May 24th, 1995 – June 20th, 2012
Murphy was a part of our family for 17 years. We brought him home at eight weeks old. He was born on May 24th, 1995, the runt of his litter. I remember the day we went out to a place on Henderson Highway to look at a litter of Bichon puppies. They’d named him Sam at birth, to tell him apart from his brothers and sisters. I remember picking him up and tickling his belly. He was so small his entire body fit in the space between my elbow and wrist. Here’s what he looked like at about 12 weeks:
As a puppy, he loved to play fetch with his ropey, and chew ever so gently on his stuffed bear. He taught us what a FRAP was, running dozens of circles around the coffee table at top puppy speed only to flop on the carpet five minutes later, happy and exhausted. At the time, we had two Siberian Huskies, who lived outside. Mike would walk all three, with the little white dog leading the pack.
Murt would “put me to bed.” After I went to sleep, he’d hop off the bed and run into the living room and start tugging on Mike’s sleeve, wanting to play.
When Murt was a young dog, he loved to stalk squirrels. He’d lie on the deck at the cabin and watch for squirrels and chipmunks that came to eat the seeds that fell out of the bird feeder. Eventually a squirrel would appear, and Murt would ever so slowly attempt to creep down the stairs, and try to sneak up on it. It took every ounce of willpower he had not to charge them, and he quivered the whole time, this white snowball slowly stalking through the green grass. Murt learned that when the rodents fled they always ran to the bushline and he started to flank them. He never did catch one, but he never tired of trying. Here’s Murt waiting for a squirrel to appear:
Murt loved the lake and especially the boat. He was a great swimmer and enjoyed every minute in the water, the tip of his tail sticking out as a rudder.
Here’s Murt on the boat, just waiting to head out for a ride.
With the sun on his face and the wind in his hair, in his favorite spot on the boat.
Over the years, he slowed down a bit, as old dogs do. He needed help with stairs as his vision faded. His hair thinned along with his body. His hearing was all but gone. We’d been softening his food with water and warming it for him for several months to make sure he was eating enough. We made sure he got the cushiest spots to relax in the sun.
He’d been doing well until this past Sunday. He stopped eating and his breathing became rapid and raspy. When he began having trouble standing, his hind legs slipping out from beneath him, we knew it was time to do the right thing and take him to the vet. It’s hard to lose your best friend.