Marley and Me

 I am driving down Shore Drive in a Jeep Wrangler headed home. Sitting shotgun looking out the passenger side window is Marley, a nine-month-old midnight black German Shepherd with a massive boner…. a blood-red erection that is impossible to miss. 

As I drive over the Lesner Bridge, I repeat to Marley several times No Boner. Marley looks at me, but turns his head to one side, which means I do not understand what you are saying. I am familiar with this look as it is close to the look my boys, as middle schoolers, would give me when I suggested they take a shower. Although I have asked Brian, my son and Marley’s owner, to teach. his dog the command No Boner, clearly he has not made any progress.  When I arrive home, I text Brian, asking if Marley always has a massive boner sitting shotgun in the Jeep. He replies that Marley really likes the Jeep. 

I can only assume that a lot of males drive around in Jeep Wranglers with boners, too.  

After giving birth to our two sons followed by a couple of years living with three males, I decided no more children because if I had another son, it would be the death of me. I opted for a dog, a female Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Kerry, who became my best friend. My soul-sister. My only ally in a world of males.  When we lost Kerry twelve years later, I wanted someone to put me to sleep, too. But within a year, Yeats came into my life, and I had another female Chesapeake Bay Retriever in whom to confide. 

Shortly after we lost Yeats, my husband and I retired and started some extensive traveling, so another dog was not in the picture. But my son Brian, who lived a mile away on the other side of the Lesner Bridge, started talking about a dog for his seven-year-old daughter, my only grandchild. Brian serves in the Coast Guard, so he often is away overnight for the duty, or away on a ten-day deployment south to catch drug smugglers or north looking for icebergs. As he lives alone, having his daughter with him every weekend, he asked if we could share a dog with him.   When Brian is home, Marley is with him, and we have Marley when he is away. This is how I found myself on the Lesner Bridge ordering a German Shepherd to lose his boner. 

 Brian has put me in a few extenuating circumstances over the last forty years.  When he received his third ticket in high school, I abandoned him. He had to find a way to get to traffic court by himself, get out of it by himself, and return home by himself. Which he did. We had to leave the house at 4:00 in order to be on time for his high school graduation. Brian was surfing that day, and he rolled into the driveway at 3:55 presenting himself front and center in the living room dressed for graduation at 4:00 on the dot. When he was in his early twenties and only starting his unique career in the Coast Guard, his father finally told him that he could no longer call me and say “Mom, guess where I am!”  

When Brian approached us about a dog, I was focused on what a delight this would be for Elli, my granddaughter. After Marley came into our lives, I came to understand how much my son needed Marley as well. It is a grandmother’s joy to watch the three of them emerge from his Mustang for an afternoon at Grandma Susie’s.  When Marley is a year old, he will finally be neutered. I am hoping the boners will go away. However, the circle of love surrounding Marley formed by my husband, my son, my granddaughter and me, will never go away, but only grow stronger every year. 
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