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You want the stick back that bad, YOU jump in

The water for it.

He came charging back up onto the beach with

his prize in his teeth. “Bring it here!” I yelled,

slapping my hands together. “C’mon, boy, give it

to me!” He pranced over, his whole body wagging

with excitement, and promptly shook water and

sand all over me. Then to my surprise he dropped

the stick at my feet. Wow,I thought. How’s that

for service?I looked back at Jenny, sitting on a

bench beneath an Australian pine, and gave her a

thumbs-up. But when I reached down to pick up

the stick, Marley was ready. He dove in, grabbed

it, and raced across the beach in crazy figure-

eights. He swerved back, nearly colliding with me,

taunting me to chase him. I made a few lunges at

him, but it was clear he had both speed and agility

on his side. “You’re supposed to be a Labrador re-

triever!” I shouted. “Not a Labrador evader!”

But what I had that my dog didn’t was an

evolved brain that at least slightly exceeded my

brawn. I grabbed a second stick and made a

tremendous fuss over it. I held it over my head and

tossed it from hand to hand. I swung it from side

to side. I could see Marley’s resolve softening.

John Grogan

Suddenly, the stick in his mouth, just moments

earlier the most prized possession he could imag-

ine on earth, had lost its cachet. My stick drew

him in like a temptress. He crept closer and closer

until he was just inches in front of me. “Oh, a

sucker is born every day, isn’t he, Marley?” I cack-

led, rubbing the stick across his snout and watch-

ing as he went cross-eyed trying to keep it in his


I could see the little cogs going in his head as he

tried to figure out how he could grab the new stick

without relinquishing the old one. His upper lip

quivered as he tested the concept of making a

quick two-for-one grab. Soon I had my free hand

firmly around the end of the stick in his mouth. I

tugged and he tugged back, growling. I pressed

the second stick against his nostrils. “You know

you want it,” I whispered. And did he ever; the

temptation was too much to bear. I could feel his

grip loosening. And then he made his move. He

opened his jaws to try to grab the second stick

without losing the first. In a heartbeat, I whipped

both sticks high above my head. He leaped in the

air, barking and spinning, obviously at a loss as to

how such a carefully laid battle strategy could have

gone so badly awry. “This is why I am the master

and you are the beast,” I told him. And with that

he shook more water and sand in my face.

Marley & Me

I threw one of the sticks out into the water and

he raced after it, yelping madly as he went. He re-

turned a new, wiser opponent. This time he was

cautious and refused to come anywhere near me.

He stood about ten yards away, stick in mouth, ey-

ing the new object of his desire, which just hap-

pened to be the old object of his desire, his first

stick, now perched high above my head. I could see

the cogs moving again. He was thinking, This

time I’ll just wait right here until he throws it,

Date: 2015-12-17; view: 191

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