John Grogan's book is subtitled, "Life and love with the world's worst dog." Prepare yourself for funny adventures and a tearjerker of an ending. As young newlyweds in south Florida, Grogan and his wife decided to find a puppy to prepare themselves for parenthood. They fell in love with a yellow lab they named Marley, but were horrified when they finally saw his father, who may have been a descendent of the Hound of the Baskervilles. Their little lab was easily housebroken, but he was never broken of his fear of thunderstorms, during which he'd destroy a room, wood and all. He was destructive, hyperactive and flunked obedience training. Grogan was horrified to read Barbara Woodhouse in "No Bad Dogs" when she said, "Some dogs are just mentally unstable." He knew she was describing Marley.
He grew to be almost one hundred pounds, a gentle giant who loved the entire Grogan family, including the three children who came along. And, by the time of Marley's death as an old dog, he had a family that adored him, hyperactivity and all. Grogan said, "He might well have been the world's worst behaved dog. Yet he intuitively grasped from the start what it meant to be man's best friend." After Marley's death, the family mourned. Finally, Grogan was able to write about Marley in his column in the Philadelphia Inquirer. He summed up his life with Marley. "Like any relationship, this one had its costs. They were costs we came to accept and balance against the joy and amusement and protection and companionship he gave us." A perfect summary of any relationship.