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Tag: marley & me

“A Big Little Life” — the latest from Koontz

Dean Koontz, who churns out books faster than Land O’Lakes makes butter, released his newest last month — an ode to his deceased dog, Trixie.

“A Big Little Life” is a memoir of the life and death of his golden retriever — and, the author is quick to point out, not another “Marley & Me.”

“As the reader must now realize, this is not going to be a memoir about a pillow-destroying, cat-chasing, furniture-chewing miscreant kind of canine…”

Quite the opposite. Trixie was a trained service dog with Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), a charitable organization that provides service dogs for people with disabilities — and a group to which Koontz has donated more than $2.5 million. CCI gave the dog to Koontz as a gift.

Koontz, who has sold more than 375 million books in his lifetime, was taken with the charity while he was researching his novel “Midnight,” a book which included a CCI-trained dog.

Koontz wrote three books under Trixie’s name, “Life Is Good: Lessons in Joyful Living,” “Bliss to You: Trixie’s Guide to a Happy Life,” and “Christmas is Good.”  The royalties of the books were donated to Canine Companions for Independence.

Trixie contracted cancer in 2007.  The Koontzes had her put to sleep outside of their family home on June 30 of that year.

Dogs are a recurring theme in Koontz’s big fat body of work. It is “widely thought,” according to Wikipedia, that Trixie was his inspiration for his November 2007 book “The Darkest Evening of the Year,” about a woman who runs a golden retriever rescue home, and who rescues a ‘special’ dog, named Nickie, who eventually saves her life.

Koontz now has a new dog, Anna, who is a grandniece of Trixie.

Marley & You

(Today, ohmidog! kicks off a new feature, a monthly column on dog training and behavior, written by Lauren Bond and Carolyn Stromer of B-More Charming School for Dogs. To keep up with their reports, click on the Behave! tab on the right side rail.)

I’m sure that by now just about every dog person has seen the movie “Marley and Me.” We laughed, we cried, then we cried some more.

Some experienced dog owners, and trainers like ourselves, have even offered our two cents about Marley’s upbringing, saying that his owners were irresponsible, that if we owned a dog like that we would most certainly have put him in his place. We wouldn’t have allowed our couch to be eaten, or our drapes to be torn down, or our gold necklace to go in one end of the dog and come out of the other.

But the truth is we have all been there.

We’ve all been first-time dog owners, overwhelmed, unsure where to turn. Some of us, even by our third or fourth dog, remain that way.

Why won’t he get off of the furniture? Why do my shoes, hairbrush, wallet, cell phone, (insert object of choice here) always wind up in his mouth? Why can’t I come home, just once, to the trash can being upright, untouched, with all of the trash still inside? How come my “NO’S!” and “STOP ITS!” only lead to a game of catch-me-if-you-can? Is it really too much to ask of man’s best friend that he just be calm, listen to what I tell him and lay quietly at my feet waiting for further instructions?

To be completely honest … yes, it is.

Think back to the day you brought your first puppy home. He didn’t come with an instruction manual. Maybe, at best, the shelter gave you a brochure, or some information on his vaccine record and what kind of food and toys he liked. But there was nothing on how to influence his behavior, no foolproof tips for getting him to stop jumping all over guests when they walk through the front door. Or teaching him to walk nicely on leash. Or keeping him from chewing up your new Blackberry.

You might have tried staying one step ahead by reading up on dog behavior before you brought him home. There’s a ton of conventional wisdom out there, books galore, dog magazines and an entire Animal Network. How could you go wrong?


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Canadian writer says, “No Marley for me”

A Canadian writer plans to avoid seeing the movie Marley & Me, just as he avoided reading the book. His reasons?

“Spot. Josette. Lulu. Nipper. Paddy. Orly. Brownie. Bijou. Byng. Avery. Tiger. Barkley. Wiggins. Sidney. Those are some of the real-life dogs who’ve departed on my watch.”

Craig MacInnes, in an opinion piece for the Ottawa Citizen, says he, for one, has seen enough dogs die during his life. Why go to the movies to see it again?

“Figuratively speaking, dogs rarely make it to the end-credits of our human lifetimes, preceding us to the hereafter in what is surely Nature’s cruelest, most screwed-up plan. Innocent, loyal and trusting, they are rewarded for their blind devotion with a lousy 10 to 15 years, while we get to dither and careen through seven or eight full decades, a journey collectively freighted by the nagging ache of all our losses.”

