It's no secret that Murphy was old. He's graced this blog for over eleven years and he was two when he first came to live at the Lair. back in December of 2010. He was a different sort of Shepherd than those that came before him. He was strong-willed and stubborn due to a history of abuse and neglect and he marched to his own beat. I never really tamed him, but we became friends and we understood and respected each other.
His health had been going down for some time. Like Lagniappe before him, he suffered from Canine Degenerative Myleopathy, a disease that slowly eats away at the nerves in his spine. He managed well but he was getting slower and weaker over time, even as he compensated for his declining back legs with more muscular forelegs. His eyesight was going and his hearing was gone, but I was slow to notice because he took his cues from the other dogs, mainly Belle, when it came time to bark at someone.
When she left last month, his decline became increasingly apparent. I never posted it here; it was just between us. And he never stopped trying. Even as it got harder for him, he soldiered on through sheer willpower and orneriness. That dog didn't know what "quit" meant.
Still, the writing was on the wall. I could see it and he knew it. He spent more time close to me and he slept against me every night the last few weeks, something he's never done before. I promised him I'd get him home, and I prayed to God for just that: let me get him home one more time.
Well yesterday we made it home. He'd had a rough night the night before but he was still up and walking yesterday morning. He was awake and alert the whole drive home from Seguin, Texas. But when I pulled into the driveway, he couldn't get out of the car without my help. He struggled up the steps, crossed the threshold, and collapsed on the floor. His floor. He was home but this was as far as he was going. I knew it in an instant. This was serious.
The vet was closed already but the office manager is a personal friend. She came in minutes to help with him, and then she called the vet at home and got an order for meds, which she went back to the office to get. Other friends came and helped me get him back onto his bed, and we moved it to his spot by the window. He couldn't get up again, We both knew it.
Last night I slept next to him on the couch, his bed moved so that he was right below me. When he'd stir, I'd pet him and talk to him, and give him more pills. And this morning, when the vet opened, I loaded him up and took him in. It was hard, but he's been my friend for a long time, and I owed him this. I stayed with him until he was gone, gone at the hands of a vet staff who he knew and who knew and liked him. He was my friend.
Eleven years. Thirteen years old. And I'm sad that it's over but I thank God that He blessed me with this wonderful companion for so long. Right now I believe that he's with Belle again across that Rainbow Bridge. And with Lagniappe. And Oliver. And Brandon who came before them. My Pack. Waiting for me.
And until we're reunited again, Merida and I will still have each other. And you'll get Merida stories and pics. I promise.
I meant what I said in the email.ReplyDelete
Tears in my eyes - So sorry for your loss. Though we never met, like many of your readers, I felt like I knew him over these years from your stories. Bless you for immortalizing and sharing him with us.ReplyDelete
My absolute deepest condolences. To lose two buddies that quick is hard. He was the very definition of "A Damn Good Dog". May he Rest in Peace....ReplyDelete
I am so sorry for your loss. No platitudes will help you feel the pain less, but I hope the good memories make the pain a bit easier to deal with.ReplyDelete
Godspeed Murphy. Say hello to my girls when you can.ReplyDelete
And, yes, sorry for your loss too. The hardest thing I've done in a hard life is take that final trip with them. But that's what good people do.
I had a premonition before I clicked open your post just now. I'm sorry for your loss, especially coming so soon after the loss of Belle.ReplyDelete
I remember when Murphy came into your life and Belle as well. You gave us a gift with the stories of your pack and they became our pack by proxy. I'll go out on a limb and say that everyone who has met them through your words is mourning with you right now.ReplyDelete
It helps me to know that you had friends to help you and that were with you.
Like you said, Belle and Murphy, Lagniappe and the rest of your pack are waiting patiently at the Rainbow Bridge.
And little Merida is with you now to help you, and that's a goodness.
They are all lucky that they found you.
What beautiful pictures and memories of Murphy. I hope he finds our Lucky, Luke, Lana, Tashi, Bleu and Jesse to run with. All dogs are wonderful but there is something very special about male GSDs. Our thoughts are with you - we know very well how much this hurts. Give Merida lots of attention because she feels it too.ReplyDelete
For the love of a dog...ReplyDelete
I remember him well, and his hatred of anybody wearing a plaid shirt! :-) And the cats next door in WV... LOL Condolences my friend, and yes, know he waits for you.ReplyDelete
I'm so sorry for your loss. Looking at those pics of such fine dog frens, My heart aches. I know that day is coming with mine, but it's a ways off. At least I like to tell myself that. And even though you know it's coming, it doesn't make it any less painful.ReplyDelete
So sorry for your loss. Our four-legged children are just as much family as the two-legged members. A dog's love is unconditional. I still miss all of the dogs that have passed through my family. I wish my and my wife's health were such that we were still able to properly care for a dog. Give Merida extra attention as she is also mourning.ReplyDelete
So sorry to hear this, he was a good dog.
My condolences. The hardest part...ReplyDelete
May we all be reunited again in the end.
I have a few I'll be thrilled to see again.
I'm so sorry for your loss. I share your grief; you were a special girl, Kaelyn.ReplyDelete
Run free Belle, Murph and Kaelyn. Stay strong, ML.
The final duty. Damn it sucks having to do it. They deserve no less than for us to be with them at the end. I feel for you. Been there and will have to be there again I am sure.ReplyDelete
Loosing friends is really hard... they leave an empty spot for as long as our memory lasts. Best to youReplyDelete