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My foster dog left paw prints in my heart

It’s an amazing thing how an animal can come into your life one day and change your perception of the world. That’s what a Golden Retriever named Marley did for me in just six short days.

It’s an amazing thing how an animal can come into your life one day and change your perception of the world. That’s what a Golden Retriever named Marley did for me in just six short days. 


Let me start from the beginning.

When I was a writer for the West Seneca Sun newspaper, a lovely woman named Karen Wilson approached me with wonderful news that she had just published a book called Dakota Gold. The book was all about her love for a Golden Retriever named Rusty whose father was named Dakota. Rusty passed away and Karen wanted to write a tribute to him, discussing all of the wonderful times they had together. It was a beautiful story and Wilson is a beautiful person.

We kept in touch over the years and I was so happy to see that she had a new dog in her life, Marley. Marley was her best bud and she dedicated her life to seeing that he was a happy and loved pup. But unfortunately, as life sometimes takes us by surprise, Karen found herself between a rock in a hard place. Wilson lives in senior apartments and while she had permission to have Marley, the seniors were making it difficult for her to keep him. Although she loved Marley with her whole heart she knew Marley deserved better than to be treated like he was a nuisance by residents. So, I decided to help.


Marley and Karen
Marley and Karen

I picked Marley up after work on Monday on hope and a prayer. I wanted to give Marley the opportunity to try different things and meet different people. I wanted him to see what life with a family might be like. Little did I know, he was doing me a favor and not the other way around.


Marley was loving, playful, gentle, and kind. He took to my family right away and even became best buds with our Puggle, Molly. Anywhere I went, Marley went and his smile just brightened up my day. I can sometimes be a very anxious person. I like my house to look a certain way, I’m very clean, I like my rest and peace and quiet. Marley didn’t care about any of those things and somehow I didn’t care about any of these things when he was around either. He made me peaceful and happy and when I found myself feeling anxious, I would just look into his beautiful brown eyes, and pet his red golden fur and I had not a care in the world. Marley gave me the energy I didn’t know I had and made me want to finish taking on the world no matter what kind of day it was. He made me more easygoing and carefree and I loved the way he played with me and my son.


I wanted to keep Marley more than anything, but I knew it wouldn’t be fair to him. His size was just making it in our house now and I knew in just a few more months he would be the big bear he’s supposed to be. He also needed a lot more attention than I could give him as I work full-time. Karen and I were on a mission to find Marley a good home and as if it were a gift from God, Karen called me just a few days later to tell me that Marley was wanted by a man named Patrick.

Patrick just lost his two dogs to cancer and one of them only had three legs. Karen said she was told you would never know the pup had three legs as Patrick exercised his dog so well that he played just like all the other dogs. When Patrick would take his dogs to the park, he would often say he was going for a walk with “seven legs.” Patrick was devastated when he lost his two dogs and as much as Karen, and even myself, wanted to keep Marley, we knew he was meant for something greater. To be a best friend to Patrick and for Patrick to be a best friend to him. This is where Marley belonged.

Marley and Patrick
Marley and Patrick

As a gift for taking good care of Marley, Karen gave me her book Dakota Gold to take home. Inside she wrote me a little letter that warmed my heart.



Our dream dog, the Golden Retriever!

 I was blessed with Rusty for 12 1/2 years. I tried to relive that again with Marley but he was meant to fulfill another dream. Six short days you were blessed with him and now it is time he blessed the life of Patrick. 

Me and Marley

I will never forget how much love Marley brought into my home in just six days. Getting to know him was one of the most rewarding experiences, and while he wasn’t meant to stay with my family, I know I was meant to meet him.

If you’re interested in fostering a pup, visit or you may also check out the SPCA of Niagara at for an adoptable pup near you.

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