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Marley factually erroneous, politically correct

If you’ve read the book, then see the movie, you may notice that while Marley is still shown with all his behavioral warts on the big screen, the story has been sanitized in at least one way: The real Marley came from a  breeder in Florida, while in the movie Marley is a “rescue.”

It’s a minor alteration, and far from nefarious, but it does show the clout animal welfare organizations can have — and how, when the media cooperates with them, they return the favor.

Even PETA — despite its objections to using animals for entertainment, despite a scene in which a dog is walking on its front legs while its rear is held by a passenger in a moving car — has given the movie “two paws up” for sending the message that pets, no matter how problematic their behavior, are for keeps.

“Dogs are members of the family, and Marley and Me reminds moviegoers that they deserve to be treated as such,” says PETA Vice President Lisa Lange. “We hope this movie inspires people to stand by their animal companions — even when it’s not easy — and to love them unconditionally, just as they love us.”

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Marley’s a purebred, but reviews are mixed

The reviews are in, and there’s widespread agreement that Marley is … a cute dog.

All 22 of him.

That’s how many yellow labs the moviemakers used in the making of Marley & Me, reviews for which are — unlike the dog — mixed.

Associated Press movie critic Christy Lemire said the movie has “more than its share of hanky moments …  We’re not talking about just a tear or two welling up — we’re talking grown men and women snuffling and sobbing uncontrollably, then dashing from the theater before the lights come up to avoid making eye contact with all the other blubbering saps.

“Seeing the ending, in all its horrifically sad detail, is bad enough if you’re a grown-up (and a dog person). If you’re a little kid expecting a happy puppy movie, “Marley & Me” could cause serious trauma requiring hours of therapy and many scoops of ice cream to repair.

But Lemire conludes that “it’s not a particularly good movie” and has “no great momentum …  just a long, flat arc toward the inevitable.”

(Flat arc? Can there be such a thing?)

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“Marley & Me” opens today

It’s finally here! No, not Christmas, the opening of the movie, Marley & Me.

One of three new dog movies — and by far the most publicized — Marley & Me, based on the best-selling book by former Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Grogan, stars Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston as a young couple that, preparing for parenthood, gets a dog as a trial run.

By turns funny, sad and uplifting — or at least intended to be such — the movie looks at life with Marley, a hyper and ill-behaved yellow lab who nevertheless becomes a cherished and indispensable part of the family.

In that way, it’s the story of Everydog — though every dog thankfully isn’t the handful Marley proves to be.

Early reports are that it will both make you feel good and make you cry, and — given the popularity of the book and pre-release hype around the movie — it’s likely to be a box office winner.

Here at ohmidog!, we’ve saved all our hype, and whatever the opposite of hype is, for today, with three more pieces related to the book/movie/phenomenon that is Marley & Me — a look at its early reviews, a look at how the movie isn’t 100 percent true to the book. We’ll also hear from one commentator who has had his fill of movies in which dogs die, and doesn’t plan to see it.

Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at two more new dog movies, “Hotel for Dogs” and “Wendy and Lucy.”

Aniston: Men should be more like dogs

Jennifer Aniston thinks men should be more like her dog.

The former “Friends” star — soon to appear in the movie version of “Marley & Me” — recently told Britain’s “Skymag” that she wishes men were as faithful as her beloved corgi mix, Norman.

Aniston, who was divorced from Brad Pitt in 2005 and recently split from singer John Mayer because he reportedly didn’t want to settle down, told the magazine she longs to meet a man that is more like Norman.

“It wouldn’t be bad if, when a man comes home, he’d run to his woman with his tail wagging,” she’s quoted as saying. “This sort of excitement is something I’ve always missed in a man, to be honest.”

Norman, meanwhile, is slowing down in his old age, and Aniston has hired a therapist for him.

The former ‘Friends’ actress is paying $250 a week on massage, Reiki and acupuncture treatments for  Norman, according to media reports.

A source said: “Norman has been Jennifer’s constant companion during all her emotional upheavals, but he suffers from aching joints and stiffness. Jennifer doesn’t want to put him on medication just yet, so she has opted for doggy spa treatments from a licensed vet technician.”

The therapy sessions at Jennifer’s Malibu home have helped ease Norman’s aches and pains, the source said. “Norman has more spring in his step these days!”

(Photo: Aniston in a 2005 Elle magazine spread)