PART II: Here Comes Trouble
"No, bad dog! That's a very bad dog!"
Derek opened his eyes at the sound of Meredith's voice.
"Marley, let go!"
Derek sat up and spotted Meredith in her robe sitting on the floor, playing a game of tug of war with the pup.
"Meredith, what's he got?"
Meredith finally managed to pull whatever it was out of Marley's mouth. "Look at this!" Meredith said, exasperated as she held up what Marley had been chewing. "He ate my panties!" Sure enough, it had several noticeable rips in the fabric from Marley's teeth.
Derek looked down at the floor, wondering if any of his clothes had suffered the same fate. Luckily, no, but Meredith's bra had not fared too well. Derek reached over to pick the garment off the floor and held it up. "And your bra too, apparently."
"My what?" Meredith's jaw dropped as she snatched the bra from his hand. "This bra was expensive! Oh this is not good!"
"What?" she asked, a hint of anger in her voice. She was still fuming about the underwear.
Derek nodded towards the corner of the room, and Meredith turned to see Marley moving around in circles and preparing to squat.
"Oh no! Marley, no! Newspaper! I need newspaper!" But of course, the newspaper was downstairs. Why hadn't they thought to lay down some newspaper?! But at least she had a… "Magazine! Give it here!"
Derek handed her the magazine laying on the nightstand, and Meredith ran over to Marley.
She had been too late.
Marley walked away from the corner, tail wagging, leaving a little tiny turd behind.
Derek just laughed.
She glared at Derek. "Oh, you think this is funny?"
"I think this is hilarious," he said, laughing again.
Meredith picked up the puppy and dumped him into Derek's lap. "Here, keep an eye on him. I've got to go get something to clean this mess up."
Meredith walked out of the room, and Derek looked down at the puppy and gave him a serious look. "Sorry, bud, but I don't think she thinks you're so precious anymore."
After his morning meeting with the hospital board, Derek headed home to his trailer to check on Marley. He and Meredith had decided it would be best for now to leave him there rather than running wild at Casa Grey's. Plus, Izzie had made it perfectly clear that if the dog stayed, she was packing her bags and moving out.
"He'll be fine here," Derek had said as they dropped the pup off. "He's got everything he needs. Food. Water. His toys. His bed. I even put some newspaper down for him. I'll check on him in a few hours."
But as Derek made the drive through the winding road of his property, an eerie, unsettling feeling came upon him. He was familiar with this feeling. He sometimes experienced it in the operating room when he knew he was about to lose a patient. This feeling was always a sign that something very bad was about to happen.
As he turned off his car and got out, he worried about Marley and quickened his pace to the door. What if Marley wasn't alright? What if Marley had choked on something, or ate something poisonous? What if he was sick? Derek suddenly wished he had thought to do more dog-proofing before he left, but he had been in such a hurry to get to his meeting.
Derek opened the door and braced himself. For just a moment, things seemed fine. Two seconds later, Derek saw the disaster in his kitchen.
Derek's foot crunched on something. He looked down to see kibble strewn across the floor alongside Marley's overturned food dish.
Unfortunately, that had not been the only mess Marley had made. The little stinker had also gotten into the garbage, as dogs usually do, and Derek's trailer had literally been trashed. The trashcan lay on its side, half its contents on the floor, the bag leaky and shredded.
Marley did not come running, which meant one of two things. Either he was exhausted from his morning of play, or he knew he was in trouble and was hiding. Derek bet on the former, as Marley seemed to not understand right from wrong.
Derek stepped around the trash, surveying the damage when he noticed something else. Somehow, Marley had pried open the pantry and gotten into the cabinet. Anything low enough for him to reach had Marley's paw-prints all over it, including a brand new box of Muesli cereal which had been gnawed up pretty bad. The plastic bag had been torn out of the box and ripped open, and cereal littered the inside floor of the pantry.
"So you didn't eat your food so you decided to raid mine?" Derek said to himself as he picked up the cereal box. He threw it back on the floor, realizing there was no point in putting it in the garbage now.
Derek thought he had seen the worst of it. He hadn't seen anything yet.
Turning around, Derek went to the other end of the trailer. Everywhere he looked, he saw disaster. The walls were scratched up. The furniture had been chewed on. The rug was completely destroyed. Nothing had been untouched.
"How can one dog do this much damage?" Derek muttered, for even Doc had never been this bad, and he was a much bigger dog.
