My new book, Always By My Side, is subtitled Life Lessons From Millie and All the Dogs I’ve Loved. One of those dogs was Marty, our big white Lab. Julee and I couldn’t have loved Marty more but that didn’t mean it was easy. In fact, he tested our marriage.
Have you ever had a problem dog? A dog with behavioral issues? A 100-pound dog with behavioral issues? Living in one of the most densely populated cities in the world? That was the crisis Julee and I faced when Marty turned two. Marty was as much a part of our family as a child. And when he began to have issues, it really stressed us out, especially Julee.
Marty was complicated, conflicted about his place in the world, insecure, which is why Julee had such empathy for him. She felt as if her mission in life was to protect him. “Edward, if anything ever happens to Marty I will never forgive myself. People just don’t understand him.” Yes, that was him–misunderstood. And still, he wanted more than anything to love and be loved. As the following excerpt from Always By My Side illustrates, there was a key to understanding Marty. And loving him.