Marty is my good friend Wendy’s dog. But “dog” doesn’t describe him, Marty is so much more than just a dog. He is an athlete, a comedian, a friend, a companion, a celebrity… Marty is also a little bit a part of our family here, too. The sad news is that he has bone cancer, and won’t be around much longer. Although we got this news last night, it’s been brewing for a while and wasn’t completely unexpected, but that doesn’t make it any easier for Norm & Wendy. After getting Wendy’s email we’ve been dreading, Jason and I (and Humu of course!) sat around last night reliving some great Marty memories.

Most importantly to us, Marty is Humu’s mentor. As much as a dog can be a mentor to other dogs, anyway. Humu has known Marty all her life, in fact I remember puppy Humu scurrying around under Marty’s patient feet (literally, she would run right underneath his belly). Right away Marty started teaching her important dog lessons, such as: there’s a magical porcelain water bowl in the bathroom that is always filled with fresh water; always bark loudly to welcome people; run as hard and fast as you can in the woods; and make sure to look completely innocent whenever you’ve broken a human rule. Humu took immediately to Marty’s lessons and counseling.

Marty always plays it pretty cool with Humu, but if they are left alone, we always find them cuddling upon our return. The odd time we didn’t find them snuggled up together usually meant we were returning to the scene of a disaster. When Humu was very young, we left the dogs at our house together while we went to see a movie with Norm & Wendy. I’m not sure who came in the house first, but I think it was Norm who opened the door when we came home and all I heard was: “What the hell happened?”…. we came inside to see the entire main floor of the house covered in about an inch of fluff. Marty had taught Humu another important dog lesson: shredding throw pillows is really fun! Humu soaked this lesson up like a sponge, and we went through a lot of throw cushions before we could train that lesson out of her.

Humu and Marty caught cuddling on the couch. Humu always had to be on top of him.

Another movie, another evening the dogs left alone together, but this time at Norm’s house. Another “What the hell happened?”… this time the dogs had ripped into a box of race nutrition products, and were lying on the floor, practically comatose, with Gu’s and other gels smeared all over themselves, the rug, the floor, PowerBar wrappers scattered around the living room; it was a crime scene with evidence everywhere and the two perps still there, too tired and full to move. Both dogs did a lot of puking and crapping wrappers for about a week.

Some of my favourite Marty features are his ability to spoons and his thunderous bark. Whenever I’ve spent the night at Marty’s house, he’s always obliged by spoonsing me the entire night. Nothing keeps you warm like a dog cozied up beside you. Marty also taught Humu that to sleep properly, a dog must be tucked in. The one lesson that Humu could never quite master is how to tuck herself in, so in the middle of the night she wakes either Jason or I up to pull the blanket over her if she gets untucked. Marty – we need you back here to finish that lesson!

Dog sleepover.

Marty is the easiest dog to find in a crowd – just listen for the bark. My friend Janet and I were downtown Victoria one afternoon watching a criterium, and sure enough we heard Marty’s distinctive bark, more like an OWRUF! OWRUF! We used the sound to hone in on Norm and Marty through the crowd.

Marty cannot be contained!

Marty’s nickname is “Stinky Ass”, and if you know Marty, you know why. He can let go of the most violent, eye-watering farts, powerful enough to clear a room. Just hope you’re never in a small space with him, like a car, when he lets one of those go!

One of Marty’s favourite pastimes is chasing rabbits, and that’s resulted in a couple of knee surgeries. But that still didn’t seem to slow Marty down, and he continued to accompany anyone, at anytime, for a run, ride, ski, hike, swim – whatever you were doing, Marty was up for it. The last year or so had been tough on the old guy’s knees, and he had trouble with slippery floors. When he would come to visit, we’d build the “Marty Bridge to Freedom”; exercise mats from the couch to the doors so he could get through our hardwood floors a bit easier.

Marty's Bridge to Freedom.

Last week, we got to visit Marty for what we thought may be the final visit, although we hoped for the best. One of his legs wasn’t working, so he hadn’t been out for a walk for a couple of weeks, and had been pretty listless at home. But as soon as Humu bounded up their stairs, I heard the characteristic OWRUF! OWRUF! again, and Marty was out of bed scampering around, thrilled to see his girl. Despite hobbling around on only three legs, he was still able to assert his dominance over Humu one last time, as he stole the ball she was playing with and matched her side by side, romping around the house.

Marty, Martin, Mart-Man, Stinky Ass… the tears flow when we think of you not being around anymore. But the smiles come even faster when we recall all the times we’ve spent with you – on the couch, in the woods, on the ski hill… in your fourteen and a half years you have embodied the philosophy of “Live Like You Mean It”. We’ll miss you, Mart-Man!

Humu will follow Marty unconditionally...


  1. I had forgotten about that time in Vic! What a fabulous post Keps. I smiled, and sniffled all the way through it. He really has been more than just a dog; a real personality. Hugs to Wendy and Norm through this hard time.

  2. Beautiful and - of course - oh-so-accurate tribute to Marty.

    Thank you for sharing, Alison.

  3. Great post Allison. You nailed it, he really lived life to the fullest and he'd be thrilled (in a slightly aloof affectionate way) that we were all reading about and remembering his glorious life with smiles. I'm sure he is convincing someone in heaven to share their sandwich with him riiight now.

  4. Thanks Allison for sharing those memories of Marty, what a great tribute. I smiled and cried. We could all learn from him, 'Live like you mean it'! At least I know I can.

  5. RIP Marty. What a nice tribute. He sure was a dog with a lot of character. I know he'll be hugely missed. I hope he's chasing lots of rabbits in doggy heaven.
    Claire M. (T.)

  6. Wicked, you captured Marty well. Thank you. Richard Harmeson in Victoria.