When Marley first came home, she was fat, about 15-20 lbs. overweight. She looked like a potbelly-pig from a distance. And speaking of distance, at night, out in the yard, she all but disappeared. Before I got her new collar, I gave her a light pink bandanna to try to make her more visible in the dark.
To help her lose weight, we knew we could not give her cheese like her old mama had requested. (and no chicken livers either, but that was only because we hardly ever have them ourselves.) But Marley could hear cheese being unwrapped from wherever she was in the house, and she would come and stare, waiting for a bite of cheese. And it was not a sweetly-sad soulful gaze, either. It was an impatient, demanding glare, as if to say, "Where's my piece of cheese? I want my cheese!"
Sometimes, yes, we would give her a tiny bit of cheese. But what I needed to do was to encourage her to eat fruits and vegetables for treats. Boomie was already a big fan of bananas, and he basically had the same response to a banana being opened that Marley had to the cheese. We were surprised to find out that Marley didn't like bananas at first. When she saw we were feeding bananas to Boomie, she wanted to try a bite, but when she got close enough to smell it (and perhaps realized it was not cheese) she rejected it. But we kept offering it, and eventually she came to love bananas, apples and carrots. A healthy diet helped Marley lose 15 lbs. I wish I had someone who could regulate my diet, and parcel out precise amounts of the appropriate food at the appointed times, and make sure I only eat fruits and veggies for my snacks. I could probably lose weight too.
Marley's first couple of years with us were plagued with allergies. She would chew on her feet, scoot on her bottom, rub her chin on the floor, and do something I used to call the "silly walk" after a Monty Python sketch by the same name, but it was more like she was trying to scratch herself with her back leg while she was walking. After several food changes, and various topical remedies, I stuck with the only thing that really worked: Ketoconazole. I just kept her on it all the time.
She loved to lay on the couch.
Marley had a bit of a foot fetish. She loved to carry around dirty socks. And she loved to lick our bare feet. She would lick between each toe. I found a foot-shaped doggie toy, and she destroyed it pretty quick. Of course she had no idea it was a representation of a human foot. It was just something to chew. And thank goodness, she never chewed on our shoes.
Sometime, maybe within the first few months after we got her, Marley clunked heads with Boomer as they were both trying to catch a ball I had thrown up to "see who gets it". I will never do that again! She ended up breaking a tooth, and we had to have the rest of the tooth pulled. She also lost a tooth about a year later, when the doctor found that one was rotten. Subsequent doggie dental visits were few and far between, because Marley was too nervous to make it through a non-anesthetic cleaning, and if we gave her tranquilizers, it took her literally days to get back to normal.
Marley had this thing on her left elbow. When I first noticed it, it was about the size of a raisin, only flat. It was a skin tag, I thought. But it grew and grew, until it was the size of a walnut, and was no longer flat. The vet said we could take it off, but it would probably grow back, and since it was not cancerous and it didn't bother her, we just left it there. She never really even seemed to be aware of it. We could handle it, even squeeze it a little, and she didn't notice. It had various nicknames, like "elbow prune" and "testicle".
She hated the vacuum cleaner. When I brought out the vacuum, she would go hide. And she especially hated the shop vac. The funny thing was, when we got rid of our carpet and I was mostly just "swiffering" with a little dust mop, she would hide from that too.
In her later years, Marley lost most of her hearing. When Boomie was alive, both dogs alerted to the doorbell, or to the sound of a jingling collar as someone walked their dog past the front of the house. After Boomie died, Marley didn't seem to care about those things, but I think what was really going on was that she had only been following Boomie's lead and in fact she could not really hear them herself. I know that last summer, when she got some new toys from our vet, I could say to her, "Go get your stuffie," and she would do it, but last month, when a big German Shepherd moved in next door, she could not hear it barking in the yard on the other side of the fence.
From the time we got her, Marley was never very well socialized. She was happy and well-behaved in her own little comfort zone, but she didn't like strange places or strange dogs. I tried putting her through basic obedience, but she went through every class on edge, barking at everybody and their dogs. This same problem made it very difficult to walk her. So, for most of her life, she was a happy homebody.
She loved having her ears rubbed. She made a deep growly noise when you massaged her ears, but it was definitely a growl of pleasure. Her deep voice turned into deep panting, and over the last couple of years, the panting increased, and with it came coughing, and later, wheezing. The vet suspected laryngeal paralysis, and that it was causing respiratory and heart problems. Whatever it was, we treated her with palliative care, not wanting to put her through a surgery at her age. It kept her going for several extra months.
At 13, Marley was officially our oldest dog, even though we only had her for 8 years. Boomer may have been 13 as well, but because he was a pound dog with no background information, we had to guess at his age.