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.
13 thoughts on “Murphy Stevens”
What a great dog! Love that description of his squirrel stalking! I’m sure he’ll be missed for a long long time.
Great post, sorry to hear about Murt.
You gave Murt a really good life – hunting, swimming, boating, good friends, a job to do (putting you to bed each night), a cabin (in the woods, I presume; not every dog gets THAT), as well as love and admiration. I’ve lost several animal friends over the years, but I really don’t think they ever leave me. Our molecules got mixed up together, and we became part of each other. Murt is part of you now, as you were part of him. This is a wonderful tribute. Thank you.
That’s such a lovely, comforting thought, Andrea. I’ll always remember that.
We’ve had two long time dog friends. One passed away on his own, with the other we had to help him along the way. Taking him to the final vet visit was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. They grow on you don’t they?
They sure do. We don’t have any kids and I work from home, so I feel lucky to be able to have my dogs about all day.
Lovely post Krista…You gave Murt a really good and comfortable life. I know how you might have felt..I lost my best friend too, my cat, Sandy. She was quite young – only 5 years. After three years I still miss her terribly but she is a part of me now. Everything I do is dedicated to her. When a leaf falls from a tree or a butterfly flutters away, I see her in them in everything around me. Murt can never go anywhere, he is with you and always be.
We love our pets in a way that’s not really describable. Personally, I believe that what we love most is their total trust in us, while being so vulnerable … All animals are quite wonderful; but those who share our lives – little people who love us. How could anyone not break a heart when losing one …?
His photos are just the best and reading about him made me choke up a bit. Nicely written.
Ah, thanks. We’ll always miss him.
Oh gosh. I’ve just followed a link here from your ‘follow’ of my blog and this post touched a nerve. I’ve have just re-discovered my 1996 diary entry from when we got our dog. She’s no longer with us and it made me a bit sad until I read on about her filling the house with chewed toilet paper. They’re funny little creatures :)
All of these comments are so touching. Krista, I really feel flattered that such an advanced blogger and instructor has found my site worth following, and I so appreciate that. I’m enjoying your posts and I definitely now know that we share an enormous and pure respect for our animal brethren, which is a topic near and dear to my heart. Best of luck to you, and I love to think that Murt is watching over you from a safe place.