Marlee adores children, and has a special relationship with Niecelet 2 in particular. The two of them practically speak their own language. There are games of chase, belly-tickling in the grass, and lots and lots of tea parties and dress-up. Marlee goes out of her mind with joy when they get together.
It's kind of funny that I have a dog who worships kids, since I don't plan on ever having children. I would absolutely love to walk into an adoption agency one day and say, "I need to get a kid for my dog," since we hear the reverse all the time at the animal shelter where I work.
Here's Marlee moments later being a whore-pug and begging for belly rubs:
I've always treasured this photo of Niecelet 1 with Marlee, around 2008. She absolutely loved walking Marlee on leash in her backyard, and fancied herself quite the little junior dog trainer. Here, she's telling a very befuddled pug to "Heel, Mars!"
I adopted Marlee in 2006. She was surrendered to the shelter at 5 months old with a raging case of generalized demodex. Here she is during her first week as my foster dog:
Two weeks after finalizing the adoption, we were at the vet because Marlee was walking funny on one of her front legs. Much manipulating of the limbs and a few x-rays later, my vet pronounced her "an orthopedic nightmare." She had severe hip dysplasia, and the bones in her front legs were bowing because the growth plates had fused early. Off to the specialist we went.
The orthopedist decided that the hip dysplasia needed to be dealt with immediately, since the muscles in Marlee's back legs wouldn't develop properly if she continued to use her legs incorrectly. That meant bilateral FHO (femoral head ostectomy) surgeries when she was only 7 months old.
The surgeries were expensive but totally worth it. Once she regained the use of her legs, Marlee was off and running, and hasn't had an unhealthy day since. She still has some wacky bone structure (the joints in her front feet are practically nonexistent, so her feet can point outward or inward or practically fold in on themselves), and I expect we'll deal with arthritis when she's older, but for now my Mars Bar (a.k.a. Marzipan, Marlee McFarlee, and Mars McFars) is the essence of glowing pug health.
My pretty little puglet.