapter. How can the movie not portray Marley's protection of you and the family and the concern you felt about the rising violence in your neighborhood? Also, the miscarriage. Having experienced the same loss, I felt they could have expanded the scene more than just Marley with his head on Jen's lap. Even "the audition" was missing. I realize that in a movie there needs to be editing,but I guess I was dissapointed when my favorite parts were missing. Besides, I'm a book lover at heart. No movie can ever create the movie you make in your mind as you read.
Just as an aside, We have a 3 year old yellow Lab named Fenway, whom we have affectionatley and not so affectionately called "marley" on several occasions. He drives me INSANE, but we wouldn't trade him for the world. My daughter had to sleep with him on her bed last night after seeing the movie. I had to allow it. How could I not??
As I wrote, I thoroughly enjoyed your book and look forward to reading your new one.
HAve a wonderful 2009!

7:34 AM  
Blogger Jen in TC said...

I loved the book and I enjoyed the movie, however, the reason the book worked so well (at least for me) was in pages 288 & 299. I was very upset with the ending and that the studio decided to leave out the most important part of the book. I, like Mr. Grogan, decided to adopt another "character" after my first one passed away. For me, those two pages showed that the journey, and what is learned along the way, is what is important.

8:07 AM  
Blogger samschiff said...

Where on the web will I find some of the columns you wrote, as shown in the movie, while at the Sun Sentinel?

10:56 AM  
Blogger Julia said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,

I hope you and your family are enjoying this holiday season! Congratulations on the adoption of Woodson! The little man could not have been placed in better hands!

I would like to thank you for the book "Marley and Me". I read this book around Spring time of his year going through difficult family issues. I read some passages to my mother in law in the hospital. A passionate dog lover herself, Marley's stories were some of the things that placed a smile on her face along with our sweet, black lab girl, Coopers. We adopted Coopers in 2004. She had been abandoned at the side of a country road in Maryland on Thanksgiving. A very skittish dog at first, she became extremely attached, but also protective of us. After my mother in law's passing in March, we adopted a second dog, a black German Shepard puppy. Rocky is a sweetheart but just insane! After 8 months of knocking furniture over, chewing through clothes, eating staples among other office supplies, he has become a slightly better behaved, very afectionate, handsome young dog! We love them both dearly and understand the realtionship you had and still have with your dogs! Thank you again, for making us laugh so hard!!!

Best wishes to you and your family for this holiday season and the new year!

Julia

11:01 AM  
Blogger Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog said...

Thank you, John for sharing the story of Woodson. I have no doubt you and Woodson will bring a positive face and voice to animals with special needs.
I can very much relate to special needs because my little dachshund is in a wheelchair. She suffers from IVDD which is common in the breed. She rolls zestfully through life and nothing stops her. I have learned some vaulable lessons from her.
She has also had a huge impact on children, especially children with special needs. I'm so proud of her.
Woodson is a blessing and he found his way to you for a reason. You are so lucky!! I have a feeling you aleady know that though. :)
God Bless you and all you do through your stories which remind us all to love our animals and treat them with the utmost kindness and respect.
Barbara Techel
Author of Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog
www.joyfulpaws.com

11:33 AM  
Blogger djr said...

John and family,

More than 11 years ago, I adopted a chocolate lab puppy who was four months old and had been identified already with severe hip dysplasia. She had been at a pet store in Huntington Beach, California for over two months, and hadn't sold presumably because she whined a lot (due to unexplained pain). She was brought in for x-rays by the vet who visited the store on a weekly basis to check on the puppies, and lucky for me (and her) my dog sitter, Jessica, worked as a tech in the office. Jessica called me when she knew the situation - that is, someone needed to adopt her or she'd be euthanized - knowing that I'd always wanted a chocolate lab.

I named her Zoe, not realizing until much later that Zoe means "life" in Greek. She came home to complete my tri-color lab pack, joining Zinfandel, my yellow lab who was 7-1/2 at the time, and Zeta, my black lab who was almost five years old.

Zoe had two triple pelvic osteotomies at six months of age. Just before her surgery, I had surgery myself, and was told I couldn't lift anything more than 20 pounds. That didn't stop me from carrying Zoe, who was now about 40 pounds, upstairs to bed every night until she healed and could make it herself.

Zoe recovered nicely and although she's never been much for fetch, like most labs, she ran and played with her sisters, while they were still around. In fact, she is so scared of skateboards that she could run way faster than I could to get away from any kid on a skateboard. Something about the click-click-click of the wheels on the side walk.

At any rate, Zinfandel and Zeta have passed on, at 16 and 14 years, respectively. And now Zoe's and my pack include a five-year old yellow lab female named Zuleka and a four-year old black lab male named Zacary. Zoe will be twelve in February. At ten years old, she had a femoral head excision of one hip - the one that was worse as a puppy. She still walks with us and enjoys the dog park where she watches her brother and sister play very active games of fetch.

Zoe is the most philosophical of my dogs, truly understanding the joy of life. I imagine Woodson will be the same, and am so glad that he landed with the family he did. I know he will be well cared for. Keep him fit and don't let him gain weight like labs sometimes have a propensity towards. And, don't hesitate to have the surgeries done; I'm sure they're even more advanced and successful today than they were 11 years ago ... as a matter of fact, I'm about to have my own hips replaced (imagine that with three labradors in the house!)

By the way, I saw Marley & Me yesterday - opening day - and thoroughly enjoyed it ... barely a dry eye in the house, certainly not me as losing Marley was as hard on the screen as it was in reading your book. Losing Marley was hard enough, but it also brought up my own past lab losses. They are indeed such a big part of our lives and loves.

All the best,
Debra and the three Zs

12:44 PM  
Blogger lexi-lee said...

Dear Mr.Grogan:

Your story about Woodson the dog was very touching, how you still wanted him after finding out of his birth defect. That there is a true dog owner,I'm guessing Marley was the clearance puppy.

I enjoyed reading the book Marley and Me and was happy that was I home when I got the part when Marley had to be put to sleep, when it comes to animals I get very emotional. I got to see the movie on Christmas Day of course I brought my tissue.

Sincerely,

Harriet Falchick

12:58 PM  
Blogger Ernesto G. said...

Mr. Grogan,

I just watched Marley and Me. I read the book about a year ago. What a great story!

I have a Lab myself and I can relate with what you went though with Marley because my dog did some of those things, too.

I live in South Florida and it was nice to watch a movie that is set here.

Thank you.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Mary L said...

We went to see your movie today! I received two of your books as gifts from my sister. We lost a Golden Retriever about 4 months ago, so yes the tear jerker parts hit home hard, but, I must say we laughed more than we cried. You see when our one dog died, the other dog, a Chocolate Lab, went into a deep depression. So, enter Charley, a Yellow Lab. Charley is much like Marley, yet very similar to Woodson. Snickers, yes that is the Chocolate Lab, was so depressed when the other dog died we were afraid she would follow shortly. So, we went and got Charley. He is 5 months old, and has managed to find so many things I had forgotten we owned. But, everyone else is lucky, he loves my shoes most of all! He has, however, made our 10 1/2 year old lab a pup again. So, while we laughed and cried, we also felt like you were telling our story in some small way. Charley has brought a spark into our house! He has touched all of us, as did the movie. Thanks for sharing real life with the world in such a loving, romantic, funny way! I hope your family, Gracie and Woodson all have a wonderful 2009!

2:18 PM  
Blogger Mary L said...

Marley and Me was an awesome movie. It made us laugh and cry, and it brought back some many memories. We lost a Golden Retriever in August, but we also had a Chocolate Lab, Snickers who went into a deep depression without her partner in crime. It was so bad that we feared she would follow Chubbles before too long. So, after my Mother had circled yellow labs for sale in the paper we ended up going to look at them. My grandchildren fell in love with all of them, but one of them stole our hearts. We brought Charley home! At 5 months now he is into everything from Christmas ornaments to my shoes. He jumps in our laps, yes he thinks he is a lap dog, he runs up and down the hallway like he is about to attack you, and he has made us all laugh including the older lab. Snickers now acts like a pup again. I hope, and pray, that you all had a wonderful holiday and that Gracie and Woodson have many wonderful years together. I look forward to new adventures with Woodson.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Bruno said...

This post has been removed by the author.

4:37 PM  
Blogger joanna said...

The Grogan Family,
I just finished the book Marley and Me, I started it about six months ago,it was such a great book,it made me laugh,and boy did i cry. My daughter and I are going to see the movie this weekend.We have three labs,one which is crazy but we love her just as you loved Marley,reading your book has made me be more patient with Lucy our spaz pup!
have a Happy New year,
Joanna B,Loveland,Colorado

4:45 PM  
Blogger Bruno said...

Hey Grogan.

I have just wached the movie "marley and me" in a brazilian shopping.

I just can`t describe how I felt good besides the sad end.

The movie was just FANTASTIC.

I`m going to the movie again next week to see it.

Thanks for the book and the awsome movie.

Send a hug for all of your brazilians FANS.

I hope that I can meet you!!

Merry Chrismas and a happy new year.

Bruno Leonardo O. Rocha

4:49 PM  
Blogger judie said...

Just walked in the door after enjoying the film, but it was nothing compared to the journey your book took me on. So much familiarity for me...living in the beautiful hills near Philly; having a Marley-look-alike; commitment to 'mend', not 'end' during rough times; the desire to be a stay at home mom; and finally, the loss of a baby. Thank you for giving credence to the things that matter: family, commitment, and love.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Julie Fischbach said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,
Tonight I finished reading Marley & Me. I have had the book since it first came out and have been reading it here and there over the past couple of years. This was absolutely a great book. It made me laugh out loud and cry.

I have a chocolate lab border collie mix named Torii that will be turning 3 on Feb. 24th of this year.

Torii was a "normal" puppy, as normal as puppies can be running around and eating everything in sight until he was about 1 1/2. I used to take him for long walks, which he loved, and I started noticing that he was have a really hard time getting all the way back home. He would get REALLY tired and his back legs would shake. My husband and I also started noticing that he would bunny hop when he would run after things.

We found out after many vet visits and many bills that he has a genetic muscle disorder. His muscles never fully developed and probably never will. The vets have explained to us that he is not in any pain. They have all said, "He just feels really tired, as do humans do when they work out hard." And so he is what we like to call him, "Our special needs dog."

My husband and I decided to try acupuncture and that seems to relieve some of his tightness in his back. If we can help make his life more interesting as he will like Woodson not be able to go on long walks and play too hard with other dogs.

He is such a good natured dog and seems to not let his disability stop him. He has taught me to enjoy what you have and not let things boggle you down. We love his spirit and believe that we were meant to have him.

Thank you for sharing your personal experiences with all of us. There are many of us that feel the way that you do about Marley, Woodson, and Gracie.

9:01 PM  
Blogger Lawrence Thomas said...

Hi John,

I just stumbled upon your site. As millions the world over, I too have fallen in love with your bad dog.

I actually found Marley and Me just last year. I bought the illustrated edition for my boss, who is one of the few 'dog' people in our office, for Christmas.

To my surprise, my wife purchased the same wonderfully illustrated title that same Christmas. I immediately found a place on the couch, opened the first page, and instantly fell in love with Marley.

I had to put your book down many times, for weeks on end, as my dog, Tara, was also showing signs of old age herself.

I did finally finish the story many months later, the tears started to flow as I knew they would, and then I gave my girl a great big hug and kiss.

We had to say goodbye to Tara in September. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. She had one of the most beautiful souls I have ever known, but I knew when we rescued her four years ago, that our time together would be short.

We have a bad dog of our own now. A four month old Collie/Lab named Gracie. A couple of weeks after we adopted her, I ran upstairs suddenly to look at the back cover of a book I had bought for my two year old daughter; Bad Dog, Marley!

