10 thoughts on “Murphy, My First Therapy Dog…

  • June 20, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    That’s such a touching story. I have never been home for the deaths of my cats although was present at two different friends’ cats passing.

    I really tried to control everything so I’d be there for my last pet in ’01
    but was fooled again! Hope I’m there for the current one.

    • June 20, 2010 at 9:47 pm

      Hello, Merlinaut…

      Though it’s a very poignant memory for me, I’m glad I was with Murphy at the end. I can understand why you want to be your current cat at the end of his/her life. It’s comforting to make their last moments gentle and loving.

      Like you, I was not present when any of our three Yorkshire’s died. Though they were really “family pets,” I was particularly close to our first, Derry, who died suddenly just two years after we got him. He was my special “therapy project” and I adored him. He had a heart attack when my cousin’s Black Lab puppy was playing with him and died instantly. I wasn’t there.

      Having a pet, especially when you live on your own, you become interdependent and the relationship is so intense. I, too, hope you’re there at the end.

      It’s hard, alas, to be able to control when that’s going to happen.

      I hope you are both healthy and together for a long, long time. Thank you, profoundly, for sharing with us. This must be a tender subject for you.


  • June 21, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Hi, Sandy,

    I think about the day when Buster will leave us. He is a very young 8 year old English Springer Spaniel. Buster loves the world and everyone in it – truly he does. He has never snarled, growled or snapped at another dog, cat, bird or human. He is a mischievious guy who seems to love to get into trouble when he thinks we are not giving him the attention he deserves and then he gives us the “What?” look. Like he has been simply minding his own business rather than being up to no-good. I could go on, we have so many pet stories, don’t we?
    But my point is, as you can’t live without a little friend, I’m afraid that when Buster departs the pain will be too great for me and I will not want to go through it again. I have heard it said that the joy he brings is worth the pain in the end. For many this may be true, but my pain seems to go so deep and even now, even as he is healthy- the thought of losing him brings tears to my eyes.
    There is a song playing on the radio that I hear quite often and one of the lines is “I’d rather hurt than feel nothing at all.” (or somehthing like that) For me, I would rather feeling nothing at all then the hurt.
    But maybe that’s just me.

    • June 21, 2010 at 9:19 pm

      Dear Sheila,

      Do not think about it.

      Dogs don’t worry about their future. They live in the present. Buster sounds healthy and delightful. I didn’t think I could live without Murphy and I will tell you, quite honestly, I still have him here, in a tiny casket with his name on it. Inside are his ashes. And when I move, he will move with me.

      He had a great life. My mother always says, to this day, “If there is reincarnation, I want to come back as Sandy’s dog.”

      Just love Buster. Celebrate him. The late and totally brilliant comedian George Carlin really had it right. You will always love Buster, no matter what happens to him eventually or how and when he goes. And he will. Most likely before you. He will always be in your heart, but when you’re ready, another dog will come into your life. And all dogs are entirely different, even if they’re exactly the same breed.

      You’ll see, when I follow up with my next instalment of my series. I’ll give you a hint. I now own two dogs. They are purebreds and first cousins. My male’s father and my female’s mother are not only brother and sister, they are litter mates. Yet, and I’m not kidding, you would never dream they are remotely related in any way. They don’t look alike. And they’re natures are utter opposites. They could be totally different breeds, but they are so closely related that they cannot be bred to each other.

      They’re just like human beings. Very different and that’s the joy of life with a dog. You love, you lose, you grieve and you keep on loving the species. They all share one thing. They love their owners so much, they live for us. All they want is our love. And that’s what we cannot stop giving. It’s a primal relationship.

      But I don’t want to give anything away. I’ve done some, though never enough, research on this relationship because it has been so central to my well-being.

      Just love Buster and like him, stay in the moment.


  • June 21, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    I regret we can’t have anything furry in our house, such as a dog or a cat. I’m allergic. I’d love a dog, a smaller sized dog, like a chihuahua (not due for the hip factor). Since I’m not working we wouldn’t have to worry about leaving it alone for too long. We’ve been talking about getting a chinchilla, they have a fur or rather a saliva/epidermal skin cells that is of yet turning out to be non-allergenic or at least people that are allergic doesn’t react as well. Just for me to have to get out of bed when I’m depressed and take care or it.

    Is it out of the question to have your yard fenced or try one of those invisible fences with collars that give a gentle “zap” if they cross it?

  • June 24, 2010 at 11:01 am


    I loved this post, but your response to Sheila will stick with me (as a dog owner) even longer:

    “Do not think about it. Dogs don’t worry about their future. They live in the present.”


    • June 24, 2010 at 12:26 pm


      Heartfelt thanks.

      Take care,

  • June 24, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Hi, Sandy,

    You have been busy, as usual – this can be good and this can be bad.
    Any way, I just want to claify that I don’t always think about the day of Buster’s departing. It sometimes comes about during a somber mood or when I happen to be reading a blog about dogs. There was the connection there, but no, generally I don’t think about Buster that way. No point in greiving something I haven’t lost yet. He is 8 years old now and I have only been upset by the thought once during that time – my mood definitely has a lot to do with it.
    It is true he doesn’t think about his life one bit – he doesn’t even feel sorry for himself when he is ill. Although he does look rather sad and lonely when everyone goes out the door and leaves him behind for the day – many times it’s his own fault – he doesn’t like the car! We can’t even bribe him to get in. It’s really quite comical to watch the event happen and he is so nervous he sheds fur all over the place – by the time we arrive at our destination we are usually all looking as furry as he is.

  • September 9, 2010 at 4:38 am

    That was truly awesome and inspiring. My dog is an aspirant dog therapist soon too, his previous owner been training him since he was young to be an agility show champion but sometimes failed because he’s so gentle and don’t focus totally just because he’s too friendly with people around.

  • September 9, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Hi, Hannah…

    Thank you for your kind comment and all the best of luck with your therapy-dog-to-be-but not-quite. You’re very lucky to have a dog who is so gentle and friendly. Not all dogs are meant to be therapy dogs, just like not all people are meant to be therapists.

    You’re dog must be a sensational companion.

    I’m thrilled you’ve joined our conversation.

    All the best to you both…


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