Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog Marley and Me discussion


289 views
Difficult Dogs

Comments Showing 1-45 of 45 (45 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Sandy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:56AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sandy This book was an excellent study of how this family stuck with this "difficult" dog. Made me laugh and cry..great story even if exaggerated at times?


message 2: by Stickinsect (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:11AM) (new)

Stickinsect I thought that the author needed to go to a properly run dog training program where he would have learned that most dog training problems are the owner not the dog. He struck me as an irresponsible dog owner.

I also found his attitude selfish. Marley's behaviour was unacceptable and the author's acceptance was unfair to to both the dog and the humans he encountered.

Dogs well trained are a joy and provide so many benefits to humankind but some people are not suited to owning a dog. Dog ownership must be a win win situation. The dog must win and so must he owner.


message 3: by Georgia (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:12AM) (new)

Georgia This book was refreshing because it showed the breed as it often is Wild. I was glad he didn't give up on the dog.


message 4: by Amanda (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:14AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Amanda I was also glad that he didn't give up on the dog, but many things about his laid back style of dog ownership bugged me. Especially at the end when the poor dog was struggling to get around and he just observed and mused about it. Hello? There are ways to aid older dogs and make their lives more comfortable.


message 5: by Kendra (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:35AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kendra Having owned several well-trained dogs, an a few not so well-trained ones, I can tell you that sometimes, the ones that are wild are the most interesting and enjoyable. Not to say that well-behaved ones aren't nice, but the wild ones make better stories.

Anyway, sometimes I think it isn't always the owner's fault and I think John did a pretty good job handling Marley--he probably doesn't regret a moment of it!


message 6: by Kristine (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:41AM) (new)

Kristine I read Marley and thought it was OK... kind of a basic story. My sixth graders liked it. I don't mean that in a snotty way- it's a nice read. It just didn't have any new or enlightening ideas in it.
I did DIE laughing when Marley was in that movie!!! What a great, great scene.

Have you all read "A Dog Year: Twelve Months, Four Dogs, and Me" by Jon Katz?

It's short, but I thought the author had a more complex view point than Grogan. I got a couple of good laughs out of it, too. The dogs in it were cool- they were difficult like Marley, but not in such a goofy way- they were clearly rescue dogs, who, as well all know, have some... INTERESTING ways! Like my hound Ruby.


message 7: by Leslie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:24PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leslie I am a cat person, but I do like dogs. However, I do not like misbehaved dogs. I could not warm up to Marley. He reminded me a lot of my mother's dog, who absolutely will not mind me.


Diane St. Ours Granted, there were many, many ways that Marley
could have been trained better.
I have worked at an animal shelter for many years, and althought 99% of dogs respond well
to constant training...every now and then you get the incorrigible one! No matter what you do, it's like beating your head against a wall... they just don't get it!


message 9: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly I love dogs so much. Sometimes it is the owners fault but I think the way he was taught to pick out the dog made all the difference. All dogs have problems including my four dogs. It is like beating your head against the wall to get anything good from them. They may be a pain but they are SO much fun to have.


message 10: by Jackie (last edited Jun 07, 2008 11:06PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jackie I loved this book. Being a owner of two labs, you really need to understand how a lab's brain works. Lab's are hard headed. But the most lovable dogs ever. They needs lots, and I do mean lots of your time. It's the breed.

Right after reading the book, we had to have our English Pointer put down. So Marley was so close to my heart at that time. I knew I was not the only one who could feel the lost of a dog.

Great book, for those of you who love, and I mean love, labs. I guess you need to know a lab to truly understand the authors feeling about his dog.


Katie I loved this book also, and i'm not even a dog lover. It also made me laugh and cry and i really enjoyed it.


Rachel When I was younger, my parents adopted a golden retriever puppy that is just like Marley its uncanny. She loved going to walks, but being on a leash was always a bit of a surprise. She hated being isolated when we were gone (she was claustrophobic) and she would eat Clementine oranges like Marley and the melons. She did not wag her tail, she wagged her entire body. She was fiercely loyal. She protected us with her undying love.

I started reading this book as I got the news that I would be putting my loyal best friend to sleep later in the week. Towards the end I couldn't stop crying. But she knows she is a great dog and she knows she will always be loved.

If you've never had one of these quirky beasts, you will never fully understand.


Jennyfer Labs are wonderful dogs, but they get bored fast! John and Jenny found out what can happen when a lab gets bored or anxious. I too think he could have done better with training, but I also know that sometimes you really do get a hard-headed dog that just does his/her own thing. The part where he talks about Marley's dad running past him had me smiling. I kept thinking "do they have any idea what they're in for with that puppy?"


Katie hi


Becky i loved this book. I have a black lab. And she can be difficult sometimes but she is such an amazing book.


