Saturday, July 24, 2010


This week was the third anniversary of the death of Murphy. Dog-people sometimes talk about our "friends" and sometimes non-dog-people scoff at such an idea. How can a dog be a genuine friend? That's silly. To them, maybe. I pity them for that.

Murph was a special being. Oh, sure— every dog owner says that about their doggie pals. And I have no doubt they are right. I've lived with too many fine dogs to doubt it in the least.

But even so, Murph was different. If I were a Buddhist I'd say he was a bodhisattva. And who's to say he was not. Not a day goes by that I do not think about him and wish he were still here with us.

The two pictures are of him as a young sprout, full of vim and vigor, and just before his death, when the cancer had really eaten into him.

Nobody who ever got to know him thought he was anything but very, very special. He'll be with me 'til my own last day.


Kansas Scout said...

I understand. Or maybe I should say, I can empathize and relate. My years of adventures with my pal Speck (pointer) created a bond that cannot be broken. I have not always been a dog person but now that I am it is unimaginable to be without one now and of course, I dread the eventual parting of my Speck and I.
I am sorry you lost your special dog friend/buddy/partner.

Brigid said...

Near this spot
Are deposited the Remains
of one
Who possessed Beauty
Without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
And all the Virtues of Man
Without his Vices.

When some proud son of man returns to earth,
Unknown to glory, but upheld by birth,
The sculptor's art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below.
When all is done, upon the tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his master's own,
Who labors, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonored falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the soul he held on earth --
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power --
Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy smiles hypocrisy, thy words deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye, who perchance behold this simple urn,
Pass on -- it honors none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend's remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one -- and here he lies.

Rio - consider this a hug from someplace flat but with a warm furry heart nearby.

Rio Arriba said...

Thank you, friends.

I never assume that there aren't others who can understand and feel these ties that are so important to us.

Nor do I take for granted their kindness.

And, B., I always thought that that was probably the best thing Byron ever wrote— but then I would, wouldn't I? Thanks for reminding me.

Anonymous said...

Brigid: How beautiful and always timely.

Rio: We lost our 13 year old Husky about the same time to cancer. Difficult, painful decisions. We have two more furry friends, but still hold places in our hearts for our previous loves.

Dann in Ohio

Mr.B said...

Dude, we are the losers, we with the longer lives which causes us to see our special friends go first. THey escape to the Rainbow bridge, to frolic and play until the time comes when they can once again greet us.

We are left to grieve our pain at the loss we must endure each day of our existence without them.

You are not alone. Many of us feel the way you do. This does not lessen your pain, but know that many of us feel for you.

Be strong.

Borepatch said...

Brigid pointed me to your post, and while I didn't know Murphy, I think I know something of your pain. This month was the 16th anniversary of the passing of my German Shepherd, Jack. Time dulls the throb some, but you never forget when you are blessed with one of those friends. We've had many dogs since, but not one like Jack.

Or Murphy, it seems.

Brigid stole the quote I was going to use, but I'm sorry for your loss, and I thank you for bringing back the memories of Jack.

Christina LMT said...

I'm also very sorry for your loss. As someone dealing with a landlord/roommate who is emphatically NOT a dog person in the way I understand it, this post drives the meaning home even more. Thank you so much for sharing!

My pups are only three, but they've definitely calmed down a lot already over the past two years. My mind shies away from imagining a world without them in it.

And I'm moving in less than a month. To live with someone who is at least as much of a dog person as myself. My pups and I will feel much more at home there.

Lin said...

If I could discover an elixir to remove the sorrow of losing a friend like Murphy without dimming that deep appreciation and love for them, I would surely give the recipe away for free rather than make the millions of bucks it would generate. And I would die with great satisfaction if this were to be my one, my only contribution to humanity.

Eleven years later, I still mourn the passing of my white shepherd / coyote friend. She was diagnosed with bone cancer in her foot and kidney failure at age 12 and the remaining life estimate of 3 months was unbearable. Twelve years may seem long for a dog of her size but I refused to let her go. I started making her food with medicinal herbs added. The kidney failure reversed and she made it another 6 years before all the kings horses could do her no more good. How could I be angry that her time finally came at 18 years - but I was. I would have gladly traded my own years (even at a dog's seven year exchange rate) to keep her with us. Maybe I had done that already - still without regret if I did. She had apparently been on loan to me by the luminous figure that we saw her meet up with late at night in her later years. She was definitely as loved and missed on the other side of reality as we missed her on ours. No doubt, Murphy had an old friend waiting anxiously on the other side for his return, too.

Her departure took part of my heart and, ironically, the remainder of that heart was left behind in Rio Arriba. Like finding a true human love, being given an exceptional dog ally is something that few others may ever experience. To find both amid an otherwise tough and cursed life is affirming that you are not alone and forgotten in this universe. Someone shared their precious Murphy with you for what seemed an endless absence; how cool, how loving is that? Me, I can't wait to thank that luminous person for sharing her with me and for immense patience during my successful delaying tactics. Yeh, my bad.

Shannon said...

What a beautiful tribute to a forever friend. I have never lost a dog to passing, but it is an impending event with a pack of 5...the oldest and largest being my very best and most faithful friend. It is not a time I look forward to. Thank you for giving me insight as to how he will always be with me no matter how many days go by. It is a comfort and a sorrow at the same time.

Miz Minka said...

I also have lost several dogs to cancer, the last one five years ago. My sweet Cody (a Hovawart), a gentler soul never lived. He was safe even around baby chicks. Losing him left a gaping hole in my heart that I expect will never be filled. So yes, I too understand about the very special bond of friendship that sometimes happens between an extraordinary dog and a (wo)man, and how short our time with these four-legged companions is. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Miz Minka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SHARON said...

I also have lost several friends and two stand out. Barney was part lab and part something else. A greater 'cow dog' you would never find. He died in my mother's arms. Abby was a yellow lab and died in my arms. I saw this incription on a grave marker where my mother is buried....
"When you get to heaven, all the dogs you've ever loved are there to greet you." I like that.

Carteach0 said...

We grow to love our friends, who love us back just the way we are. They ask for so little, except to be with us, and share our time.

When they leave us, a piece of us leaves with them..... and thats all they ever asked for.



calamityjane313 said...

no love is greater then a dog's. they come into our lives for a reason. maybe you are lonely, maybe you are not at your best. they will sit and listen when nobody else will. they snuggle with you when you most need a hug. they love you with no conditions, no rules to get their love. they are friends,companions, protectors and most of all lovers to some point.
your tribute to murphy is a sign of the love he left with you.

TrueBlueSam said...

I have buried many pets over the years; the hardest was my 16 year old Schipperke in 1992. I often see these departed pets in dreams, and that has become a welcome comfort.