I now had a Gracie of my own, although I have gone from the worlds best dog, to the cutest holy terror alive.

Tomorrow I will finally see Marley's movie. I look forward to falling in love with Marley and your family all over again. I dread the ending, but as I chase my crazy mutt around, I now know that with every ending, there are exciting new beginnings.

Thanks for sharing your story of Marley. You have inspired me to write my own tale of a very special dog. Where that tale will end up, nobody knows. What I do know, is that it feels good to remember her in this way. I'll never fully be able to say goodbye, until I have expressed just how much her spirit touched mine during that short time our lives shared the same path.

All the very best to you and yours during this holiday season. I can't begin to imagine how wonderful it must be for you, to see your friend's life replayed on the big screen. Marley was a very lucky dog to be loved by your family.

Thanks again John, for your inspiration, and for showing the world how deeply animals can touch our hearts.

Sincerely,
Larry

9:10 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Oh thank you thank you thank you for keeping your sweet dog. I was born with hip dysplasia as well, and it means the world for me to hear that you decided to keep Woodson--lovable defects and all. Although the condition has given me many a problem (and a surgery here and there), I wouldn't trade my not-so-ordinary life with all of its surprises.

I wrote about some of the trials and sweetness of this in my post called "Opus to Greg Paulus" in the event that anyone needs some encouragement. I know, seems like a shameless plug, but it's not, it's just that life happens and you have to share.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Jamie/Moira said...

Mr. Grogan

Thank you.

Sometimes simple is the best

10:08 PM  
Blogger jrae said...

I just saw Marley and Me in the theater, and cried with my sisters and our children! Jen's role when she was overwhelmed with kids and the dog was the exact description of my life. There were times i'd give anything to get rid of my dog. But by the end of your movie, i realized that i wanted to get home and hug her! They truly are the family!

10:18 PM  
Blogger Willa said...

We enjoyed the movie, but the book was the best. Thanks for sharing with us.

7:02 AM  
Blogger Laura N said...

Hi John,

I somehow knew before I finished the article on Woodson, that he was going to remain with your family, regardless of his disability. As a poster mentioned, Marley sent him to you.

I read "Marley and Me" twice, and went the movie last night. I can't remember the last time I went to a movie that only had a few seats left. What a fantastic perfect cast of actors. I was beyond pleased. I'm so happy for you and your family.

When we came home from the movie, we hugged our three furry friends when they greeted us at the door. Something else greeted us too, but in the form of a chewed up Christmas ornament. We smiled and laughed. :)

8:11 AM  
Blogger Lauri said...

Sniff! Thanks for posting this.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

I loved the movie "Marley & Me" I just took my 10 year old grandson to see it last night. I am an animal lover with a part chow part german sheperd and she is not 16 years old. She has been a blessing to us and we carry her upstairs to sleep and help her outside for walks.

Your new dog sounds like he will continue to be a blessing in your lives and God knew what he was doing for that precious puppy when He placed him with your family.

Good luck in future endeavors and God Bless you for your wonderful love of animals.

Fondest Regards,
Sue Douglas
Miami, Fl.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Talk to Me said...

I would love to see your movie, but I can't. You see, my dog Rudy, is the reincarnation of Marley.

He's EXACTLY like him and he just about drives us nuts beyond nuts!

I don't think I can handle the thought of Marley's passing (Yes, I know--I know, that's life, all dogs go to heaven, blah, blah, blah)because all I can see is my Rudy.

I know it is going to do well, regardless.

Good luck with your kids' books--LOVE them.

2:53 PM  
Blogger GBisbee said...

Dear John,

We just returned from taking my daughter, husband and three of our grandchildren to see "Marley and Me." It was a thankyou to our daughter for hosting my wife and me for the Christmas holiday.

It was one of the few times all of us agreed on something-it was a well-done movie.

I was particularly touched by the scene at the vet's office, having put our 14-year-old golden retreiver, Sally, to sleep three years ago.

Sally actually taught one grandchild to walk. One of our granddaughters said to us that she was "the best dog ever all."

Thanks for sharing your story with us, both the book and the movie.

George Bisbee
Egg Harbor, WI

3:49 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

I'm glad you and your family chose to keep Woodson. Special needs dogs can teach unique lessons to all of use. We're involved in Weimarner rescue and lost our special girl Shelby after only 2 years. She taught use a lot about endurance and acceptance.

Good luck to you all

Ron McElroy

6:02 PM  
Blogger Trevor said...

Mr. Grogan,

Thank you for sharing your life with the rest of us. Thank you for sharing Marley. My wife and I rescue special needs dogs (and regular ones too). We currently have 15. I am a veteran of the current conflict in Iraq, and I have seen many things in my life. It was hard not to cry as Marley laid on that table. We experienced a similar event when our black Lab Phinny left us. I was privileged to be able to hold my wife and our beloved Phinny as he left the world. A dog's love is something to be treasured.

9:03 PM  
Blogger c said...

We went to see the movie last night. I had read Marley and Me several years ago so I was prepared for the ending or at least I thought I was. It was all I could do to keep from bawling out loud. My wife and 9 year old son were also moved to tears. From the sniffles I heard around me, I don't think there were many dry eyes in the theatre.

The farewell scene at the vet clinic took me back to three years ago to when I had to have my 13 year old dog put down. You have written the 21st Century Old Yeller.

We wish you well with the new addition to your family. Good luck to Woodson!

4:45 AM  
Blogger Spruce Hill said...

I agree with the other commenter,Marly sent Woodson to you!What a wonderful story. I hope everything turns out well for him and he does well with his surgery.

I too have an yellow American Lab. Her name is Chloe and she is very large (87lbs) and reminds me so much of Marly. She is 9 years old and still acts like a puppy. Reading your book was like reading a book about my dog. She can clear a coffee table with one swipe of her tale!
I am excited about seeing the movie. Marly and Me is one of my all time favorite books!

http://sprucehill.typepad.com/

7:48 AM  
Blogger Henry The Great Lab said...

A local writer wrote a story this week about my yellow lab "Henry" to co-incide with release of Marley and Me.

If you get a chance, please read our story
http://www.ilistpaducah.com:80/ipet/ipet20081224.html

My husband and I saw your movie on Christmas Day in a sold out theater. It touched our hearts in so many ways. Marley will live on in every lab owner's lives...Thank you for sharing your stories.

Martha & Henry The Great Lab - KY

7:51 AM  
Blogger Gi said...

This post has been removed by the author.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Eve said...

Dear Mr. Grogan you met our sweet lab Lewis and you even signed his service dog vest. You came to Redmond WA and we went to your book signing and you said "Rock stars get to sign t-shirts and I get to sign a dog's vest." :)

Lewis is our yellow lab and that once in a life time dog. We got him as a puppy and trained him to be our daughter's service dog. Our entire family has been blessed with him so when he needed help we had to do whatever it took. My first blog post titled Lewis is pain free! has more information and pictures if your interested.

The biggest surprise and blessing from all of these surgeries came from a "Lemon-Aid for Lewis" stand at the end of our driveway that our daughter Adelle set up for her best friend. She said to us "Lewis took away my pain so now I'm going to take away his." Adelle started the process that eventually raised the money needed for his surgeries (about $10,000) and best of all she learned that one person really can make a difference and that she is much stronger than she had thought.

Lewis is 3 1/2 years old now and doing great. He has changed us forever and we are truly thankful for him.

Marley and Me is one of our family's favorite books and we are all going to see the movie this week including Lewis!

8:54 AM  
Blogger Gi said...

Hello, John!
Oh, Marley and Me is by far the most amazing movie ever!
First of all, congratulations for you for writing such an amazing book that turned into the movie; second congrats for your family for letting you share the story with us; and of course congrats to Marley for being such a great dog... the world's best dog...
Jennifer and Owen did an awsome performance! They are both so great!
And the dogs... oh, the dogs! I think each dog deserves an Oscar for that movie! Seriously! So much scenes that I've had pictured in my head when I was reading the book and then I saw it exactly the same on the movie screen! Amazing!
It was so funny! So cute and adorable!
The entire time everybody was laughing.
And at the end everybody was crying. Not a few people, not half of them, but everybody! Everybody was touched by the story and had at least a tear on the eye.
I was crying my heart out!
The funny thing is that when we were getting out of the cinema the people who were in line to see it (the ones who probably didn't read the book) was saying "That's a comedy! Why is everybody crying?" lol
Really great movie! I'll sure see it again!
Thank you, John!
And happy new year!

Cheers,

Giovana, 19
São Paulo - Brazil

8:58 AM  
Blogger jpk said...

beautiful post on your new puppy. no matter what, we love them. my girl, kelly, was also one of the dog actors in the movie(rottie). shortly after filming, she was diagnosed with cancer(osteosarcoma). she lost her left rear leg in july. she is still with us, but her health is slowly fading. she is a fighter, and has taught us alot in these past few months.
she never let her handicapped condition slow her down. have ball, will travel is her motto. she has done weaves in agility and flyball practices on 3 legs. she even sports rug burns on her side from playing carpet ball with my daughter.
when the time comes to let her go, it will be hard. but we can never trade those good years for nothing in the world.
good luck with puppy, and love them all every day!

9:21 AM  
Blogger Gina said...

That's one of the many, many down sides of having animal that comes from breeders. Poor Woodson is lucky to have an owner with the means to give him the best care possible. But what about the other millions of dogs birthed at a puppy mill with all kinds of deformities & illnesses. Never, ever buy from a breeder, or for that matter whoever was responsible for using breeders to make the film Marley doesn't have a clue about animal welfare. They are just supporting & enabling the cruel breeding industry.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Jody's Jungle said...

John,
How wonderful for both you and Woodson that you have found each other.

I read Marley and Me when it was first published and thought it was one of the best books I've ever read. I loved it so much that I vowed that when/if I got another puppy, I would name him/her Marley. And so I did -- LOL - she looks and acts nothing like your Marley. She is a coal black, 10-lb, Silky-Poo, almost 2, who is very well behaved. But she carries the name because I fell in love with your Marley.

I also live in South Florida and know several people that you worked with at the Sun-Sentinel. They promise to introduce me on your next visit.

Much love to you, your family, and your wonderful dogs. You have enriched many lives.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

Animal Shelters Gearing Up for Post-Christmas Doggie Abandonment
Hit Film "Marley and Me" Will Create Big Demand for Labs and Subsequent Release to Animal Shelters

By Heather Mark, published Dec 24, 2008

Total Views: 10,822

It happened after 101 Dalmatians. It happened after Beethoven. It even happened after Beverly Hills Chihuahua. People fall in love with the dogs they see on the big screen and run out to get one of their own. Sadly, too many of these impulse acquisitions end up with dogs being dumped on animal shelters after the owners realize dog ownership isn't as cute as it is in the movies.
full article:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1333784/animal_shelters_gearing_up_for_postchristmas.html

1:11 PM  
Blogger Da' Boy's Mom, Gwen said...

Oh John.... I feel as if we know you and your family after reading "Marley & Me". Boy, did it bring back some wonderful memories of my precious lab-mix, Chrisis! We now have 2 "Marleyized" labs... Mack -n- Jack, and they are a HOOT! Years ago we had another pup who had hip dysplasia, and with the medications and therapy, she lived a long, happy life. Please be sure to check out the very much improved things they now have for animals with this awful disease. Their research has made so much progress and I really feel they could help Woodson. Until then, we will all be praying for him, and my boys will be "crossing paws" in prayer as well!

Happy New Year! Gwen & Da' Boys... Mack -n- Jack

2:58 PM  
Blogger Bonnie said...