Wayward Child I`ve wanted a lab for as long as I can remember, but I was never allowed to have one. :(


Julia Dezotell my dog is completely the opposite.


Claire V Stickinsect wrote: "I thought that the author needed to go to a properly run dog training program where he would have learned that most dog training problems are the owner not the dog. He struck me as an irresponsible..."
I don't think that he was quite irresponsible as just out-of-the-know. But he learned from his experience. Also just saying that sometimes it is the dog- it's possible for dogs to have behavioral issues too, you know.


Caitlin M I watched the movie first.. dumb i know. But i cried at both the end of the movie and the end of the book. its so funny though!!


Voxit You have no idea how some dogs can get into trouble. I'm pretty sure half those things weren't even exaggerated.

Even though it left some people mad thinking, 'zomg he doesn't know how to take care of a dog."
Well guess what, nearly all of the people in the world don't. It's funny considering how big the number of dogs there are in the U.S. and how small the amount of people there are that actually knows anything about them. Can't blame him! Everybody even now still gets a dog for all the wrong reasons.


message 21: by Judy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Judy I bought this book for my daughter's birthday, which happened to be the day before our own Marley, a golden retriever named Waldo, died from a spleen tumor. We both read it and cried and cried. We had tried everything to turn Waldo into the dog of our dreams, but to no avail.
Sometimes dogs just don't respond the way we want them to. This is how so many end up in shelters. Kudos to John for sticking with Marley.


Rosun Rajkumar I love dogs. My best friend knew it and gifted this book for my birthday. I enjoyed it and instantly feel in love with Marley. And then the movie which I hated. More so because it made me cry. The part where they bid farewell to him is just too much to take :P


Claire V My dad cried at the movie. My dad does not cry. My dad is frequently embarrassed cuz he cried at that movie.


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

i love this movie. it's very sad because i love dogs & it shows the dog getting put to sleep ;( i've only watched it twice because i resist to see it because i cry every time watching it. MARLEY.<3


Karen Stickinsect wrote: "I thought that the author needed to go to a properly run dog training program where he would have learned that most dog training problems are the owner not the dog. He struck me as an irresponsible..."

I totally agree with Stickinsect.

Sandy wrote: "This book was an excellent study of how this family stuck with this "difficult" dog. Made me laugh and cry..great story even if exaggerated at times?"


message 26: by Lori (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori I love dogs and enjoy reading books about dogs. even books about dogs who are sometimes naughty. i read Marley and Me and watched the movie.fun book to read.


message 27: by Lori (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori I read a couple of Jon Katz's books as well. Izzy and Lenore was good. I enjoyed his stories about using Izzy a rescue dog who was "crazy wild" at first calmed down enoough to be a therapy dog. love those kind of happy endings.


Julie Balla he really needed to go see cesar millian


message 29: by Athy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Athy I have never owned a lab but several of my friends have had them at one time or another. I think they are great dogs. I have 3 dogs now and have always had them around, in the house and in the yard. I absolutely understand the love/hate relationship. I couldn't imagine my life without a dog. I could turly relate to this book.


message 30: by Olivias (new) - added it

Olivias S hi


Jessica We had a beagle we rescued when he was almost 2 years old. He was the most stubborn and most loveable dog I have ever known. He was trainable as long as it had to do with food. I think Grogan sharing his personal experience with his pet is very endearing. I don't feel reason to pass judgement on what he should have done or didn't do correctly. It is obvious that he loved his dog and his family and he did the best he knew how. I would never want anyone to feel like they couldn't share something so close to thier heart as thier relationship with thier pet. I enjoyed this book and would read it again and again.


spazchild14 My neighbor had a beagle also, and one year on Thanksgiving, he ate a whole stick of butter that we had left out on the table for a minute or two.:) I miss him!


message 33: by Catherine (last edited Jun 08, 2012 09:00PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Catherine Bennett I loved this book, but really hated the ending. I cried for days just thinking about it. And watching it in the movie theatre...I was a blubbering mess! My husband was almost embarrassed to walk out with me.


Rajat Though I loved the book....I have never been able to understand how can one put down a dog. Do we do the same with our family members (humans members i mean)? I had a pet Lab, which lived for 17 years and had to endure 2 major surgeries (it nearly died in one of the surgeries and it took us more than 4 hours to revive it). But throughout the 17 years and innumerable health issues and the resulting problems we never gave up and to our satisfaction the lab died of old age rather than anything else.


RoseAnn Rajat wrote: "....I have never been able to understand how can one put down a dog. Do we do the same with our family members (humans members i mean)?..."

I have often asked the opposite question: why do we not have the same compassion for our human loved ones that we do for our animal pets?

Ideally, we would all, human and animal, die peacefully in our sleep but that isn't always the case and there has to be an evaluation of quality vs. quantity of life.

