Murphy’s gone

He was only with us two weeks. It’s amazing how attached you can get in such a short period of time.

MurphyMurphy was a Wheaten Terrier. He was born with a heart murmur, so the breeder couldn’t sell him. At 4 months, he was just living in the kennel. We agreed to take him in so he could have a family. (We already had one of his sisters.)

He couldn’t run as hard as his big sister. Didn’t have the energy typical for the breed. His breathing was labored. If you put your hand to his chest, you could feel his little heart going whoosh-whoosh-whoosh.

But he was a sweet, loving pup, and he really soaked up the attention he hadn’t gotten living at the kennel. He hadn’t been around people much, so he was a timid soul. He was afraid of steps … not many of those at the kennel. He was afraid of doorways …  had a doggie door back home.

He was a little bit of a misfit. The health problem, for starters. That meant he couldn’t have a family. Not “worth” much, from a commercial perspective. Plus, not being used to the human company and being so timid about everything.

But he loved to plop down on your lap or lie next to you. He had the softest, silkiest coat. It was a pleasure to just sit and stroke him, and he was more than glad to let you.

He loved us without qualification, accepted us like we accepted him. He had the two best weeks of his short life with us, and we were blessed to be able to share the time he had left. We just didn’t realize how short it would be.

Yesterday morning, he wouldn’t lie down. His breathing was labored, but not unusually. You could tell he wasn’t feeling good. Then, in the late afternoon, his legs got wobbly and breathing got a little harder. We noticed a few blood drops where I had carried him inside, and we started looking for a vet who was open on Saturday evening.

He started hiccuping, and I bundled him into my arms and headed for the car. But he was gone before I got there. Not a whimper or a moan. He just slipped away.

We buried him in the back yard today. Beneath a maple sapling I had ready to plant. My wife found a little angel statuette to serve as his marker. It was way harder than I thought it would be.

Never underestimate how close you can get in a short period of time. Never take for granted that you have years or months or even weeks. Savor the moment.

Is that all a little silly? I mean, he was just a dog, after all.

I don’t care. We were budds. And I miss him.

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About Mark Kelly

Jesus follower, Bible reader, husband/father/son/brother/uncle, rider, hiker, snapshooter
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