I've read the book and seen the movie,"Marley and Me," several times. The movie is a must-see for any dog lover, a must-read for pet owners. It tells the story of the world's worst dog-- or so it seems. Marley does everything wrong that a dog can do, but still captures the heart of his family.
Marley and Me combines the antics of all of the dogs I've ever owned, but is especially remindful of my last dog, Sly, a Labrador Retriever mix, who I lost more than four years ago. Marley was a lab, too. A golden one. So many of the tales in the book have Sly written all over them. Like Marley, Sly was a "bull in a china closet," but with a heart of gold.
Though he's not perfect, my current dog, Zak, is quite possibly the world's best dog. Zak's a cross between two pure breeds. His pop was a Tibetan Mastiff, a working livestock guardian dog named Mongus. His mom was a working Border Collie. That makes Zak a Tibetan Collie or Border Mastiff. Take your pick. Whatever he is, he's a good looking animal.
Though Zak would probably be a decent livestock guardian, like his sire who was killed in the line of duty (taken out by a couple of mountain lions in Colorado), Zak doesn't seem to take many traits from the Border Collie side of his family. Which is good for me, because I don't have the time to give a Border Collie the attention (and exercise) it needs.
Zak is very laid back. While he loves to play and rough-house, he is also quite content sleeping on the couch. Some nights, he sleeps on the bed. He never wakes me. He's never in any hurry to get up in the morning. He'd sleep until noon if you let him.
Though Zak chewed some furniture when he was a puppy and occasionally chews on a pot holder, for the most part, he doesn't do much wrong. He seldom barks in the house. When he wants to bark, he asks to go outside. He's not a digger, crotch sniffer, humper, or jumper -- all very annoying habits. He doesn't have accidents in the house.
He drinks water from the toilet, but seems to do it without getting the seat too wet. He seldoms takes goodies from the cat's litter box. If a bag of trash is left out, he usually doesn't bother it. Of course, there was the time when he ate through several layers of bags to lick a copious amount of pus off of some paper towels (after I had drained a few sheep abscesses).
Zak walks very well on the leash. Like most dogs, he enjoys going on walks. He barks at the dogs we pass, but not too aggressively. He doesn't try to poop on other people's yards or in the middle of the road. He waits to do his business on public land at the intersection. Or he does it in the backyard at home.
Zak and my cat Max get along famously. This is very important since Max has broken both of his back legs and can't get around as well as a normal cat. Zak enjoys the company of my two Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs, McComb and Boone. Zak's never been aggressive to another dog -- even when they've "invaded" his home.
Zak's not especially fond of riding in the car. He's not bad either. Mostly his drool machine kicks into high gear. I guess it's a sign of stress. He behaves well at the vet and anywhere else I take him. He's never aggressive towards people. I don't think I've ever heard him growl.
Zak's a good eater. He eats what I feed him and doesn't constantly beg for people food. He does like to lick the bowl after I've had cereal or ice cream. Cheese is a favorite snack of his. He's fat, but that's my fault. They say when your dog's fat, you're not getting enough exercise.
I'm pretty lucky to have a dog like Zak. He's well behaved, fairly obedient, stays reasonably clean, is healthy and easy to care for, and has a gentle disposition. A watch dog, he's not. But you can't have it all.