John Grogan’s Puppy Treated for Hip Dysplasia

Labrador Retriever Woodson portrayed a young Marley in "Marley & Me.”

Posted: January 7, 2009, 5 a.m. EST

“Marley & Me” author John Grogan’s new Labrador Retriever Woodson – one of several puppies to portray a young Marley in the film adaptation – is being treated for severe hip dysplasia, Grogan writes in USA Today.

“We noticed that our pup seemed unable to do the things Lab puppies do so effortlessly – leap onto furniture or hop into the back seat of the car,” Grogan says.

A veterinarian delivered the bad news. “Both rear hips were so malformed, the balls and sockets did not connect,” Grogan says. “With each puppy step, bone was scraping bone.”

Grogan called the now 1-year-old dog’s breeder – “not to complain, just to inform,” Grogan says – who offered to exchange the dog for a new puppy.

“My wife and I thought about it overnight before realizing there was really nothing to consider,” Grogan says. “Woodson was part of our family now.”

Woodson is now on a special diet and a “regimen of cartilage builders and medicines” and sees an orthopedic specialist at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School, Grogan says. “Surgery might be in his future, but for now he’s comfortable and enjoys his life as a pampered house pooch. Woodson will never go hunting or hiking or even on long walks, and that’s OK,” Grogan says. “Some dogs are put on this Earth just to love you.”


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Laurel   Saint James, NY

5/4/2009 7:01:31 AM

In reponse to the "responsible bredder" knowing a pup might have dysplasia, I take exception. I'm not a bredder, but have had several labs in my life. I have OFA certs form all the parents of my pups and yes I have had a dog who had dysplasia. OFA certification can help with the odds, but is NOT a guarantee. Purebreed dogs always have defects that run in every bred, and chances of having problems. If you want to increase your chances of genetic problems, get and "American Mix" also called a mutt.

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Josh   Cave Creek, AZ

2/22/2009 9:06:44 PM

Our dog is 8 months and was diagnosed with severe hip dysplasia in both hips. There are surgery options available and I wonder why Grogan didn't take that route ...

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Lexi   Pittsburgh, PA

1/31/2009 2:52:08 PM

A responsible breeder would know PRIOR to the breeding if her pups were aimed for dysplastic hips. Proper OFA screening, not just of the parents but several generations prior, would eliminate this. Also, a responsible breeder would not just choose to take the puppy back but to assist in whatever healthcare costs are associated with their poor screening. If she lived in PA, that puppy would be covered under the PA Puppy Lemon Law which assists breeders and buyers both. I hope whomever purchased these pups for the movie knew what they were doing when dealing with this breeder!

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Brenda   Burlington, IA

1/7/2009 10:33:13 PM

Thats sad to hear I thought only adult dogs had that. Its nice to know he's being taken care of.

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