Mr. Grogan,

Please know that my thoughts & prayers will be with your family & Woodson as you work towards giving him a full & active life with a minimum of pain. My family includes a white German shepherd, Tchaikovsky, who was diagnosed with severe hip dysplasia not long after we received him from a rescue at 15 months. He's 4 now and with medication, we can keep him relatively pain free but we know our time with him will be shorter than would be otherwise & it breaks our hearts because he's the most lovable dog we've ever had... He's not a good candidate for FHO or other surgical options - all we can do is love him & try to keep him comfortable for as long as we can. I hope & pray your Woodson as better options & can some day run & romp pain free!

4:28 PM  
Blogger catrina said...

I agree with Peace Love and Skulls' mom---Marley sent you Woodson! I read your book three years ago and though I couldn't identify with Marley (we had recently lost our Buffy to old age, and she was always the perfect lady), I sure can now! We have Maggie the Wonder Dog, who has chewed couches, shredded toilet paper, and most recently stolen six candy canes (and numerous wooden ornaments) from the Christmas tree. We saw the movie today, and being the World's Second Worst Dog's family helped me to bond with Marley in a whole new way. What a wonderful movie!

6:20 PM  
Blogger Debbie said...

I'm so glad you decided to keep Woodson. He will have a great life. Since you have moved or are in the process of moving, what will become of Marley's grave site?

6:40 PM  
Blogger Nancy Lynn said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,
I read your article on Sunday and on Wednesday my 10 month old chocolate lab received the same diagnosis. It was difficult to hear, and the options are all written in the blogs. We have an appointment with a specialist, but the surgical options are very expense. We are hoping for the best. Also, I just came from the movie Marley and Me, and after reading the book, I was glad that much of the movie kept the same beautiful story. I hope that both Woodson and my dog Reilly will live happy pain free doggie lives!
Sincerely,
Nancy
Arizona

6:48 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,
We have had 2 wonderful black labs in our lives and now have a yellow lab. Buddy is now one and a half and we jokingly call him Marley sometimes because of all the many things he has destroyed. However, no mattter how mad he has made us we just can't stay mad at him. Our whole family has read your book and thought it was hilariously funny, poignant and sad.There were so many things we could relate to. As pet owners we all have to make that hard decision when our canine friends need us to.But it is something we do because we love them. Thank you for writing such a wonderful story. We saw the movie today and laughed and cried all over again. Thank you for sharing Marley with us. Gracie and Woodson are very lucky dogs to have you!
Julie Cramer
Kalamazoo, MI

9:01 PM  
Blogger Sunny said...

I wrote a post few days back on my blog about my dog Coco.
Your book has greatly affected me and has touched my heart.

My post "Coco and Me"
http://yellowtabloid.blogspot.com/2008/12/coco-me.html

10:48 PM  
Blogger Ana Cristina said...

Dear Mr Grogan,
How nice it is to know that from now on I´ll be reading such great stories here in your blog.
I read your book (Marley and I) and I also share it with my mom. We love animals. Actually we had lots of dogs and cats. Nowadays we have Perla (a female cat) and Xuxu (a 17year old parrot).
I went to see the movie and even if I prefer the book, I have to confess the movie made me cry.
I wish you and your family all the best and I´d also like to thank you for writing the book and for sharing it with us.
Happy new year. May God bless you all.
With Love

Ana Cristina G F Nobrega
Brasil

3:43 AM  
Blogger mlachiusa said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,
As a "newcomer" to your work, just finishing Marley & Me this morning, I wanted to tell you that you really touched my heart with your story. I grew up on a farm with many dogs over the years of my childhood with labs being the dominant breed over the years (along with one dachsund and a slew of mutts!) My husband, on the other hand, grew up in a household that was somewhat "sterile" with no four-legged companions of any type. Needless to say he had to take some convincing. After 10 years together and two small children I convinced him to adopt an 18-month old white boxer, Cain.

I am amazed at the transformation in my husband. Reading Marley & Me has made me realize the need to to slow down and drink in the everyday that is our lives.

I think it only fitting that I just finished Marley & Me this morning as I am heading in for a 2nd surgery to remove a clavicle pin: the result of an accident due to me mistakenly thinking of myself as "pack leader" and biking with our very powerful dog. After receiving the hospital bills from the original surgery I have lovingly refer to Cain as "the most expensive dog I have ever had!"

Between caring for 2 small children, a husband that works 2 jobs and working full time myself I have very few stolen moments in which to read for enjoyment, but managed to finish your book in less than a week. I found it very difficult to put down. I am passing the book along to my friend who is driving me today as I do not believe good books should be shelved. She is actually the owner of a black lab, Crystal, who has eaten part of their house, their lawnmower and could chase a tennis ball for 24 hours straight. I am thankful my boxer enjoys sleeping!

I look forward to reading your work from now own. Best wishes to you and your family.

Thank you for sharing your stories,
Melissa LaChiusa
Greensboro, NC

5:24 AM  
Blogger margie.pritchett said...

As a fellow dog lover I applaud your respect for animal life. We have 4 rescue dachshunds living with us. I'm not sure if that equals one lab or not but it may come close. They were all rejected by their owners for one reason or another and came to us with some issues but we love them proudly. You have touched many human and dog lives with your writing and now with the movie. You have also provided much enjoyment and enrichment for our family and for this I thank you. Keep up the good work. Your children and dogs are lucky to have been blessed with you and your wife. Have a blessed and prosperous New Year.
Regards from fellow dog lovers,

The Pritchetts
Glen Rose Texas

7:02 AM  
Blogger Jerri said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,
I have read the book, and now seen the movie. I love them both.
And in my entire life, I have never seen so many people openly sob, and cry at a movie :)
Including my husband and myself.
3 years ago I had to have my first yellow lab "Moses" put to sleep, as he had been battling cancer. Before he passed, I had gotten another yellow lab pup-Sampson.
I understood every line in your book, and laughed and cried at the scenes in the movie. It was like watching my life over the last several years.
Thank you for sharing your story.
And God bless you for knowing what it is to "truly" love an animal and be there for them.
I will send up a prayer for Woodson!
He will be just fine. He obviously could not be with a better family.
Again,
Thank you, and well done Mr. Grogan.

7:02 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

As a animal lover from birth, believing that I could talk to animals as Dr. Doolittle when I was young, I love the compassion and understanding your writing conveys. A true test of what kind of person you will be is reflected in what sort of pet owner you are. I had a German Shepard mix growning up who was bigger than other Shepards and his ears did not stand at a point; floppy ears. Max was 8 weeks when my brothers and I snuck him in our house and gave him a bath. We fed him cottage cheese, set him up in the living room and waited for our mother to get home from work. That was it, once she saw us and saw him sitting there... he was ours. He was mischevious, he was big, he smelled sometimes... but he had the biggest most beautiful smile, as only a dog can smile. He pulled us on our sled in the snow and layed on the floor with us when it was cold. He loved the cold winter and snow but he would sit in the hot sun and watch us swim.
His last few months were hard to watch... he slowed down considerably and was content to just sit and look out our sliding glass door. The vet advised that he had some tumors and is he was younger an operation would be possible but he was 16 1/2. The last day, he had an accident in the house. He was mortified, he was ashamed of himself, but we cleaned it up and told him that we knew it wasn't on purpose.
We said good bye to Max... my parents took wrapped him in a blanket and drove him to the vet's office.
Many times I think about growing up, our family vacations, our fights, our life... and he was there. Part of the family.

From one animal lover to another I agree that there are animals here on earth just to love. We have been created to take care of them and they are here to provide us compassion and companionship...

8:05 AM  
Blogger Sara Eckert said...

Mr. Grogan: Just wanted to tell you that yesterday my husband, and grandchildren went to see "Marley and Me". It was an excellent movie, and the dear dog used at the end, well, I was crying so hard, but it could well have been my 13 year old female, Chloe. Guess that made watching the end very hard for me. We also have 2 other yellows, both male, Brady, who is 3 and Cooper, who will turn 2 in Jan. We got Brady thru a Lab Rescue group in the Ohio/Indiana area. I'm sure he was a product from a puppy mill. He has hip problems also, and just had rear hock surgery on both legs 3 weeks ago for a condition called OCD.
I admire you for keeping Woodson, with his disability and all. These dogs need people like us to care for them.
I'd be interested in knowing what medication he is on, and what kind of diet you are feeding?
Congrats again to your family, your very special wife, your children, and of course, Gracie and Woodson. May God bless you all.
Sara Eckert
St Marys, Pa.
sonsar@alltel.net

8:06 AM  
Blogger W said...

I cry as I type. I just made the decision not to see the movie Marley and me. I, too, have a Yellow Lab. I love her more than life itself. Last March she was diagnosed as diabetic. She has since lost her sight. Those impediments we can deal with. Tomorrow she is having her bladder x-rayed. She may have stones or worse. My mother is paying her vet expenses as I search, seemingly in vain, for work. I don't know if she will agree to pay for surgery if it is necessary; to date our vet bills have been enormous. The worst case scenario creeps into my thoughts as I hope for the best. Like Marley, my girl has been more than a handful. She taught me that furniture and material possessions don't matter. Her life and companionship mean everything to me. I'm not prepared to lose her during one of the most trying times of my life. The cruelest joke in life is the reality that they do not have the same life expectancy we have and cannot communicate their pain. She is my third canine best friend since I reached adulthood. The benefits of their love and devotion greatly outweigh the pain but this time I am not prepared to lose the battle so soon. She is only six years old. I will be her eyes and service human for as long as possible. Tomorrow I pray I learn that we will have more time together.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Nicki said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,

I have read your books and my family and I went to see Marley and Me this weekend. (Not a dry eye I might add)
I too believe that Woodson I where he needs to be.
Congrats to you for the sucesses and the beautiful family!
N. Brown,
Lancaster, CA

10:07 AM  
Blogger Joannah said...

You made the right choice! It's a choice I had to make with my yellow Lab Buffy when she was just 9 months old, only her condition was a birth defect of the knees. I, too, notified the breeder, and was offered another dog to replace Buffy. But I knew she would be euthanized if I returned her. Instead, I accepted the full purchase price as a refund and applied that to her medical bills.

She underwent double knee surgery at ten months, and required two months recovery spend mostly in her crate. At the age of four, just before my wedding, we realized that she'd damaged the ligament in her left knee, and we prepared for another surgery. She is doing well, now, but the other knee may need treatment in the future. All that and two rounds of bloat - I call her the $10k dog!!!

Just saw the movie last night. It was charming, but not anywhere as endearing as your book. My husband is just finishing M&M, and he agrees.

All the best to you and your family, Woodson and Gracie.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Lazlo said...

I was a little disappointed in the movie, it left out so much that the book had in it. Granted you can't really fit a book into a two hour movie without leaving out a lot of cute details.

Through the book all I could think about was our families dog, Lacey. She is a Chocolate Lab, and she does everything Marley has done. She is only three and already torn up our house. We just got our new furniture, and she was easier to train in a class by herself. I also had to re-order my High School class ring because she decided to eat it off of my finger while I was sleeping. We sprayed her poop as well, but it never came out. So pretty much, the best way to describe it is, Lacey is the girl version of Marley. Either that or Marley reincarnated.

We got Lacey when our Golden Retriever died from kidney failure (she was 14), and Belle (the Golden) approved of Lacey before she passed.

About a year and a half later, we went to the puppy store in out area and saw two more Chocolate Labs. They are both sisters. My Mom ended up saying, "If they are here two weeks from now, I'll get them." So two weeks later we went back, both were gone. "Guess it wasn't meant to be." My mom said. Well we went back in about another two weeks later, both were there again. This one lady I guess bought them and then returned them cause "They were too much to handle." So we bought them.

