Marley’s Story: the ‘other’ Marley and Me.
Looking back, one could say that C.A.R.E animal rescue actually began on November 28th 2009 as the light descended into dusk during a stroll along Paradise beach with my three dogs, all rescues which I had brought with me from France when I had moved to Nevis in 2007. Wallace, Seve and Genie had waited patiently for their walk that afternoon and were now happily wandering along the deserted beach when suddenly Wallace’s head went up, he looked into the distance and took off along the beach. ‘Oh no’, I thought, ‘he’s seen some sheep’. Not that he would hurt the sheep, he just wanted to play, but each time they ran into the sea and I had ended up soaked, hauling the sheep with skinny little legs out of the surf and safely back up the beach. So my stroll broke into a run and as I caught up with him I saw in the shadows that the animal was in fact a large dog. The closer I got I realised that this was no ordinary dog, but a dog so emaciated that his thin bony tail, trying its best to wag back and forth, seemed to be using up the last vestiges of his energy. This was our discovery of Marley, an abandoned dog who has since become the much loved Patriarch of the CARE Shelter and is a much valued and loved member of our ‘House Pack’.
Marley is a Pit Bull mix with a beautiful deep brown tortoiseshell brindle coat and dark brown eyes that reflect the big heart of a gentle and loving soul. When we found him that evening the ridges of every vertebrae on his back stood out like a rusty bicycle chain, every rib showing through his thin hide and we could have hung a hat on his protruding hip bones. And yet, whatever had happened to this dog, he trusted us and began to slowly follow us back along the beach to our van, where he stopped and watched as the other three leapt inside. What is his story? We will never really know except the scars on his muzzle and the fact that his ears had been viciously cut, led us to surmise that he was probably a victim of a local dog fighting ring. I picked him up and placed him in the back of the van, where Wallace decided to lie alongside his foundling for the short trip back home.
We named him Marley because in the van on our trip back, some Bob Marley tracks were playing on the radio, Mr Marley, a Caribbean legend. Through two months of love, care, medical attention and high protein foods , Marley recovered his strength. Once healthy enough to travel he was checked at Ross University Veterinary clinic on St Kitts where it was discovered he was riddled with heartworm and in no condition to survive the ‘cure’ . They gave him 6 months to live. Marley’s eyes told us a different story. ‘I’m a survivor and I intend to stick around and love whatever life I have left in me ‘.
Well, Marley has indeed loved life and loved, nurtured, cajoled and played with every dog who came to the CARE Nevis Centre since it was founded in April 2010. . Marley is always the first dog to meet and greet any newcomer and he especially loves puppies. They crawl all over him, and his favourite trick is to drop to the ground in what became known as his ‘Prat Fall’, like a cowboy in an old Western movie who’s just been shot, falling to the ground rolling back and forth with a big silly grin on his face. He has slowed up somewhat but still is the first to greet the new arrivals. His heartworm condition has been alleviated with monthly Selamectin- spot on treatments, but some days he coughs like a cowboy who has been smoking Marlboro for thirty years. We would strongly advise all pet owners who live in places where pesky mosquitoes bug both man and beast, to prevent heartworm in your best friends with monthly treatments, because prevention is truly so much better than the ‘cure’. ‘Marley - Patriarch of the pack, nearly four years since that November’s eve, and still going strong.