Yesterday afternoon, we laid to rest our sweet dog, Murphy. Distemper virus had slowly attacked his nervous system, rendering his back legs and tail paralyzed, and was beginning to creep forward to his front legs and neck. Murphy came into our lives when we truly needed him, spreading love and laughter, and for that we will always be thankful.
When I spotted Murphy back in November, and decided that he was going to come home with us whether he liked it or not, Cormac was not pleased with my plans. We were not at all prepared for a puppy– no food, no kennel, no chew toys. I was staying pretty busy with work, but Cormac was pretty bored, as he was still unemployed and immobile because our car had not arrived yet. He knew that he would be “stuck” with the dog all day. Within one week, Murphy was practically joined to his hip. They went on walks, played video games, and serenaded each other all day. I could see Cormac’s spirits were lifted because of our new best friend. Murphy added variety to otherwise routine days of waiting for something to happen (our car to arrive, a job opportunity, etc.).
Murphy provided me with a morning companion. I am an early riser, which Cormac is most definitely not. Every morning, Murphy would get out of his kennel, stretch, yawn loudly several times, and then prance to the front door for our morning walk. We’d then eat our breakfast, sit on the couch and drink coffee, and catch up on what happened on the internet while we were sleeping. I had to do all of this one handed, because Murphy insisted that I hold whatever toy he wanted to chew on while we sat together. He was spoiled, yes.
No matter where you’re living, you have hard days. When you’re living away from home, it’s easy to shift the blame for the hard days onto the place you are. There were days that we could have easily spent all day in bed, or in our bathrobes on the couch. Murphy forced us to go outside and get moving, pulling us out of many bad days by exposing us to the sunshine and warm weather of Malabo, reminding us that this place is not the source of our gloom. His curious nose would find all sorts of weird bugs, plants, and unidentifiable objects. We learned a lot about our environment because of Murphy’s need to taste everything (Wait, Murphy! Don’t eat that! Crap. I wonder if that was toxic…). We wanted to expose him to new things to help with his fear of… well, everything… so we went exploring.
Even in the end, Muprhy was his spunky self, letting us know exactly how pissed off he was that he couldn’t climb the stairs or get on the couch by himself anymore. The only things that could make him happy were people food, bones, and cuddling with both of us on the couch. He would not settle for just one of us, and would scoot around barking until the missing party appeared and focused all their attention on him. We grew so accustomed to our noisy dog, that the silence that sets into a house after the loss of a pet seems amplified. We hear every little noise: the electrical closet’s buzz, the refrigerator’s hum, the click of the coffee maker. And every once in a while, we hear a phantom snore of a pup. We sure do miss you, Murphy dog.