Now we have Lacey, Sophie, and Aubrey. Aubrey is the baby. Just like Woodson, we found out she had Hip Dysplasia in both of her back hips. She could just on couches, she tried going up the stairs. We just thought she hurt herself while playing with the other dogs until the signs became more obvious. We went to the vet, got xrays, called the store where we bought her from, and they said the same thing. We can trade her for another dog. Mom said the exact same thing you did. No, because she may be euthenized. So the place said they would pay for her medicines and if we decided to do surgery, they'd pay for that too.

Well the medicines worked a little, but it came down to her having to get surgery. We fixed her right hip first and the other one ended up healing itself.

We started babying her, lifting her up the stairs, into the car, etc. So now she is a little bit spoiled. After her hip started healing and she showed us positive signs of everything being better, her hip became inflamed and got infected. We ended up getting more medicines which then fixed the problem. About maybe a year or so later, her hip was good as new. She now jumps around, she can get on the furniture, and up the stairs. She runs around in the backyard, with the others, and they all go swimming in our pool during the summer when it is warm. It helps with her hip a lot.

Sophie is just a wild dog. She is perfectly healthy, very lovable, and needs to be petted every second of the day.

I'm going to include pictures of our three dogs, oldest to youngest.

Lacey:

puppy - http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a289/aj_mclean_girl69/DSC02106.jpg

now - http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a289/aj_mclean_girl69/DSC03075.jpg

(lacey in the snow)

Sophie:

puppy - http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a289/aj_mclean_girl69/DSC03165.jpg

now - http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a289/aj_mclean_girl69/DSC04121.jpg(that is butter on her face. she got ahold of the butter container and licked it to death)

Aubrey:

puppy - http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a289/aj_mclean_girl69/DSC00073.jpg

now - http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a289/aj_mclean_girl69/DSC04419.jpg(this is cake on her face, she's a little piggy)

By the way, the couch you see in two of the pictures, that is the couch Lacey tore up that the other two decided to finish. Hence why there are blankets covering the couch.

I will be looking forward to a book about Woodson in the future. Marley & Me was just beautiful.

-Leslie

12:06 PM  
Blogger Nikita said...

Mr.Grogan,
I just LOVE the picture of Woodson. He is the cutiest puppy ever. The rest of the story touched my heart. I read the book Marley:A dog like no other. In fact my class read it as a read aloud. My teacher was crying. I don't know what to say! Woodson and Marley are really alike.....by stealing my words!!! I love your books!!!

12:17 PM  
Blogger Eddy&Grace said...

My family, too, has a special needs lab. And the thought of trading her out for another one without the problems was not possible. Just like your lab, our Grace, had become a family member and there was no replacing her. My family and I enjoyed your movie yesterday. It just breaks my heart that such love and companionship always has to end. Thank God, they are our little blessings to love while on Earth. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

2:35 PM  
Blogger carol said...

After viewing your pictures from the Marley & Me premiere I'm wondering if Jennifer Grogan really exists?! My attempts to google images of her only give me images of Jennifer Aniston. Do you have a photo of the mother of your beautiful children?

6:34 PM  
Blogger aniluve2 said...

Dear Mr.Grogan,
Even though I don't own any dogs,(I have 3 cats) I feel deeply connected with them and all other animals from earthworms to elephants. I was deeply touched by your book marley and me. I just finished it today. When the librarians at my school saw me with it before winter break, they told me that it was a sad story. I actually didn't see it that way. Even though my tears are still caked on my face, I thought of marley and me as an inspirational and true-to-fact book. Even though I'm only 12 and have no plan on how my life will turn out, I am dead set on having a dog somewhere in the mix. Whenever I hear about a dog, I will always think of Marley and how, in a strange way, I knew and loved him.

Another thing that I did today was watch the dog whisperer with ceasar millan. It was the episode when ceasar came to help you train Gracie. Speaking of Gracie(and Woodson too) you should write a book about those two.

Best Regards,
aniluve2

P.S. aniluve2 means:
ani=animal
luve=lover
2=my favorite number

9:12 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

My heart goes out to you and your family. Like Woodson, our Golden Retriever puppy was diagnosed with severe hip dysplasia at the tender age of 6 months old. We were in shock. After a few months, she started going downhill...she could barely walk a few steps before sitting down with a whimper. People told us to euthanize her, but that never crossed our minds. Not even once. Earlier this year, we made the decision to have her undergo hip replacement surgery. It was a long road to recovery, and the surgery was expensive, but it was worth it. She celebrated her one year birthday by running and leaping around the back yard with her new bionic hip. She is a very sweet yet mischievous member of our family, and we cannot imagine life without her.

May Woodson's life be long and joyful!

10:09 PM  
Blogger Miss Madison Delight said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,
I have had the pleasure of reading all of your books, the children books including Marley and Me, being one that touches my heart, due to having a Marley except her name is Ms. Madison Delight! She is truly my best friend! No words can explain what I feel for my dog! She is one in a million. Being a dog lover to begin with and growing up with dogs all my life as well. I had a 13 year old lab mix named rescue.He was born dead and after mouth to snout he came back to life, so the attachment between him and I were just unbreakable! When he was in the last year of his life my husband decided to surprise me with Ms. Madison. At fist it was hard for me to get close to her due to rescue and him being 13 and not much time left Ms. Madison was just to play full and always looking for something to get into! The day came that the vet said it was more humane to put him down than make him suffer any more! The news was shocking to me,this was a dog that I had grown up with all my life, that was one of the hardest things that I had to do. I thank god everyday for Madison. She is now 5 and still acts as if she were a puppy. She is truly a blessing life without Madison is just unimaginable! I would like to thank you for sharing your life's stories with us and let you know that your family and you are special people! Woodson truly is very lucky to have been placed in your home and will live a very long and happy life. Keep on writing your books, and most importantly keep us up to date on Woodson. God Bless your family and You.

Sincerely
Suzy & Ms. Madison

8:20 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

I am very happy that you found it in your heart to take on the project of a special needs dog, saving him from certain euthanasia. I have a big, goofy dog named Muttley, who was rescued from the streets of Baltimore, and I saved him from euthanasia three times. He has had some serious misadventures, and he and I have earned an infamous reputation on usenet dog forums, but he has become a sweet, stable, but yet independent and nearly untrainable dog. His story can be found at: www.smart.net/~pstech/Muttley/MuttleyStory.htm. New photos are in his web page folder. Enjoy!

9:31 AM  
Blogger Frank said...

Our journey began 4 years ago when a big, brown, sweet and lovable Chocolate Lab wondered down our drive way. We had no idea where he came from but he arrived here half starved and in need of attention. This wonderful dog soon became a big part of my life named Gilbert. Gilbert at first, distrusted women and even growled at my wife. But as time and love progressed he came to enjoy being with all of the family. Like your Marley he too was terrified of storms. When the first booms of thunder echoed on the horizon he would become a shaking, whining bundle of nerves that had to be loved and reassured. Gilbert was quite old when he came to our family and we were only able to enjoy his love for three short years. When he passed I cried like never before. It was a loss that truly hurt.

Three weeks after his sudden passing my son Justin and I were sitting out by the pool listening to music when a friend called and told me that a breeder in our area had a litter of lab puppies and gave me her number. I called her and asked if she had any Colocate males and she replied yes. We agreed to come and look at the little guy that afternoon. As I hung up the phone with a look of glee and wonder on my face, I noticed the song now playing, Bob Marley's Every Things Gonna Be All Right, my son and I looked at each other and in unison said Marley!
Marley has been apart of our lives for a little over a year now. Much like your Marley, he has destroyed three cordless phone, Ravaged Christmas presents, and caused other destruction. However he sits here by my side as I type this, a ever loving companion for what I hope is many years to come.

Sincerely Frank and Marley Thurman

10:32 AM  
Blogger Lou Lumi said...

Our 4 year old golden, Ginger, was diagnosed with moderate hip dysplasia at 4 months of age. We had gotten her from a pet shop at 12 weeks old. The breeder, like yours, offered us a replacement puppy. In the month since we had gotten her she had become a part of our family and we did not want to return her (to certainly be euthanized). The breeder agreed to refund half of our purchase price, which we readily accepted. So, in a sense, we were rescuing her from certain death.
At 4 years old she ruptured her ACL and dislocated her patellar tendon, which made her dysplasia worse. A terrific orthopedic vet rebuilt her knee and she spent the next 6 weeks recovering. At no time did her disposition or her love of playing ball change. The look of sheer joy on her face when she was able to swim in the lake for the first time after surgery was amazing. It made the expense and inconvenience (leash walking everywhere, ramps into the car,etc)worth it all. She still occasionally has trouble getting up or limps until she gets moving as the dysplasia has not been addressed surgically. She rarely shows her discomfort and runs and plays with our border collie as if there is nothing wrong.
These "special" family members make you realize what is most important in life. Their unconditional love is demonstrated by a simple pat on the head or a good belly rub.
Thank you for reminding us why we are dog lovers to begin with...

11:11 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

John, I think you made the right decision to keep Woodson. He deserves the kind of care you can give him, after ol MARLEY BOY you will have that love all over again but maybe a bit more well behaved. It was a treat to see your Marley and Me movie and how well it played to the book. I left Lake Park Fl. about 10 years before you got there and that part of town was a rough area then. My first dog here in League City Texas was a black Lab named Lady MacBeth and she loved howling at the harmonica. Her favorite tune was "Guess that's why the call it the blues". That is sort of the situation we have with dogs they live a short life and take our hearts with them.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Paola Garambone said...

Hello Mr. Grogan, my name is Paola and I am glad for this opportunity to leave you a message.
I am Brazilian, and I am 17 years old. I finish reading your book Marley & I today, and ran to the nearest movie theater from here to see the movie. I cryed at the end of the both. I liked the movie, I think it is very close to the book you wrote, but nothing can be better than your book. I had a dog until last year that became very sick, and we had to authorize the vets to euthanize him, just like what happened to Marley. He was also 13 years old. You described everything I felt from leaving a dog that we love so much. And I would like to congratulate you and to thank you for this wonderfull book.
I also appreciate your decision about Woodson, it's very loveful from your part and I agree with your decision. He would never find another family as good as yours.
Excuse me for my bad english, I hope you understand my message.
I wish you the most beautiful feelings and a lot of lucky. And, of course, a happy new year to all of you!

Paola Garambone Affonso
pa.garambone@gmail.com

6:44 PM  
Blogger Tracey said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,
I took the kids to see Marley and Me today, and we laughed and we cried. What a beautiful story of the love that exists between us and our dogs. I too, put my beloved Lhasa Apso to sleep and I held him as he slipped from this world to the next. It took me several years to be ready for my next dog, and I hugged my beloved Border Collie mix when I came home from the movie. Thank you again for sharing such a poignant story of love.

6:49 PM  
Blogger NYCKitten said...

Mr. Grogan,
Your warm regards for your dogs is wonderful and inspiring.

But you did not "adopt" Woodson, you bought him from a breeder. As with Grace. It saddens me that after all the interaction and awareness you must have been involved with after Marley that you chose to purchase dogs from breeders.

So many fantastic Labs (yes, puppies too) die in shelters each year. It would have been so great to honor Marley's legacy by saving a dog in his name.

How I wish you had chosen this route and inspired others to do the same... please visit www.dogsindanger.com to witness all the Labs literally dying for a home like yours. How proud Marley would have been if you could save just one.

Respectfully,
Susan

7:28 PM  
Blogger Brett, Heather and Kids said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,
How fitting, and ironic that you would be blessed with this special pooch to love you unconditionally as Marley did (and vice versa). I just finished reading "Marley and Me" and miss our dog Tootie more than ever! She died in August at the age of 15. Everyone should experience the love of man's best friend.

Thanks,
Heather Luquette

8:26 PM  
Blogger honeythechewer said...

