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Words from a wallflower

Photo: Taelar Pollmann · The Sentry

Lola, Marlee, and Me

My family always has a dog in our home. They become members of our family, sitting next to us on the couch while whining at any animal that comes on the TV. They give us excited howls when we come home and offer their rain-soaked stuffed toys at our feet. We make sacrifices for them, contorting ourselves in the oddest ways in our own beds to ensure that they are comfortable even when they have dug holes under our backyard fence.

This past weekend, my family had to say goodbye to our 10-year-old Goldendoodle, Lola, leaving our other dog, Marlee, a Golden Retriever, confused. She was one of our first family dogs that I had around for most of my life, and it was painstaking to not be home. The purpose of this column is not to focus on her being sick. There’s much more to her than that. 

The movie Marley and Me says, “A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he’ll give you his. How many people can you say that about? How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?”

We got Lola from a farm in Iowa. After a long flight to Nevada, she was mistakenly put with the rest of the suitcases and took a ride on the carousel in the airport. She sat in unclaimed baggage until we realized where she was. My step-brother and I sat with her in the back of the car, as she was still shaking from the ordeal.

Her fear did not last long though. We had to zip tie her kennel shut while we were at work and school because she kept escaping and setting off the house alarm (she escaped again even with the zip ties). In one of her adventures in the house, she managed to swallow an entire pair of my underwear, leaving me to find them intact in our backyard a few days later. And while she was outside, she joined Marlee in ripping up the sprinklers and sprinting across the patio with them. 

She became more tame with age, wishing for anyone to hold her paw after she persistently swatted at them with it and pretending to play with Marlee while just squeaking toys by herself. 

My dogs do make me feel extraordinary, and I am fortunate to have had these special girls around since elementary school. 

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