As our animals' caretakers, it is within our power to ease their suffering when they have reached the end of their enjoyable life. I sincerely hope that someone will make the same decision with/for me when I reach that point in my life.


Bernadette S Stickinsect wrote: "I thought that the author needed to go to a properly run dog training program where he would have learned that most dog training problems are the owner not the dog. He struck me as an irresponsible..."

THANK YOU!!!! Finally, someone who shares my viewpoint. The book infuriated me because of the continual lack of effort on behalf of the Grogans. Sadly, their attitude toward dogs and training is the very reason there are so many dogs relinquished and "given up." I did not appreciate the book nor its passe take on having dogs as a prelude to parenting. Again, thank you!


Dachokie Rajat wrote: "Though I loved the book....I have never been able to understand how can one put down a dog. Do we do the same with our family members (humans members i mean)? I had a pet Lab, which lived for 17 ye..."

a very personal decision that each dog owner must make. my own past experience making such decisions were based on my beloved pets' suffering and not my selfish desire to keep them alive and miserable for my own benefit.


Quillracer My family has had 3 dogs, a Brittany, a Dalmatian, and a Heinz 57. We had to have all three put to sleep. The Brittany was in severe kidney failure and dying slowly. The same happened to the Dalmatian. The Heinz dog had lived 18 years and was blind, deaf, to weak to walk, and unable to eat.

We were there for the Brittany's end and the last things she felt and heard were our hands gently stroking her and our voices telling her we loved her. I missed the Dalmatian's end, something I regret to this day. The Heinz dog got cuddles and gentle stroking before she too was put to sleep.

Was putting them to sleep wrong? I don't think so. In each case, the dog was unhappy and uncomfortable and to let them go on living to avoid feeling guilty about putting them down would have been far crueler.

We did what we felt was right. Others may see it differently. It is wrong for us to judge what another person has deemed the best thing for their pet.

Whether a pet dies in its sleep or is put to sleep by a vet, the loss is gut-wrenching.


Michelle I think putting animals to sleep is in such cases the right thing to do. Leaving them alive in all their misery is selfish. And by looking through the comments above, I haven't read the whole discussion, more people share my opinion. Eventually everyone and everything alive is going to die, and it's better to make the end of someones life easier. If there's no chance of recovery you would rather die in your sleep surrounded by those you love, than in a long and painful fight, right? I do, and I think it's the same with animals. Suffering isn't the right way to go, and the grief ,in either way your pet dies, is the same for you.


message 40: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 08, 2012 07:51AM) (new)

I still suffer when I recall our much loved black Labrador Jasper being put to sleep by our local vet in Mauléon in south-west France. Within seconds he had died. All I could do was look at Jasper and stroke him. I think that I was just too upset to even cry.

Jasper's brief five year life was obviously up as he indirectly was responsible for his own death. He had foolishly chased a tractor, raced past it and the farmer just couldn't stop in time. Perhaps with hindsight it would have been better if he had died there and then? All that he had wrong with him was a broken hind leg. He wore a plaster for a month and he was fine. Then Jasper's stomach started swelling up and the vet had tests made and he was diagnosed with leucaemia. I'm quite convinced that the trauma of the accident brought this on but the vet wouldn't have it. Well, a couple of weeks went by and in the end he just couldn't walk and there was the possibility that he could just haemorrhage. So John and I looked at each other across the breakfast table and we both agreed that we had to go to the vet. I think that it was the hardest decision that we, well it was for me, ever made. Jasper's ashes remain with me as I just couldn't bear to let them go. No more dogs we swore but we love them and now our black Labrador Chloé is with us. They were both the reason why I wrote my fantasy book as a tribute to them.


message 41: by Moonlight (new)

Moonlight Julie wrote: "he really needed to go see cesar millian"

In 2006, the author consulted with Cesar Milan about his newest lab, Gracie. It was an interesting show.


message 42: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Shojai It's interesting that many of my colleagues, dog training and behavior professionals, share that a "difficult dog" set them on the path to learn better and alternative ways to deal with these challenges. *shrug* It is sad and often tragic the mistakes we pet lovers make (yes, I include myself!).

It is up to us thereafter to honor these pets with new and better choices we make for our future furry loves. It's the "difficult dogs" (and also the "difficult cats") that teach us the most, and I think we get the pet that we need...at that point in life.

Just waxing philosophical this morning. *s*


Abigail hello people


Abigail Kristine wrote: "I read Marley and thought it was OK... kind of a basic story. My sixth graders liked it. I don't mean that in a snotty way- it's a nice read. It just didn't have any new or enlightening ideas in ..."
fun fun


Bijal Sheth Marley fans may also like to read "Becoming Shamus", a nice family story written from the dog's perspective. I liked it, hope you do too. As a pet owner, I can't get enough of these dog owner books. Do people get sick of these stories? I suspect animal lovers don't.


back to top