And then he noticed the bed, where Hurricane Marley had made his grand finale. Dog saliva on his blanket. Dog fur on his favorite sheets. Even worse, his pillows, his good pillows, were completely ripped to shreds, leaving a flurry of feathers behind in its wake.
And in the middle of it all was Marley, content as he relaxed on his belly. Marley gazed up at Derek with a sleepy look in his eyes, then yawned.
"Oh I bet your tired!" Derek snapped. "I see you've been busy!"
Marley laid his head down, closing his eyes.
It was then that Derek noticed it. If he had been mad before when he first noticed his trailer trashed, he was furious now.
"MY FISHING ROD?" Derek grabbed the rod, covered with bite marks, and cursed himself for leaving it within reach. "You chewed up my fishing rod?! This is brand new!"
Marley gazed up at Derek, and Derek felt foolish for talking to him this way. It wasn't as if Marley was going to answer him.
"Okay, that's it. You're out!"
Derek grabbed the puppy and headed outside, dumping him on the porch and slamming the door behind him.
Marley whimpered, wanting to come back inside. Derek sat down and counted to ten. He needed to figure out what to do next.
"He did what?"
"Completely trashed the trailer!" Derek huffed as he pulled Marley along by his leash through the aisle of the pet store.
Meredith switched the phone to her other ear and took a seat at the nurses' station, bracing herself for the bad news. "How bad is it?"
"Remember when I said that Doc had already destroyed everything in the trailer that could possibly be destroyed by a dog?"
"I was wrong. It's bad, Meredith. The kitchen's a mess. Trash is everywhere. I'm going to have to buy some new pillows on the way home. And you know that new fishing rod I bought last week?"
"Oh yes, he destroyed it. That's two-hundred bucks I'll never see again."
"Oh, Derek, I'm sorry. We'll get you another fishing rod."
"Dammit, Marley! Come on!"
"What's going on?"
"I'm sorry. I'm at the pet store right now looking for some chew toys. Marley isn't cooperating on the leash."
"Hey, get those rawhide chew bones, you know the ones I'm talking about? Doc really liked those."
"Good idea. Here they are now, right by the toys. How many should I get?"
"I don't know. Three?"
Derek looked down at Marley, who was already attempting to get into something on the lower shelf. "I think I'll get five. Oh, and I'm going to need to get more dog food."
"You just did this morning."
"I know, but half the bag is on the kitchen floor now. I made the mistake of leaving the bag where Marley could reach it."
"Oh, you think this is funny?"
Meredith smiled. "About as funny as Marley eating my underwear and pooping on the floor, yes. Oh, hey, while I have you on the phone, Mr. Danvers is refusing surgery."
"I tried to talk to him, tried to talk to his family. He doesn't want to listen."
"We can't force a patient to have a surgery if he doesn't want it."
"I know, but it's such a simple procedure, and we're talking about saving his life here."
"I'll talk to him when I get back to the hospital, see if I can address some of his concerns."
Meredith frowned. "What's wrong now?"
"Marley got off his leash and took off. I got to go!"
Meredith heard the line click on Derek's end. She hung up, worried about how Derek was handling the puppy. Things didn't look good for Marley.
Back at the pet store, Derek began looking for the wayward pup.
"Marley? Marley!" Derek walked down the next two aisles, hoping to see the little stinker somewhere. He had been sniffing around the display of dog beds earlier, and Derek checked there. But nope, no Marley to be found.
Suddenly, a loud crash was heard. "Oh no," he muttered, praying that it wasn't Marley. But he knew it was. As he walked over to the next aisle, he saw a display of canned dog food scattered all over the floor, with Marley in the middle of it all, happily wagging his tail.
Derek marched over to the puppy and scooped him up. "We should have named you Trouble," he muttered. "That's all you seem to be getting into lately."
That night, Meredith stopped by the trailer with cleaning supplies, and she and Derek worked on cleaning the "Marley Mess".
"No, Marley," Meredith said again as she swept the floor. Marley kept chasing the broom, thinking this was some kind of game.
"I got him," Derek said, picking the puppy up and placing him in the crate he had purchased earlier.
Marley whimpered. He didn't like being locked up, but he was going to have to deal with it.
"I'm sorry he ruined your place, Derek," Meredith apologized for about the tenth time.
"I'm sorry he ate your underwear," Derek replied, trying to lighten the mood.