Dear Mr. Grogan
I just watched marley and me to day with my grandma and she never watches movies where dogs die because we watched where the red fern grows and she cried for 3 days! but she had to see this movie. when i sow that marley chews on every thing it reminded me of my brothers dog honey that lives with us she chews on any thing she can find. right now honey is oh!!!!! chewing on my head fones!!!! there and when marley tore up the garage thats what my grandmas dogs do. i have not read Your book yet but I'm going to!

8:34 PM  
Blogger Bruna said...

It has one year behind, in these days of Christmas, I cried of much happiness to have optimum profit Christmas present, my book, Marley and Me. Now, in this same date of this year, I cried of emotion when attending the film, was touched myself very, for having been the film of the book that more it moved with me until today. And my preferring, clear!

Happy New Year John!

Bruna,


Brazil

10:23 AM  
Blogger Jill, Mommy of Tanner and Josie, our Clomid baby. :o) said...

I bawled while reading and seeing Marley & Me and now you have me crying again! :o) My mom will be thrilled when I share this entry with her.

God Bless you and your family!

12:11 PM  
Blogger Vicki said...

I just finished you book "Marley and Me", saw the movie first. The book is better, you just can't cram all of that life in a movie. I love it, cried lots. It made me think of our pug Buddy who died Easter of "07. We couldn't stand the loss; we tried to think it was such a relief to be free of a dog ruling our life but we were lost. So we got a new pug, his name is Lucky and then we got a Yorky mix and her name is Zoey. They do rule our lives and we don't want it any other way. We are in our late 40's and early 50's so our kids are grown but we can top just about any "you'll never believe what my kid did story" with a story from our dogs. We cannot bear to think of ever losing them. Thanks for shairing your story with all of us!

1:01 PM  
Blogger Gi said...

Hello, John!
Here in Brazil it's 22:57 pm so it's almost mid night and so it's almost 2009.
Everybody is downstairs, prepared for the party! And I was, too! But I just HAD TO come upstairs to read one more Chapter of The Longest Trip Home...
And then I had to leave you a message...
Right now I'm at Chapter 30... I've laughed a lot with the stories from you childhood and took a few lessons too...
And now; at this part of the story, you are visiting your parents after your Father went home from the hospital... I already shed a few - not to say a lot - tears...
Well, I'm going to say the rest after I finish the book...
But by now I have to say: thank you, John! For one more time sharing such an beaultyful story...

And Happy New Year!

Now I'm going back downstairs to party!

And Tomorrow I'll keep reading...

Cheers!

Giovana - 19
São Paulo - Brazil

4:57 PM  
Blogger Miluciana said...

Hello John yesterday I was watching a movie Marley and me, in all red-eye removal, but also with a comprehensive joy for all that showed the film.

Sorry I do not know very well read or write English.
Woodson sejem that you and so happy together as it was with Marley.

I'm protective of animals in Sao Paulo, Brazil then I would like to stress to people instead of buying their dogs to adopt more.
There are shelters with hundreds of wonderful dogs like Marley, Woodson and etc.

Either way will leave a big hug you and your entire human family and canine.

Happy 2009!

Luciana
SAO PAULO-BRAZIL
luzinha-sp@bol.com.br

5:54 AM  
Blogger njteach said...

Although I couldn't have missed the buzz about Marley, I just finished reading the book for the first time. I am home alone and had crawled back into bed on a lazy New Year's Day to enjoy the last thirty pages. Of course, I soon began to sniffle and then to sob outright. My seven-year-old Shetland Sheepdog immediately bounded up the stairs and into my bed. He licked my wet face and then sat towering over me suspiciously as I told him that I was fine. I went back to reading and he retreated to my husband's side of the bed but refused to relax or to take his eyes off of me. Out of sympathy for his distress, I reined in my crying jag. It seemed fitting though,that my own dog appeared on cue to comfort me as I read about yours.I started to think about the bond between us and our dogs, and I realized what I guess I have always known about why people love them so much. Yes, they are loyal and give unconditional love, but that isn't quite it. As I fought back my tears at Marley's last uncomplaining struggle, it came to me. Noble. That's what he was then. It's what he always was and what I believe all dogs are. They are just noble hearts encased in bodies of various sizes, shapes and colors. I think it is those noble hearts that, if we let them, just touch ours in ways we can't even put into words. I am so happy that Woodson found you. My breeder always says that dogs find their people. I truly believe it. Thanks for a wonderful read. Happy New Year. Janice Marsili

1:15 PM  
Blogger njteach said...

Although I couldn't have missed the buzz about Marley, I just finished reading the book for the first time. I am home alone and had crawled back into bed on a lazy New Year's Day to enjoy the last thirty pages. Of course, I soon began to sniffle and then to sob outright. My seven-year-old Shetland Sheepdog immediately bounded up the stairs and into my bed. He licked my wet face and then sat towering over me suspiciously as I told him that I was fine. I went back to reading and he retreated to my husband's side of the bed but refused to relax or to take his eyes off of me. Out of sympathy for his distress, I reined in my crying jag. It seemed fitting though,that my own dog appeared on cue to comfort me as I read about yours.I started to think about the bond between us and our dogs, and I realized what I guess I have always known about why people love them so much. Yes, they are loyal and give unconditional love, but that isn't quite it. As I fought back my tears at Marley's last uncomplaining struggle, it came to me. Noble. That's what he was then. It's what he always was and what I believe all dogs are. They are just noble hearts encased in bodies of various sizes, shapes and colors. I think it is those noble hearts that, if we let them, just touch ours in ways we can't even put into words. I am so happy that Woodson found you. My breeder always says that dogs find their people. I truly believe it. Thanks for a wonderful read. Happy New Year. Janice Marsili

1:19 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

John, my husband and I just saw Marley & Me, and came out of the theater with tear-streaked faces, as your story was like reliving our own 13-year journey with our Lab, Roscoe, who we had to euthanize in 2004.

I came home and read your recent column about Woodson. Now I am crying again, because your story hits close to home a second time. In 2005, we adopted a Golden Retriever puppy, Zoe. She came from a reputable breeder and both parents had good hip certifications. When she was 9 months old, my husband heard a clicking sound coming from her hips while on a walk. Verdict: severe hip dysplasia.

Zoe underwent TPO surgery on both hips over the next few months. It was a HUGE journey for us...she couldn't bear weight on her legs for weeks. We cleaned her like a baby. But now, at age 5, she is doing well. While in the veterinary orthopedic specialist's waiting room here in Phoenix, I met another man whose Lab was in for followup work. His dog had the surgery while he lived in a small San Franciso apartment. Every day for weeks, he would carry her down the stairs to the street below to relieve herself and get fresh air.

All this to say, that the bond between a Retriever and his/her owner will get you through whatever you face...for both dog and human.

Today, we call Zoe the Bionic or Six Thousand Dollar Dog, although truth be told, it cost us more than that! But we'd do it again, and again and again.

God bless you and Woodson as you embark on a challenging, loved-filled life together!

3:06 PM  
Blogger Gi said...

Hi, John!
I guess this is my 5th comment on this post... lol
Well, I finished reading The Longest Trip Home!
Really really great book! Fantastic!
It's amazing how you put us in the loop and make us feel like we know the people on the story!
Sometimes it even feels like reading a letter from a distant friend, telling the news and stuff... it's just great!
First of all, I thought it was very funny all the stories from your childhood! I laughed a lot!
I also studied in a school directed by nuns... and I always thought that they were so rough at us... and I was a little angry about it because we were not allowed to do anything fun... and we were supposed to be genius and have good grades always... and now, years after, you made me realize: "they didn't allow us to fail"... and that's so right! They didn't! We had to study hard and focus...
I had lot of classes preached by nuns and some of them were preached just for regular Catholic people...
There was only our Spanish Class that was preached by a guy from Spain... and it was so funny because he didn't speak portuguese - well, he did, but very badly! Just like my english - and there are so many words that are the same in spanish and in portuguese, but they mean different things... so me and my friends spent most time of the spanish classes giggling and making jokes... and he was fine with that! He wouldn't expel us out of class or yell at us... sometimes he even laughed with us! We liked him but he was the only one who gave us the chance to not pay attention so we toke the chance every class! I suppose we should have gone easier on him... but anyway... then when I got to High School I also went out of Catholic School and got in a regular school... Where all the teachers had the same philosophy as the Spanish Teacher... Who wants to pay attention that's fine; and who doesn't they would pretend it was fine too...
And my grades started going down too... and then I raised then up again at the senior year so I could go to a good College...
Now I'm studying Advertising and Marketing; and I'm at the 3th year!
But well, what I mean is that the things regarding school and stuff I could see so much of my life in your book... just like similar steps... and it was great! I could really connect to that!
The other thing was my Catholic parents - not so fervorous as yours - but they would also make me and my old brother go to Mass every sunday, and do the communion, and confession (I also lied at my first confession! lol Church makes everything seem so horrible that I was ashamed of saying a few little meaningless things too)...
The house with the crucifixes and statues of Virgin Mary...
Well, that religion part was another thing for me to connect!
I do believe in God and I followed the Catholics believes as long as my parents made me do it... and then I was more like those people who pick things in a menu lol Nowadays I have faith and I pray at home; I only go to church at certain dates like Christmas, New Year...
Well, I related to a lot of things and thoughts you put on your book!
And as I said, you made me feel like I knew you and your parents, and Rock and Sack and Tommy and at some level I started caring about everyone...
The funny thing is that when Jenny came in to the story; and Marley and the kids it was realy like I knew them because of all the stories on "Marley and me"... so it was like I knew what was going to happen but you told this time from another prism...
The thing that I admired about you were your goodness and willpower...
And it's funny to think that your parents were so concerned about you even when you were 30! I'm 19 and I bother when my parents give me too many advices without me asking! Parents! I guess they are all alike! No matter the time or the location!
Oh, well, I have so many things to say... continuing...
It was also good to hear more about Shaun... he was on the first chapter of "Marley and me" so I was curious about hearing more about him... great dog!
I guess Maggie is for me like Shaun was for you... my parents gave her to me when I was about 7... after I insisting and begging and asking every day... I used to make draws of me very happy with a dog and write "I'll never be happy until I own a dog!" - part of that was true - of course I was pretty happy by then... I had a very good childhood but a dog was really missing!
I would go everyday to my neightboor's house - a good lady, Elisa - who had a white poodle named Nina. I used to go play with Nina every afternoon after school... and then one day Elisa told us that Nina was pregnant... and she would give one puppy for me! But the thing is that she had promised to give a puppy for 3 other people, before she promised be... so I was praying and hoping that Nina would have 4 puppies so I could get one!
She had 8 puppies! But one were born dead... so 7 puppies! They were all very cute! I went to her house the day after they were born... and everyday after that...
There were some white puppies and some caramel puppies - the color of their father... By the time they were already eating on a pot - all the 7 of them shared the same pot; there was a little one that needed help for eating because all the other puppies would go to the pot and she was too tiny to fight for a space... and there were the biggest puppy... a caramel one... all clumsy and adorable! That was Maggie! We named her after "The Simpsons" lol
Well, no doubt she brought a lot of happiness for me and my family!
Some years later Elisa moved out of this street and I never heard from her or Nina anymore... I just know I'll always remember them and I'm eternally grateful for her for giving me a puppy - my beloved Maggie! My friend...
Well, now coming back to the book, another thing I would like to point out is the title... The Longest Trip Home... I didn't quite get it when I got the book... and then, at Part III it made so much sense... Great title!
Well, as I said, I felt I new everyone and I liked and cared about everyone... You really touched me telling about your Father - God bless his soul -; it was realy beaultifull... I knew "Maley and me" was on memoir dedicated to him... so when I started reading the book I was a little sad already... I'm sure your parents were great people and raised great kids.
I'm really sorry for your loss and I really hope, with all my heart, that your Mom is fine.
I wish all the best for you, Jenny and the kids - that are not kids anymore lol.
Well, probably I had much more to say but this is too long already!
I'll keep reading the blog! And hoping for a new book! You really are an amazing writer!

