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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Our Dog Murphey

As I work on my book about rescued and "found" animals, from time to time I'll share stories about the dogs we have had in our family (I won't say "owned."  Pets have more integrity than that!)

So today I'll tell you about our wonderful dog


One afternoon a strange dog wandered into our yard.  A mix of tan and dark brown fur, her front and back end seemed to belong to two different dogs.  She seemed to be put together by a committee.  We decided that was one dog too many for us, and ignored it.  The following day our son Dyson heard a great commotion of barking dogs down the hill from us, where the town ran its waste treatment plant, and kept stray dogs there temporarily.  He went down to investigate and found a number of dogs there, with one dog halfway under the fence and another trying to pull him back by his tail.  And in that company was the dog who had showed up at our place!  He reported on this, but we did not act on that information, hoping that somehow the local vet (who would be receiving these dogs soon to hold them for a few days) would find a home for the dog.  By that time we knew she was a female.

Guess who showed up the next day in our garage?  We called her to us, and Charlie happened to see her as well.  “No more dogs!”  he said in exasperation.  And then he looked at the dog again.  “Don’t show it to me again.   You two make the decision.  Dyson and I looked at each other, put the dog in our car, and off to the vet’s we went for a check-up, shots and whatever else might be needed to get the newcomer cleared for living with us.  On the way we passed Murphey Street, named for the founder of our town, and said together, “Murphey is her name!"

We did make one attempt to find a good home for her, but the family who took her returned her saying she barked and barked at their parakeet and this just wouldn’t work.  So Murphey became our dog.  She had little to offer us in return but her loyalty, her permission for us to love her as much as we could, and to let her lick our toes.  Murphey got into some scrapes along the way, such as the time she trotted down our long driveway one afternoon so covered with river mud that all we could see were two eyes and a nose.  It took over an hour to clean her up.  Another time she and Winston went under our house via the crawl space, after some critter, and Murphey was afraid to come back out.  She remained there all night, and we could hear her bark every so often as the sound traveled along our heating ducts.  Charlie had to crawl under the full length of the house the next morning, past various dead rodents along the way.  But finally Murphey was once again with us and the entrances to the crawl spaces were barred.  A day or so later we discovered one act of bravery Murphey performed while under our house:  the strong smell of dead snake came through our heating vents.

She loved to dig out under the dog lot fence, with our dogs Winston and our Westie Zelda to roam the town. In fact, she was an expert at getting through any fenced area we had around our yard.  But she survived all her escapades, lived to be about 13, and died peacefully at home.  She had a good life.

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