"Derek, do you think…do you think the decision to get another dog was maybe a little premature?"
Derek glanced over at Marley, who was hard at work on trying to figure a way out of his temporary jail. "Maybe."
"Somehow I pictured this going a lot smoother than it has been. I thought it would fun, but instead it's just been…"
They were silent for a moment as Meredith continued sweeping, and Derek placed new sheets on his bed.
"I'll talk to Tyler tomorrow," Meredith said softly, and that was all they said on the matter that night.
Meredith and Derek woke up early, wanting to make sure they had plenty of time before Hurricane Marley got into something.
"Weather's nice. We should at least take him for a walk," Derek suggested.
"Yeah. Exercise will do us all some good."
"Great stress reliever," Derek added.
So they dressed for a walk, put a leash on Marley, and made their way to the park nearby. Marley surprised them both as he took to the leash well this time, happily trotting alongside them with his tail wagging behind. He became distracted only once when a squirrel caught his attention, but Derek tugged the leash and Marley continued on.
"Is this the same dog from yesterday?" Derek asked.
"He does seem…calmer today."
"Do you think it's safe to let him run for a while?"
Meredith smiled. "I don't see why not. Let him get tired out now so he'll nap later."
Derek released the leash from his collar, and Marley took off running. Not a mischievous run though, but a playful run as if he was thrilled to discover the world. Marley wagged his tail, panting happily as he sniffed around the bushes. He jumped at a few birds on the ground and ran around a tree chasing a bug.
After having his fun, Marley moved closer to the tree, lifted his leg, and proudly marked his territory.
"By George, I think he's got it," Derek said with a laugh.
"Now if he can just remember to poop outside as well!" Meredith added.
"Mommy, look! A puppy!"
Derek and Meredith's attention turned to a little dark-haired girl of about four or five running up the path. Before the child's mother could stop her, she was running to Marley to pet him.
"Maggie, no sweetie. You might scare him," her mother warned.
But Marley sat still, happily wagging his tail and sniffing around at the girl. He even gave her hand a couple of licks. The child rolled with laughter. "Look, Mommy! He likes me!"
"I'm sorry," the mother apologized to Derek and Meredith. "Is this your dog?"
"It's okay," Meredith said. "I think he likes her."
"Maggie loves dogs, puppies especially. Unfortunately since her father and I divorced, we had to move into an apartment and we couldn't keep Butters."
"Butters?" Derek asked with an amused expression.
"Her dog at her father's house. She misses him. He looks a lot like this little guy."
"I like your dog," Maggie said as she looked up to Derek and Meredith and smiled.
"Thank you," Meredith said.
"What's his name?" Maggie asked as she continued to pet him under his chin.
"Marley," Derek answered.
The mother smiled. "Oh yeah. Marley. The world's worst dog. I read that book. I don't know, for a Marley, he looks like a pretty good dog to me." The mother looked at her watched frowned. "Oh, look at the time. Come on, Maggie. It's time to go or Mommy will be late for work."
Maggie reluctantly stood up. "Bye, Marley!" she said with a little wave.
"Good luck with your dog. He's a keeper." The mother smiled, then took her daughter's hand.
"You know, he is just a baby," Meredith said, kneeling down to pet Marley. "He'll learn to be good….eventually."
Derek knelt down beside her, giving Marley a few pats. "And he hasn't been too difficult this morning."
"Maybe there's hope for you yet, Marley," Meredith said, making a kissy-face at the dog. Marley replied by licking her cheek.
"He was really good with that little girl, too."
Meredith nodded. "He was."
"You know, I bet he'll make a great family dog for us someday."
Meredith's head shot up, her eyes wide.
Derek laughed. "Relax, I'm not proposing." Yet, he thought. "I'm just saying…you never know. If one day in the future we have kids and we have this dog, he would make a great family pet. I'm just saying…"
Meredith smiled. "I think he would too."
"What the hell? Should we keep him?" Derek asked, but it was obvious what the answer was.
Meredith nodded. "Yeah. Let's keep him."
"You hear that, Marley? You're…" Derek looked around, seeing that Marley was nowhere in sight. "Where did he go?"
"I don't know. He was just here. Marley!"
They found him around the corner, splashing around in a mud puddle in a manner that would make a pig proud.
Derek and Meredith both sighed.
"Then again, the day is still young," Derek said.