THANK YOU SO MUCH, JOHN!

Cheers!

Love,


Giovana - 19
São Paulo, Brasil

4:42 PM  
Blogger donnie said...

Dear Mr. Grogan
My wife and i have adopted 3 track rescue greygounds so we loved the story of Marley and we wish you all the best with Woodson.
Please keep us up to date on his progress. God Bless you and your family for sharing Marley with us.
Donnie and Sandie Fowler

5:47 PM  
Blogger Krisann said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,

I just finished reading Marley & Me, well actually I just stopped bawling a little bit ago. I had heard you speak at graduation here at Central Michigan University last May, and still hadn't read the book. I knew that it was more than likely going to make me cry. So, here I sat finishing the book tonight, alone in Mount Pleasant and I was really touched.

About five years ago, my beloved miniature schnauzer was put to sleep while I was hospitalized out of state. I never did cry over her, because when I returned home and found out, it seemed so small compared to my current situation. But as I read your book, I saw her in many of the snippets of Marley, just in a small fifteen pound package. She was an ever-present companion who was always there when I needed her most. And in the closing chapters of the book, I finally said my goodbyes to my constant companion.

I also had a few questions for you, though with how busy you must be I completely understand if you don't have the time to respond. I was wondering about something I read in one of your blogs (I looked to see if you had mentioned speaking at graduation.) Where is The Judge's Bench? I'm almost done at CMU, finishing up my Master's this year and kind of want to find this place. I also was wondering about the swing bridge you spoke of, where is it? It sounds like Central was a great place for you, just like it has been for me. I can't wait to share this book with everyone I know.

6:15 PM  
Blogger The Scott Family said...

My husband and I just saw your movie, Marley & Me, and absolutely LOVED it! I read the book well before and remembered everything. It touched me because as I watched some parts in the movie, it reminded me of our lives. I laughed and cried as did many other people I'm sure. We have an almost 3 year old Golden Retriever and an almost 1 yr old son. (Both of their birthdays are in Jan.) They are the joys in my life and I hope to get Molli a new furry friend in the near future, perhaps a yellow lab? :) I just wanted to say I wish you luck with the new puppy and I would love to see another book in the future about Woodson!

7:03 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

This post has been removed by the author.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Finding Myself said...

I saw the movie on Christmas Day and began reading "Marley and Me" the next day. I have never seen the movie before reading the book. The movie was great, but the book was fantastic! Your way with words gives the reader a clear picture of your life with Marley. About 7 years ago we had to put our Sasha to sleep when old age got the best of her. It was one of the most heart-wrenching acts I ever lived through, so I can sympathize with your losing Marley. I lived through 7 months long months of grieving before Lily became a part of the family. She is a gentle giant with so much patience and love that I am thankful daily for having her in my life. It is amazing how we get so much from our beloved dogs, far more then we deserve. I have had a dog in my life for the past 44 years and hope to have one until I leave this world.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Duke's Mom said...

Mr Grogran - My husband and I just saw the film yesterday, and both cried (okay, I sobbed). It was a great movie that touched our hearts...and brought back memories of when our lab Duke was a pup. From eating the kitchen floor, to counter surfing, to the 'I want him gone' fight (which I thankfully lost!), to him not leaving my side as I sobbed for hours when my Mom passed away, to how much we can't imagine our lives without him now. He is absolutely the best part of our day and your story just said it all out loud. Thank you so very much for sharing, and for continuing to share your stories with us! Sincerely, The Schaffers

6:42 AM  
Blogger epepin said...

Mr. Grogan,

I have been a fan since I read Marley and Me two years ago. We just went to see the movie, and I loved it.

I was also a little sad when I read about Woodson. I must tell you that I really admire your decision to keep him. I'm sure he will love you just as much or more than he would if he had no problem. I am also sure that you will love him as you do Gracie. If only all pet owners believed as you do that pets are not disposable, 4 million animals would not have to die each year in shelters.

Happy New Year!
Ellen

8:32 AM  
Blogger Pat Putignano said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,

I too share your pet philiosphy that a pet is not an item that can be returned if there's something wrong with it. Your Woodsen article reminds me of my Cat Shelby, who, after two life threatening medical issues [feline juvinal stomatitis and then pancreatitis] and close to $10,000 in vet bills, is still here, with me. She's a constant companion, and I do not doubt that she's greatful for me saving her life, twice, as she shows it every time I come home and she jumps on my lap and rubs her face against mine.

I also had the pleasure of watching Marley and Me at the movies, and there are no words worthy to express how much it moved me.

Regards,
Pat Putignano, Huntington, NY

9:54 AM  
Blogger Beagles 4 said...

Dear John,

I am sorry to hear about Woodson, but not sorry to hear that you are the one who loves him. I wish you all the best with going through all that needs to be done to help Woodson through his health issues. I also wish you and your family the strength and love to get through all the worries as he recovers. As already posted in here, I do believe that he was either sent by Marley or Marley reincarnated.

I am also happy to see a doctor post to help you with information on Woodson's health issues. If the good doctor is right, Woodson may recover without too many complications and no surgery by 18 months. Regardless of what becomes of Woodson, I can only say that I commend you on the choice to keep him and love him. You are a wonderful animal lover whom I highly respect. Thanks for the book Marley and Me. It was so heart warming and wonderful--my favourite book of any I have ever read.

All the best in 2009 and always to you and your family, including the 4 legged members.

12:32 PM  
Blogger aniluve2 said...

Hey Mr.Grogan!
It's aniluve2 again! Just wanted to post a comment saying that I just saw Marley and Me on the big screen today. Also, I personally don't care what the movie critics say about Marley and Me or any movie. The only critic that I listen to is me. It's not about what other people think most about something all the time. Sometimes you just have to listen to yourself. I read your blog that said the critic only gave an A- to the best movie ever, but all the way Marley and Me got straight A's on it's movie report card from me! Although it left some parts out, you can't rely on a movie to recite every page, sentence and word of the original book right, so that is why I am proud to say that I am rereading Marley and Me exactly one day after I finished it and about five hours after I saw the movie.

The best of luck with Gracie and Woodson!
aniluve2

P.S. Hopefully Woodson doesn't eat any chickens like Gracie!

5:05 PM  
Blogger dashley said...

I'm amazed and disgusted that you and your wife had to "think about it overnight" before deciding to keep Woodson. Talk about unconditional love! What's the matter, didn't you make enough money on the book and movie to pay his vet bills?

4:35 PM  
Blogger Danielle said...

Dear John and family:

You guys are the best! Woodson is in the perfect place. He is definitely sent to you by Marley. Marley will always be in my heart. I look forward to reading about the chronicles of Woodson and his challenges, and hopefully rehabilitation, in the future. Maybe it will be "Marley's Gift". God bless you, your family, Gracie, and Woodson. And of course, in loving memory of Marley. I hope that you realize just how many people you have touched, and how much we all love Marley--including me!

All the best,
Danielle

5:28 PM  
Blogger sharon said...

My and husband and I read your book, Marley and Me a couple of years ago, and today we saw the movie. The majority of the audience was adults. There must be an allergen in the theater because there was a lot of sniffling going on. Dog lovers are a special breed of people, for we know the inevitable pain of loss will someday come. For some unexplained reason, our lives are incomplete without them.
Growing up I had many dogs, all of which passed away before their time which left my heart aching, but there was always room for another dog from the pound. As an adult, my latest dog-friend was Riley, a yellow lab. One day I asked God for a sign that dogs do go to heaven. After all, God is Love, and dogs hold the record on unconditional love (did you know that dog is God spelled backwards?) The sign I asked for was that Riley would die of old age and in his sleep, that he would not be killed in an accident or have to be put down. That was a tall order since I never had a dog live to old age. Well, three years ago Riley passed away in my arms at the age of 12, and he was sleeping. That was my bitter-sweet confirmation. I know there are those who believe otherwise, but no argument will change my heart.
Thank you and your family for sharing your experiences with your dogs. Woodson does look like a beautiful dog and I know what you’re saying about Gracie acting like a puppy again…once a puppy, always a puppy.
By the way, my husband just pulled out the book Marley and Me and it has been chewed; imagine that.
Sincerely,
Sharon Carlton

8:50 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I first heard your book on tape during a long drive in which I laughed most of the way. And at times I could barely see for the tears. Since then, I've shared the book with so many friends. The movie was delightful. Once again, you touched me with your story of Woodson. You see, just after being diagnosed with M.S., I found out that my dog had hip dysplasia. The breeder was willing to take her back but I knew that we must have been meant for each other. So we both have some physical limitations but we trained and managed to get our first obedience title. We are a team, albeit an imperfect one. I think we are well matched. We wish you and Woodson the best.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Beagles 4 said...

Dashley:

Do you have to be so negative as to criticize John for having to think a whole night before making a decision? Sometimes things have to be thought out before a hasty decision is made. If you read the book and/or watched the movie "Marley and Me", you will see how much this family does show unconditional love just by how much they put into Marley, with vet bills, etc to keep him healthy. This also includes the patience to deal with his behavior. As for money made from book sales or movies, that is really none of your business. I would be curious what you would do in the same situation, especially if you didn't have the funds. I am a dog lover, but only have so much finances or external contacts for help. Would you consider me showing unconditional love if I couldn't financially look after my pet with a serious, expensive health issue/ or knew anyone who could help me? Are you only judging John because you think he has financial means? Thinking before leaping isn't going to hurt. There are issues to consider for the sake of all involved -- family and pet.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Sharon Seifert said...

Dear John,
I too have a special needs dog. At the young age of 6 months, my golden retriever, Cash, was diagnosed with elbow and hip dysplasia. Being a single mom of two, his $10,000 surgery was going to cause me a serious hardship. My best friend told me to just get a new dog, that no dog is worth getting in debt over. I sure hope nothing serious ever happens to either one of her dogs or they will get a one way ticket to the pound. Well, I never once took her advice into consideration. Cash had already been a part of our family for 6 months and there was no way I was going to abandon him. I told my friend that when I adopted Cash I took on the commitment of a responsible dog owner and it's kind of like a marriage, "till death do us part".
15 months later and a new maxed out line of credit, Cash couldn't be happier. I was thinking we should change his name to "Credit". The surgeon told me that as soon as he woke up from the anesthisia he was his ol' rambunctious self again, oblivious of the casts and bandages on his legs. He will never be 100% normal but his quality of life has not suffured one bit. He has brought me so much joy and stood by me though my darkest hours, truely a man's(or woman's)best friend. My stomach turns at the thought of ever getting rid of him!

10:41 AM  
Blogger fandd said...

You are all angels. Some people were put on earth to care for the "perfectly awful" animals. I think God is teaching us all a lesson in love and acceptance. To John, I love your stories, keep telling them!

11:34 AM  
Blogger kay said...

I just wanted to tell you how we love Marley who reminds us of our wonderful Obi who at the age of 4 became unable to get up, get down, climb the stairs. He basically became an invalid as a result of dysplasia. With the help of our wonderful vet, Obi was put on a dog food called Hills Prescription Diet j/d and within a month was walking with ease and within four month he appeared never to have had the ailment. We are so grateful to have our wonderful Obi back and in high spirits as he roams over the farm chasing rabbits and squirrels. He flies into the truck bed without so much as a limp, gimp or whimper. You would never know he had suffered so much a year ago. I'm glad to read that Woodsey is getting great vet care and is getting along. I just wanted you to hear our story and what worked for Obi.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Cara said...

I read "Marley and Me" in a stuffy little room in an ancient monastery in a tiny village on the border of the Czech Republic and Poland. I was there to accompany and assist my husband, who was delivering a paper at an international conference on paraconsistent logic. I was little use to anyone as I finished that book, so caught up was I in your story and its sad, sad ending.

