Late in 2004, when our dog Maggie died, Boomer was left grieving. I began searching rescue sites online for a friend for him, so he wouldn't be so sad and lonely. Just before Christmas, we saw a certain black lab on Petfinder. Due to the holidays, we were not able to meet her until after New Year's. The rescue people had an event set up at a pet store about 20 miles from us. We brought Boomer along, to see if they would be compatible. I don't have any pictures from that day.
I had dealt with a few rescue organizations before I found Boomie back in 2002, and none of them had, to my knowledge, the policy that Marley's rescue had. Her original owner was obliged to bring her to the adoption event at the pet store and stay with her until she was adopted, or take her back home again if she was not adopted, and try again next time.
So here was this lady, Theresa: Somewhere in the later years of middle-age (maybe about the same age as I am now), sitting on a folding chair, crying at the prospect of giving up her dog. And here was this dog: A fat black labrador named Colette, clearly nervous and trying to press herself against her mama's legs. Or maybe she was trying to hide under that folding chair, now that I think about it. The first thing we needed to do was take Colette outside where there was a little grassy area, to meet Boomer. Both dogs were nervous, just being out of their normal circumstances, and I seem to recall that neither dog was thrilled with the other, but they didn't want to kill each other either. So Jerry looked into Colette's face, and saw that this was a dog that he could love, and we decided to take her home to foster, with the intent to adopt if all went well.
I felt very sad for Theresa. Clearly she loved her dog. Something was happening in her life that made her have to give her up, and it was hard to say goodbye. She asked me to please feed Colette chicken liver and cheddar cheese, her favorite snacks. She wanted us to let the dog keep the old knotted pair of sweat-socks that was her favorite toy. She thanked me through her tears for wanting to give her a home. I felt guilty for taking Colette away from her. At a table set up by the rescue people, I paid the adoption fee and signed some papers. Among the paperwork I received that day, one form had a space on which she had written "Likes chicken livers and cheddar cheese." Obviously, it was an important detail.
I spared Theresa the notion that I wasn't really fond of the name Colette, and that I had already planned to call our new dog Marley. (incidentally, this was just before the movie Marley and Me came out, and beyond the fact that Marley from the movie was a male yellow lab, she was never intended to be named after that Marley. I had actually wanted to name her "Marlee", but I was certain it would be constantly misspelled anyway, so I just let her be Marley.)