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Marlina hugging dogs at sunset near Death Valley National Park

Looking beyond appearances.

Marlina is a quiet observant young Swiss-German girl with an effective, gentle, assertive nature. She is crystal clear on her interests and reaches for them with all her might. She has the coolest older brother named Finn.

She travelled to Cynthia’s with her parents and Finn on an extensive tour of the American Southwest. After a 5-hour drive from their Grand Canyon camping adventure, I expected Finn and Marlina to immediately reach for their phones for a virtual friend connection back home. But Marlina spotted my dogs. Here were 4 dogs that wanted to play. She was going to spend every minute possible with them….and she did…and they loved her for it.

Major lives at Cynthia’s. He is a large Boxer with cancer tumors, 3 legs, and not long to live. He is beloved to us, but not a pretty sight. I’m concerned as to how children might take to him, but Marlina didn’t blink. She simply connected. Major does not have a “story” behind his cancer, he is just happy every day.  Marlina has no story about Major’s appearance, she just loved him. To me, this is what makes Major so beloved and Marlina so lovely.

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