Tonight, I saw the movie--- in a theatre full of sniffling, sobbing Canadians, just after New Year's, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Worlds apart--- same story--- same reaction. What a gifted writer you are, and what a compassionate soul. I am glad you can give Woodson the care he needs--- and that you know that dogs are not disposable, like tissues. Thank you for that, and for sharing your stories.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Kelly Tourdot said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,

Thank you for sharing your story about Woodson. He sounds like a wonderful boy who got the right people to take care of him.

My Weimaraner who is now almost 3 years old was diagnosed with allergies to all meat products when he was five months old. He was scratching at the sores on his legs and belly and the vet told us that he had severe food allergies. The only option for us was to get perscription meat free dog food, which at the time was about $50 a bag. His diet is supplemented by fresh fruit and vegetables, ranging from strawberries to green beans. Despite the cost, it's worth it. He's a good source of entertainment especially when stealing underwear and shoes, and a great exercise companion.

I hope Woodson's recovery is successful and you have many more years with him.

8:23 PM  
Blogger 4theluvofdog said...

Sorry to hear about Woodson. It makes me angry though. At 15 weeks old any reputable breeder would have noticed the puppy acting different and never would have sent it to be a working dog. All this breeder wanted was to get their puppies in a movie and make more money that way. I wish the AHA did not award this movie the "Monitored Outstanding" rating. This reminds me of the movie with the sled dog retrievers that were way too young and ended up getting sick and dying during the making of the film. They need to stop making puppy movies altogether if they can't find some decent breeders.

12:12 PM  
Blogger stacey74 said...

Dear John,

I just finished reading Marley and Me tonight. I LOVED your book! I have not seen the movie yet, but my 11 year old daughter and 58 year old mother have, and they very much enjoyed it.

Your gift of love to your new dog, Woodson, is quite the example of the uncondtional love that our dogs give us. They don't care if we have a birth defect or other defect, they still love us for us! He is a beautiful pup, Woodson!

And of course, so is Marley! I understand that you may not read this, as you've received so many e-mails, blogs, etc., but I would like to ask if you still miss Marley? I bet that's a yes. He's irreplaceable. I just love the one picture of Marley ( in your book, with the caption under him saying, "We swore sometimes Marley knew what we were thinking." I'm sure that he did!

Thanks so much for sharing Marley's story with me, and for your love of our brother and sister canines.

Many Blessings,
Stacey

4:50 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

This post has been removed by the author.

6:06 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I loved your book, but have yet to see the movie. I saw a picture of you and Woodson on the internet, and knew (part of) the story before I read the words...that your family had been unable to resist one of those wonderful Marley movie babes...

I am heartbroken about Woodson's hips. This seems so unfair, and yet I do believe the Universe sets things up in a certain way...No doubt Woodson was meant to be with you. You embody the best of what we can be for our animals...family. I look forward to hearing more of the story yet to be written...Woodson and Us! Joy to you all!

6:38 PM  
Blogger Megan Castillo said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,
My Lab, Parker (who shares many characteristics with Marley- both the book and the movie touched me) had bilateral femoral head ostectomies at just over one year of age. At 9 months, he was diagnosed with horrific hip dysplasia; one hip was already completely dislocated. Like Woodson, he came from an AKC breeder and both of his parents had "clean hips". Already much to attatched to return Parker to the breeder, I consulted several orthopedic specialists. Full recovery took almost a year, but now age 9 Parker leads a completely normal life. He swims, fetches (although he too is a "Labrador Evader") and loves life. I would consider this procedure for Woodson while he is young- I have never regretted making the choice for Parker!

7:25 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Dearest John,

After reading your blog about Woodson I felt inspired to post the story about my pooch, Duchess. So, I did on your "shared a story" page. Now I write you here becuase I want to thank you for your generosity with your pets.

I volunteer with an animal rescue in California that takes dogs like Woodson into our special needs program and adopts them to families like yours, who will be able to lather them in the love and care they deserve and require. My husband and I actually foster many of these dogs and cats (we recently fostered a blind cat who had no eyes and who had birthed six kittens and was recovering from malnurishment...she was abandoned by her owners).

Thank you for not giving up on Woodson. So many people see animals as disposable peices of furniture that if less than perfect are discarded by the curbside. I am happy to know that one more pooch will live his life despite his imperfections. After all, dogs are people too, right?!

May you and your family build many lifetimes of memories with him.

Sincerely,
Andrea Stuart
andreastu@gmail.com

3:54 PM  
Blogger Daniela McKee said...

Your article made me cry (as did you wonderful books!). You and your wife are wonderful people who truly understand what it means to have a pet enter your life "for life" - You stuck with Marley even though he was a challenging dog, and you are honoring your committment to Woodson. You deserve all the success that "Marley & Me" has brought you - and all the love your dogs have given you.

4:08 PM  
Blogger ~*Kayla*~ said...

Oh! That is so precious!! I just got done reading Marley & Me, and tomorrow a friend and I are going to see it in theaters. But reading this made me think back to Marley! I know what it's like to loose someone so dear to you. My dog, Blue, died over a year ago from heart worms. I was so devastated that I couldn't say goodbye. But he was hurting, and now he's not. And I still cry for long hours over him.

2:45 PM  
Blogger debbie said...

Hi Mr. Grogan,

I just finished reading Marley and Me. Wow. Touched my heart. You are so right on about dogs and their unconditional love. Humans can learn everything you need to know about life through them.

I fell in love with your family and Marley. I have to say I was also very touch on what a good soul you are as you gave back that unconditional love. More people should be like you.

You have given a gift to other pet owners I believe. I have a crazy australian shepard and have been at my wits end.

After reading Marley and Me, I appreciate him ever more. Thank you!!

God Bless you and your family.

Sincerely,

Debbie Doman

5:39 PM  
Blogger Henrique... said...

Olá Sr. John Grogan.
Sou do Brasil, meu nome é Henrique. Adorei o livro Marley e Eu, é realmente impressionante o amor que sentiam pelo Marley, a ponto de lerem artigos e pesquisarem sobre labradores! Obrigado por comparilhar essa bonita história conosco!
Mais um fã!

Henrique.

5:50 PM  
Blogger micmgrace said...

On behalf of all those owners (and shelters) who have special needs animals, THANK YOU! You have the ability and the means to educate the public that living with a special needs animal is not the end of the world - challenging, yes, but there are so many options out there.

My husband had to say good-bye to Sausha, his golden retriever at age 1 because she was in tremendous pain from severe hip dysplasia. Surgery was not an option for her.

Our lab/chow mix, Duke, has torn both ACLs within 6 months of each other. Rehab was long and drawn out, but he runs like a nut at the dog park, walks daily, takes joint/cartilage meds, and knows when he has to stop and rest. He just needs to learn to quit propelling himself over the back of the couch!

Our lab, Emma, has occular skeletal dysplasia which causes dogs to either be blind at birth or go blind at a young age, can cause hip dysplasia and created deformed elbows. We are on joint medication and monitor weight. At age 5, she has a cataract in her right eye and lost half of her sight in her left eye. Being blind is not the end of the world for her. Her nose more than makes up for what she cannot see. That and having three other seeing dogs to follow. A few of her siblings have had one or both hips replaced because of the hereditary disorder.

Our other lab reminds me so much of Marley. Everything goes in her mouth! She doesn't always chew things up, but seeks attention as much as possible. Our house rule is simple - pick things up! She had a rough start to life. Since adopting her from a shelter, she has turned up highly allergic to the environment as well as foods. It's a constant monitoring situation to know what she's eaten to avoid battling yeast infections.

Our golden retriever, Belle, has hypothyroidism. Our 19 year old cat, Zach, has hyperthyroidism, but is still going strong. Thankfully, our other three cats, DiDi, Shadow, Copper, are all healthy! It makes for a crazy world in which we live, but I would not trade it for anything.

It takes special people to live with special needs animals. It is not for everyone. It's not always meant to easy, and may not always be inexpensive. But you see the world in a different way, and you do everything possible when you love them that much.

Woodson found himself an outstanding family to share life's adventures with. We look forward to hearing more about his progress.

Michele
Altoona, IA

9:57 AM  
Blogger TimberWolfie said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,

Well, what can I say? Many things. I have just finished reading your memoir and I must say I cried... a bit. Ok I admit it, a lot! It was very touching. I walked into a book store one day, intending to buy New Moon and walked out with The Longest Trip Home in hand. I have also read Marley & Me and so has my mum; she loved it, considering she is not much of an animal lover. We both cried when we took my friend to see the movie. She tried to keep a stiff upper lip, but she admitted she cried a bit. That book gave me inspiration when I brought it in a mini bookstore in Changi Airport, Singapore where we were living at the time. We were making a trip back to Australia, where I was born. I read it all through the trip. I laughed and I cried, thinking how distraught I would be if we had to put my little dog Button down. Button isn't as mischevious as Marley, but he can cause some trouble! Just days after we brought him, he ran away - three days before Christmas 2006. I was a wreck as you could imagine - my first chance as a dog owner at the age of 11, and I blew it before it had really begun. I raced around the streets, desperate to find him. My mum told my dad they had to buy another dog; my dad thought she had absolutely lost the plot. Lose the 1000 dollar dog and go buy another one. Makes sense, doesn't it? My mum explained there were presents under the tree meant for the dog. Dad snapped back saying what if they found him? Mum replied that they would sell the other dog and keep Button. This went on for hours until we eventually found him. He was alright thank God, and we were so grateful to the people who found him. Oh, did I forget to mention that this was dad's fault? He left the gate open while some people were delivering the new fridge. Typical of him. Since his first escape trick, Mr. Button has become Houdini and has escaped a few more times. But there is a flaw in his trick, and all fingers point to dad, who is always to blame.

We are now currently living back in Australia and I am attending the same school I had all those years before. High school is next for me and I am nervous - Yikes! Button is pursuing the life of a lap dog, and is at my feet as I type this in his usual position - on his back, feet in the air, eyes closed and breathing heavily. I have wanted to live in Florida for some time, and the opportunity arose a few years back. It didn't work for school however unfortunately. I am still hoping to be a dentist in Florida, a lawyer on Wall Street New York, a newsreader or a journalist - I haven't decided.

Say hello to Mrs. Grogan, Patrick, Conor and Colleen for me. Don't forget to give my love to Gracie and Woodson for me - they sound like two very special dogs. Happy New Year!

12:29 AM  
Blogger Darlena said...

I'm typing with bandaged hands because of my maniacal, rowdy canine crew. I know the wholehearted, unconditional love of a dog, and I also know the pain of a dog. Quite literally.

A couple of my dogs are of the special needs variety. I can tell you, though, their love, too, is special.

I hope you write often about Woodsy. As life unfolds, his will be a wonderful story worth sharing.

Thanks, Grogan Family, for seeing the perfection even in the imperfect. Marley would be so proud.

8:11 AM  
Blogger Diana Zipperer said...

Dear John,
God know what he is doing putting Marley and Woodson in your life.

I just saw the movie Marley and Me and I just loved it

Diana

10:11 AM  
Blogger vrw said...

Like John, I just read Marley and Me so that I would know the true story.It's an amazing book- I laughed so hard I couldn't keep reading, and cried so hard I couldn't see the page.

I'm glad Woodson has found a home with you. I was just wondering though about a puppy you mentioned at the end of Marley and Me, Lucky? I see you have a dog named Gracie so I guess you didn't get Lucky.

Thanks agian for your wonderful book; can't wait to read the "prequel"

6:15 PM  
Blogger Deirdre said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,

A little under two years ago we lost our lab/golden to brain cancer. After several months without a dog, I finally visited the local animal shelter. One of the dogs, Lucy, had been brought to the shelter weeks earlier with a badly healed injury that had left one hip "frozen".

