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Will "Marley's" popularity bring bad luck to Labradors?

the crew at work on Marley & Me

With the release of "Marley & Me", the film based on John Grogan's best-selling memoir about his life with the "world's worst" Labrador retriever, animal advocates are naturally worried about the possible effects of stardom on this already-popular breed. 

The American Humane Assn. staged a campaign to educate the public about the dangers of choosing a dog based on its role in a film, but our own Patt Morrison is still worried about the damage increased publicity can cause:

I wish I could add an asterisk to the First Amendment to halt any advertisements that show puppies or kitties adorned with red bows and plopped under the Christmas tree. Some marketer’s idea of an adorable gift is a very, very bad thing. The impulse gift of a living creature is a recipe for misery. A pet should be planned for and anticipated like a baby. The equivalent obligation amounts to the same: lifelong.

I’m no psychic, but I can tell you right now what’s going to happen because of "Marley & Me" The puppy mills will go into overdrive, producing litter after litter of adorable yellow lab puppies, some of whom will be born deformed because of the manic breeding -- and some of whom will wind up dumped at animal shelters when the owners get tired of them.

Patt knows the perils firsthand -- she rescued several dalmatians who were abandoned in the wake of "101 Dalmatians".  (How did these dogs wind up needing rescue in the first place?  Her matter-of-fact answer: "They turned out to be real dogs, not cartoon dogs, that’s what happened.")  Read the full story over at the Times' Opinion L.A. blog.

--Lindsay Barnett

Photo: "Marley" and crew during filming.  Credit: Barry Wetcher/20th Century Fox.

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Patt Morrison needs to read Wm B Yeats' "Two Songs of a Fool" to remind all who would own pets of their responsibility for another's life.

I share this with every child I love who desires to own a pet.


A speckled cat and a tame hare
Eat at my hearthstone
And sleep there;
And both look up to me alone
For learning and defence
As I look up to Providence.

I start out of my sleep to think
Some day I may forget
Their food and drink;
Or, the house door left unshut,
The hare may run till it's found
The horn's sweet note and the tooth of the hound.

I bear a burden that might well try
Men that do all by rule,
And what can I
That am a wandering-witted fool
But pray to God that He ease
My great responsibilities?


I slept on my three-legged stool by the fire.
The speckled cat slept on my knee;
We never thought to enquire
Where the brown hare might be,
And whether the door were shut.
Who knows how she drank the wind
Stretched up on two legs from the mat,
Before she had settled her mind
To drum with her heel and to leap?
Had I but awakened from sleep
And called her name, she had heard.
It may be, and had not stirred,
That now, it may be, has found
The horn's sweet note and the tooth of the hound.

I am the proud owner of my second yellow lab. My first was just like Marley-yellow American cut-and he was nutty like Marley. When he died three years ago at the age of 10 years, he ripped mine, my husband' and our kids hearts out-we wouldn't have had it any other way though--we are on our second yellow lab-he is an English cut-totally different energy level -very mellow-but that same lab laid-back personality-but i would hope that it wouldn't steer people away from the breed-there is definately a difference in the "cuts" not just from my experience but others i know as well say the same thing. So if you want a lab but not the craziness, if you want the toned down version-get an English cut-if you want adventure go with the American cut-all in all i would get another American cut as i like the hyped up silliness and energy they have - but either way i wouldn't own any other breed-most lovable, greatest friend, unconditional love. There are people who passed away in my life that i didn't grieve over as i did with my last lab.


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