Matthew Stafford and Wife Kelly Mourn Passing of Beloved Dog Marley

by Suzanne Halliburton

This is heart-breaking news. Matthew Stafford and his wife, Kelly, are mourning the loss of the family’s dog, a loyal, comforting soul who had been with the couple longer than their human daughters.

In fact, Kelly called Marley “my first baby girl,” who was there before the birth of the couple’s four daughters.

Kelly announced the death of of Marley, a large fluffy canine who was 13 years old.

And she wrote with the same emotions we humans feel when our best dog friends leave us. It’s always too soon. Stafford posted on Instagram: “Why is it such a surprise and so hard? Dogs aren’t supposed to outlive us, we know it when we make them part of our family. So why does it feel like it’s never coming?”

The photo she chose to honor Marley’s memory was one that showed Kelly cuddling with Marley in a huge dog bed. Marley’s chin rested on Kelly’s thigh. The dog lived with Kelly from Georgia to Detroit and then to California, when Matthew Stafford joined the Los Angeles Rams. Marley also was there when Kelly had brain surgery to remove a tumor and through the birth of four children.

“I woke up this morning without a face in front of me that I’ve been used to waking up to for the past 13 years,” Kelly wrote. “The room didn’t feel as warm or cozy. I sat up and saw the empty dog bed at my side and the tears started rolling again. Marley was my first baby, my first baby girl.”

Kelly Stafford said that when Matthew left for the NFL — he was the No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft — the dog kept her company. The Staffords met in Athens, Ga. when Matthew was quarterback for the Georgia Bulldogs and Kelly was a cheerleader.

Marley was a combo of Kelly’s child and best friend. She detailed all the ways Marley served as the best kind of dog, one who always was there when she needed a cuddle or a kiss on the nose.

“When Matthew left for the NFL, I found her, and she immediately filled Matthew’s side of the bed,” Stafford wrote. “She became my pillow, not just when sleeping, but also the pillow I used that collected all my tears. Her fur was soaked far too often by my tears, but she never seemed to mind.
“I remember going through infertility struggles and it was like she knew every time my period came… she would just come lay her head on my lap and let me cry on her.

“I know it shouldn’t be a surprise, but I still can’t believe she is gone. I’m devastated and this house just doesn’t feel as full as it once did. Thank you Marley, for loving me unconditionally no matter how many mistakes I made. Thank you for filling my life with love and joy for the past 13 years. I love you so much and miss you more than you could ever understand.”

Kelly posted several photos of Marley. You can see them here and here. She then posted another tribute that showed just how much this sweet dog meant to Kelly and Matthew Stafford.