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Murphy, a Dog that Heals

The love between a man and a dog is unique and sometimes defies description or explanation.  Murphy and my husband, Jym, share such a relationship.  We had recently lost our small English Bulldog to lung cancer, and our home seemed so quiet and “empty.” Little did we know that a dog that heals both people and animals would soon grace our lives.

Jym and I are “dog people” and had always owned one or two furry canines.  This new way of life was foreign to me, even though Jim had decreed “no more dogs” due to our ages.

Just over 4 years ago, Jym had endured 2 surgeries and a serious MRSA infection.  To say he had been sick would be a gross understatement.  The man suffered greatly, in large part due to negligence on the part of a physician.  A change in specialists, followed by weeks of intense, daily infusions of strong antibiotics took care of the infection.  And then followed weeks of regaining his strength.

During his convalescence, I happened to read a notice on a local social media website.  A man wanted to rehome his dog – free to a good home.  Now, where I live in Florida, that statement would draw the attention of dog fighters like a candy store would attract children.  The dog lover in me could not allow that ad to continue. I contacted the owner and arranged to meet at a nearby park.  Yes, I mentioned the story of the pup needing a home to my husband and he continued to say, “No more dogs.”

At the appropriate time, I announced to Jym that I was going to see a man about a dog and invited him to go with me.  That invitation was met with a glare.  I repeated it and said I was going, regardless.  When I walked out the door, guess who was right beside me!

Meeting Murphy

I remember thinking, as we approached the young man and the dog, that this little animal was a strange mix of breeds.  With his Labrador-type body, a Dachshund face and the shortest little legs, Murphy was quite a sight!

We stood there talking to his owner and fell in love with the friendly pup and invited them to come to our home for a visit.  That visit took place a week later, because the young man was checking out every interested person.  I placed a folded blanket on the sofa and invited Murphy to jump up and sit down.  That little dog looked like he had won the lottery!  He clearly wasn’t used to having access to the furniture.  The visit went well, and we learned more about the dog.  His owner clearly loved him and wanted to find the perfect situation for his pet, because his work required him to be out of the country for an extended period.  Two people who work from home certainly fit the dog well.  About a week after that, Murphy arrived to live with us.

Not My Dog After All

The intent was that Murphy would become my dog.  I walked him, fed him and showered him with attention, and he loved it.  But Murphy’s wishes were not the same as mine. He quickly proved that he was a dog that heals, as well as loves. As Jym continued to recover from his illness, Murphy stayed by his side, sat in his lap (and at 45 lbs, this boy was a bit large for a lapdog!), and wanted to sleep with him.  Because most of our previous dogs were Great Danes and an oversized Weimaraner, Jym wasn’t interested in having a dog in his bed.

One afternoon, I opened the bedroom door and found Murphy curled up in our bed, as close to Jym as he could get!  I knew my fur-baby had chosen his master, and the man who wanted “no more dogs” was just as smitten.

Helping His Master Heal

Jym’s physical therapy consisted of walking.  Every time he went outside for a walk, Murphy went with him.  It wasn’t long before their combination of short walks added up to 3 miles per day.  Both Murphy and his master grew stronger.

Jym is a business marketing specialist and LinkedIn expert and spends several hours a day at his computer.  His faithful companion rested in the chair beside his desk or played with his toys in the office.  When Jym left the condo, Murphy cried.  Nothing I could do consoled the little guy, except for the occasional treat.  Murphy is very food-motivated and will do anything for a treat.  He is also more than a little spoiled!

Living in our home required Murphy to undergo a learning curve.  Initially, he showed interest in Lucy, our senior, Siamese-Tabby mix.  But the first time he tried to steal one of her toys, the claws came out, and Lucy swiped Murphy in the eye.  One eye infection with antibiotics later, and he never repeated that mistake.

Murphy likes big dogs and seems to believe he is one of them.  When it comes to smaller dogs, he is picky.  We learned to tread carefully when approaching other animals.  While I can’t say that Murphy listens well to me, Jim only needs to look at him when he growls at another dog, and the growl quickly becomes a happy yip. 

One day, Jym was told by a former pit bull breeder that she was certain Murphy is part pittie, due to certain markings and shape of his head, as well as his self-assured demeanor.  Along with this, we now believe our little dog is also a mix of dachshund, heeler, and a herding dog of some kind.  In other words, he’s a typical Florida farm dog.

Murphy herds people and cats with the best of the heeling breeds.  Lucy doesn’t appreciate his efforts but she hasn’t been able to stop him from lightly “encouraging” her to go where Murphy wishes.

If one believes in a dog’s ability to heal and provide a form of therapy to his human, Murphy definitely proved that to be true!  He openly exudes love and affection.  There is no question in my mind that he played a huge role in my husband’s recovery.

Murphy, the Cat Healer

But there is another side to this little dog who unexpectedly came into our lives.  In 2019, our daughter passed away.  Lucy, the cat, was her constant companion and devoted her life to her human.  While Lucy had tolerated Murphy, there was no real love lost between the two animals.

After Elisa died, Lucy cried and paced the condo.  It was Murphy who provided the healing she needed.  Today, Lucy is approaching 18 years, and she and Murphy seem attached to each other.  They often share the chair in Jym’s office, curled up together.  Lucy bathes Murphy like she would a kitten, and he  allows it. 

How ironic that an odd little dog in need of a new home could change and improve 3 lives as Murphy, the little dog that heals, did for us!

3 thoughts on “Murphy, a Dog that Heals”

  1. Hmm, it seems like your site ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer, but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any recommendations for newbie blog writers? I’d appreciate it.

    1. Tyler, all I can tell you is to write. And keep writing. If you really want to get published, submit your work to publishers, agents or editors. Buy and updated copy of “The Writers’ Handbook.” Lots of info there. Look online for publishing help. For a blog, you will find plenty of info online for starting one. Read others in your genre for ideas. Every writer is different and uses different methods and techniques. Good luck to you.

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