Marley and Me - chapter 1
The New Puppy
My name is John Grogan and I love dogs. When I was ten years old, my father gave me my first dog. I called him Shaun.
Shaun was my best friend. He went everywhere with me and he was very obedient. When I called him, he came to me. He played with me and he walked next to me without a leash. In the car, he sat next to me quietly.
After many years, Shaun died. He was fourteen years old. By that time, I wasn’t a boy; I was a man. I had my first job.
Shaun was a great dog. I wanted to get another dog, but it had to be as wonderful as Shaun.
Some years later, I moved to Florida and married Jenny. Jenny and I had jobs with newspapers. We were very happy. We were young and in love, and life was wonderful.
One day, I bought a plant for Jenny. It was very large, with beautiful white flowers. Jenny loved it – maybe too much. Every day, she gave it water. In the end, the plant got sick and died.
Some days later, I woke up early. Jenny wasn’t in bed. I found her at the table with a newspaper. She had a red pen in her hand.
“Jenny,” I said, “what are you doing?”
She showed me the newspaper. It was open at a page of ads. “Look at this, John,” she said.
I saw an ad with a big red line under it:
Beautiful Labrador puppies. Five weeks old.
“I can’t forget about that plant,” Jenny said. “Why couldn’t I look after a plant? I only had to give it water, but I killed it.” She looked sad, but then she smiled. “I can’t look after a plant, but maybe I can look after a dog. And later, maybe I’ll be ready for a baby.”
I thought about that. Jenny and I wanted to have children one day, but we loved dogs, too. Our little house was a good place for a dog. We lived near a park and near a beach. And the house had a big yard with lots of trees.
“OK,” I said. I put my arms around Jenny. “Let’s get a dog.”
So some days later, we drove to the address in the ad. The house was in the middle of some woods. A woman came to the door and there was a beautiful yellow Labrador with her.
“I’m Lori,” said the woman. “And this is Lily. She’s the puppies’ mother.”
“Where’s the father?” I asked.
“Oh,” said Lori. “Sammy Boy? He’s-er-around here somewhere.” Then she said quickly, “Do you want to see the puppies?”
Lori took us into a room behind the kitchen. There were a lot of newspapers on the floor, and a large box by the wall. In the box were nine yellow puppies.
“Oh!” cried Jenny. “Aren’t they beautiful?”
We sat on the floor with the puppies. One little puppy really liked us. He climbed up our shirts and looked into our eyes.
“The puppies are $375 each,” said Lori. “But you can have that puppy for $350.”
I stood up and turned away from the puppies. Then I turned back quickly and shouted loudly. The other puppies ran away. But the little puppy ran to me and climbed over my shoes.
“That’s our puppy,” Jenny laughed.
I held him in front of my face. I looked at him and he looked at me. He had very large brown eyes. I gave him to Jenny, and she held him, too.
“I think he likes us,” I said.
We paid Lori for him.
“Come back for him in three weeks,” she said. “He’ll be eight weeks old, so you can take him then.”
We thanked Lori and said goodbye. On our way to the car, I put my arm around Jenny.
“Isn’t it wonderful?” I said. “We got our dog.”
“Yes,” she said. “I can’t wait to bring him home.”
Suddenly, we heard a loud noise in the woods. Something ran out of the trees-something large and yellow. It was a big Labrador. But this dog was very different from Lily. This dog was wild and dirty. It had a crazy look in its eyes. It ran quickly past us, and around the back of the house.
“I think,” I said slowly, “that’s Dad.”
Jenny and I tried to think of a name for our puppy, but each of us liked different names.
One morning, we heard a song by Bob Marley, the Jamaican singer, on the radio. Bob Marley was dead, but people played his music everywhere in Florida. Jenny and I liked his music, too.
Suddenly, at the same time, we shouted, “Marley!”
“That’s it!” I cried. “That’s his name. Marley!” Jenny smiled. Some days later, Jenny’s sister called her from Boston.
“We’re visiting Disney World next week with the children,” she said. “Would you like to come with us?”
Jenny wanted to go to Disney World very much. “But I won’t be here when Marley comes home,” she said.
“That’s OK,” I said. “I’ll go and get Marley.”
A week later, Jenny left for Orlando. That evening after work, I drove to Lori’s house. Marley was a very large puppy now.
“He eats a lot,” said Lori.
“Are you ready for your new home, Marley?” I said. I used his name for the first time and it felt right.
Marley sat next to me in the car. He tried to climb on me, but each time, he fell back on the floor. In the end, he climbed up and sat on me. He wagged his tail happily.
When we got home, I took off his leash. Marley began to sniff. He went around the house and sniffed everything. Then he sat back and looked at me with his large brown eyes.
I could read Marley’s thoughts: This place is great. But where are my brothers and sisters?
I took Marley to the garage, next to the house. It was a warm, dry room.
“Marley,” I said. “This is your room now.”
I put some newspapers down on the floor. I put some playthings down, too. Then I put some water in a bowl and made a bed from a large box.
“You’re going to sleep here,” I said. I put Marley into the box. He looked sadly up at me. I went back into the house and closed the door. I stood and listened. I could hear nothing. Then I heard a cry – and then another cry. The cries got louder and louder.
When I opened the door again, Marley stopped crying. I petted him for some time. Then I left again and closed the door. Marley started to cry again.
I was very tired, so I went to my bedroom. My bedroom wasn’t near the garage, but I could hear Marley’s cries. I felt sorry for him. His family wasn’t there.
After I got into bed, I listened to Marley’s cries for half an hour. Then I got up and went back to the garage. Marley stopped crying and wagged his tail. I carried his box into my bedroom and put it on the floor next to my bed. Then I got into bed and put my hand down into the box.
Some minutes later, Marley was asleep. I slept, too.
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