Because Lucy was otherwise healthy, bright, and less than a year and a half old, the shelter called on one of the veterinarians who volunteer their services to take a look and see what could be done for her. The solution was some unpronounceable surgery that contained the word "osteotomy". In short, the "ball" at the top of Lucy's left rear leg was removed and the bare end of the bone was wrapped with muscle tissue that had been "borrowed" from her leg to form a cushion against the hip socket, with the hope that that mass of muscle tissue would harden into scar tissue to form a new "ball" for the joint.

When I met Lucy the shaved area on her hip had not grown out and the incisional scar from the surgery could be seen quite clearly. She also had a pronounced limp and was not placing her left rear foot firmly on the ground. I was assured that all she needed was love and exercise and that she should recover "fairly well".

I took her outside to the shelter's play area and we got acquainted, and this little dog (50 pounds or so of some kind of Australian Shepherd mixed, I suspected, with Beagle) captivated me with her obvious intelligence, spunk and cleverness. On impulse, I inquired about the dog in the cage next to Lucy's, and "Abby" joined us outside. The two got along well, obviously familiar playmates. I adopted them both, and with another dog to romp with at will in our enormous back yard, Lucy healed very quickly and now is limp-free and even capable of extraordinary vertically leaps! She seems perfectly unimpaired.

There is great hope for Woodson! Believe it! You've already made the most important decision: to love him no matter what. But modern medicine can make an enormous difference for him, as it has for my Lucy. Best to you both!

7:53 PM  
Blogger nubie66 said...

Mr. Grogan,
I just purchased "marley & me" on Thursday I'm DONE! Fantastic book, even coming from me a true dog lover! I have been through having my own marley(an abondoned Akita with hip displasia) and had the honor of having him for 11 years (seizuires,fatty cysts and all) After 9/11 "REX" was even worse (kinda like MARLEYS last year) I decided to get another rescue dog, a boxer /pit bull mix (yes, pit bull!) REx took to him & he lived another 15 months before he could not bear it any more. "nubie" aka ANUBIS is unbelieveable! He is about 9 now, and is quite a character & GENTLEMAN! I have alwyas wanted to writ, and you have inspired me!
(i haven't seen the movie yet, but considering I NEVER like going to the movies..this one I'M seeing! Best or BEAST of luck with you career!

7:58 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Our golden at 1 year of age couldn't hardly get up. Put him on meds at first but didn't want to keep him on drugs. Orthopedic foundation of america dosen't normaly register less than 2 years of age but he was registered at 1 year. My vet said he was her worst hip case in her entire practice. We started accupunture every week faithfully and got him off meds and now @ 6 years of age gets accupuncture whenever needed. We also had a few chiropractic adjustments. Please find a reputable vet accupunturist and chiro and try. You wouldn't beleive the results. Have to give a little time and be faithful with it.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Not so little Woman said...

Thank you for sharing this story, John. You are so right. Some dogs are just put on this earth to love us. Besides, think about the magic way life works. Woodson came to your life through a movie. Had he not been cast, he perhaps would have had the bad luck of being euthanized once his condition was known. By coming into the movie, he came into your family and into a new lease on life. Many hugs to him.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Callan Green said...

Hi John,

I saw your post/the article about Woodson and am happy to hear that his dietary regimen has been successful in alleviating his pain thus far. I noticed that the USA Today article stated that Woodson would never be able to hunt or hike or go on long walks and wanted to see if you had heard of another option that could help him do all that and more. Vets all over the nation have been using adult stem cells, taken directly from the injured dog's own fat, to help even the most severe cases of hip dysplasia heal again.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I do the PR for the company who developed the technology, Vet-Stem, but am writing to you because I heard about your story and truly believe this could help your pup. The technology just launched for canines this year, and already more than 1,000 dogs have already been treated. Honestly the results have been remarkable. We hear story after story of dogs who were going to have to be euthanized and are now, once again, running, jumping, hiking, hunting, competing and more.

If you are interested, you can talk to your vet or find a certified vet in your area you by checking here: http://www.vet-stem.com/locatevet/smallanimal.php.

I've also included the links to an article that ran USA Today, as well as a quick video about the therapy. These can describe how the process works in a little better detail for you.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-02-12-dog-arthritis_N.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8ZUKNE69tg

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions and the best of luck to you and Woodson!

-Callan
Callan@baileygardiner.com

11:01 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

Hello Mr. Grogan,

My wife and I just saw "Marley and Me". We were the last ones to leave the theater, with tears still in our eyes as we got up to exit. The movie spoke to us so much about our own lives and how having a dog becomes an integral part of our existence and fills our lives with more joy.

May God bless Gracie, Woodson, and your entire family!

Paul Esguerra

9:20 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,
I throughly enjoyed reading "Marley & Me", until the end. I know he was going to die, but why did you board him, when you know that his stomach twisted from the tension of it? I know it was just a matter of time when his end would come, but why did you have to leave him so near his time? I read the book two weeks ago, and I still get very upset when I think about how insensitive you and your family were to Marley.

1:05 PM  
Blogger nitxutxu_costa said...

Hello John!
My name is Nicole and I have 11 years ... well, you're definitely a good writer, I just read Marley and Me and cried like a baby! I have a poodle named Pitty and she is with 3 years. She is my first dog and I know she will be saved in my memory forever. As I read the book, I love the Marley with you and cried as if he were mine!
I'm sure that as Marley, Wodson dog will be a memorable and very nice too!

Congratulations! You deserve!


Nicole Costa - 11 years
Piracicaba - Brazil

4:17 PM  
Blogger brandie22 said...

hey there, Marley and Me is the best book i have ever read!! its very touching. do you plan on writting any more books about your other dogs? i really think you should they would be really goo books!

10:44 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I have not seen the movie yet but I have just finished your book. Talk about waterworks! Thank you for sharing your life with us it was a pleasure to read. I think Woodson is going to be great. Im a sucker for the runts and unwanted. I always seem to be pulled towards them. It's somewhat of a joke for my family. But I personally think they are the best...somewhat more thankful. I cant wait to see the movie!

3:29 PM  
Blogger Janine said...

You should write a book about these two new pups you have. Thank you for the story about Marley.
It is so sad when their lives come to an end. My almost 11 month old standard poodle has some of Marley's quirks. His final days remind me of the final days of my springer spaniel Coco who's hips also gave out on him.
Their lives are just too short.
Your humor in the book had me in hysterics.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Cris Prates said...

It's amazing how your able to touch ours hearts as much as it seems that "ordinary" life events touch yours. It's impossible not to remain your huge fan, first because you can write extremely well showing how beautiful the Englsih language may be if used artically as you do, but specially because you are a gifted person and doesn't worry about sharing the most lovely feelings and impressions with us readers. Congratulations for keeping Woodson.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Quelinha said...

I don't know if you are going to read my comment but I hope Yes! I have read Marley and me and then I saw a few weeks ago the movie and I both love the two of them. I love dogs and I have my own West hisghland white terrier, I just hope that your next book will be about Gracie and Woodson and how all your family are lifing this new life in Pensylvania!

7:06 AM  
Blogger Marquete Williams said...

Hi John!

My husband and I watched Marley and Me last night. We laughed and smiled and cried. What a beautiful and touching chronicle of your life, John! Certain scenes bringing back wonderful memories of our beloved yellow lab, Spike. Unfortunatley, last Oct08 we had to put our boy down(due to respitory and his hind legs giving out on him). He wasn`t even ten. We miss him terribly.

I must say, your Marley was certainly rumbuntious, as well as loyal and lovable. Wow. I admired how You and Jenny showed amazing patient and humor through it all.

Though Marley brought great joy and life lessons; I hope your life chronicle sends a loud and clear message to some people in the world, that NO MATTER what, if our pets are born with a defect like Woodson, develop a bad hip after an horrible jury like our Spikers, or an overly active spirit like Marley, that we just don`t give up on them, or give them away. We love them unconditionally.

And helping our beloved animals feel better and comfortable is something we naturally do. No doubt you`ve have heard of omega-3 being excellent for dogs. I always knew oils (3,6&9)were essential in dogs and human diet too. We gave Spike his in his high quality dog food, but surprisingly found he (as well as us) were still deficient in omega-3!

(Google) Hemp-Oil (without THC), is VERY HIGH in omega-3 and the benefits are fantastic for dogs, cats and US too! Good for arthritus (hind-legs), heart, MS, circulatory, plus many many other benefits!!! I wish I would known about this amazing natural product earlier (found about it weeks before Spike passed).

My husband and I are grateful for the time we had with our precious boy.

Take Care, John and Jenny, and ALL the fam. You guys are the GREATEST!

Marquete

3:53 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

You are really great author. When I had read your book in Russian I wasn't touched but in English it was affected me. I didn't think before that translation could eat the "heart" of the book.

Thanks,

Peter,
Moscow,
Russia

5:29 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Dear Mr. Grogan,
I am so glad you found Woodson. I knew that you would keep him. I've had Labs since I've been married and they've been just like all the other stories I've read on your blog and great book(crazy, goofy, but undoubtedly full of love). We have two Labs. Our Yellow Lab, Zoey, is nine and the queen of the house. Our Black Lab, Bella, is just over two and probably our nuttiest one we've had. Our house was Bella's third house in just a short time. Her first house, her owner had to go on leave and no one could take her. Her second home was in an apartment complex. With no where to run off all that energy, she quickly remained outdoors on a tie-out. Soon enough, her "owners" gave her up. We got word from a friend that her son had just gotten Bella from the "owners" and was looking for a good home for her. Well, we visited her and knew by looking at her that she'd fit in fine. My wife and I believe that she has gone through a lot in her short life, especially separation anxiety issues to the point of seeking medical advice. Even though we knew that Bella could be a handful, the look in her eyes told the whole story. One of undying, unconditional love and loyalty.
Thank you so much for your stories. I'm a teacher and have read the kid's version of Marley and Me to my students. It was very difficult to read them the last chapters, but thankfully, I read the story before so I was prepared. They loved the story. Always a question at hand or just talking about it means a lot to them. I'm reading your book from your newspaper articles and next The Long Journey Home. Looking forward to more great laughs, inspirational moments, and rehashing memories.

Take care,
Brian

8:10 PM  
Blogger Elena said...

Caro Sig. Grogan, sono Elena e le scrivo da Siracusa, Sicilia,Italia.

Ho letto il suo articolo su Woodson e sono felice per lei e la sua famiglia per aver deciso di avere un'altro cane.

Marley sarà sempre Marley, ma Woodson riempirà la vostra vita di nuovi significati, nuove esperienze, nuove storie.

Nutro un profondo rispetto per lei che è dalla parte della tutela dei cani.

Vi auguro un vita piena di soddisfazioni con il vostro Woodson che scriverà nei vostri cuori nuovi ricordi sempre meravigliosi.

Con rispetto.

Elena

11:24 AM  
Blogger mysplashinghershy said...

dear john
i know what its like loosing a very loved dog... i know u get 2 a point where u think your indestructebl but then your dog gets sick crippled or pases away and iv had 2 dogs pass away very close together my dog splash had pups when she was 2 i guess and i kept a very sweet little ball of fluff her name was daisy i thought we where invinsible until they were poisend by antifreeze a drug that people put on windos & windshilds that is highly pousinous to dogs cats possums anything realy and it devestated me i cried for almost a year and 1/2 over my 4 1/2 year old and my 3year old dogs splash and daisy.. but over time you learn to coap with your lause and think of all the good times u spent together...

must luv marley,
cheyenne a girl who knows lause

6:19 PM  
Blogger Wormwood said...

Mr. Grogan,

As a future veterinarian, and fellow dog lover, I would just like to say you are quite an inspiration, sir.

12:40 AM  

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