Murphy came into my life by chance in early 2010. “Chance” in the sense that I went to adopt a different puppy that I thought was available. When I arrived though, that puppy had already been adopted. Feeling a bit disappointed, I walked away with my head down. However, suddenly, a tiny light blonde-haired puppy jumped up, and I saw him out of the corner of my eye. I looked over, our eyes locked, and it was an instant connection. He kept jumping up and down, howling and smiling. This little guy chose me! We were both so excited that I arrived so we could start our lives together. He even tinkled on me a little (see below sweatshirt) and I probably tinkled a little too thinking back.
10 years later and what a fantastic life it’s been! Together we’ve travelled from Canada down to Key West and all sorts of places in between. We loved a good road or boat trip and Murphy was always up for seeing new things and meeting new people. So full of life and energy with a touch of defiant and scrappy Scottish attitude. Many times, he was the star of the show. Strangers were always drawn to him and he loved to say hi. Chatting them up by jumping and howling in a jovial way. He brought many, many smiles and a lot of laughter to so many people.
For me, he brought even more. More than I could ever communicate. Simply stated, we shared an unconditional love that travelled both ways.
Over the years he has acquired many different nicknames that fit his personality. Little man, Dimple Butt, Murph man, Smurf, Mouthy Murphy, and sometimes...little jerk when he was up to mischief. But most of all, he was known simply as Murphy. He loved playtime, cuddles, and his on again/off again girlfriend Pearl. Loved carrots too....but most of all, he loved his best friend Riley. So much happiness and so much warmth. So much love.
However, there is no love without an eventual loss. For us, the loss started in mid-December 2019. Murphy sounded like he caught a little cold. Didn’t think much of it. Figured, I’ll watch him and see if he just shakes it off. He’ll be ok. After all, this guy is tough as nails and will be around for a long time. Nothing could have been further from reality.
Shortly after, as the symptoms remained, it was discovered that he had inoperable stage IV oral melanoma. The surgeon said there no way to remove the cancer, and there are no treatments that will meaningfully or positively extend his life. He then stated Murphy will deteriorate quickly, and the cancer will go after his organs like a freight train. My heart stopped. Everything stopped. Silence. The conversation ended with “I’m incredibly sorry but it’s time to think of end-of-life services before Murphy suffers tremendously.”
The shock and unbearable emotions are too great to describe. Three weeks was all it took. How could this be? How could this come out of nowhere? How do I fix this? Why wasn’t I given a chance to save him? What did I do wrong? The anger I felt was incredible. But reality sets in and then the darkest of sadness takes hold.
My friend. My fierce protector. My partner in crime. My wingman. My Murph man.
I’m so lucky that 10 years ago, you picked me. Thank you so much for the gift. Thank you for an incredible experience that I wouldn’t give up in a million years. It’s been a great trip. My final gift to you is an ending without suffering. An ending with the dignity you deserve.
I will always love, miss, and remember you….my little man.
Take me now, take me now
For I will face Summerlands (Heaven)
By earth and wind and fire and rain
I’m on my way. Remember me.
Take me back to the earth
from which we spring and must return.
I shall cross over, now it’s my turn.
I’m not afraid. Remember me.