Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Three Dogs

When I opened my eyes this morning, my first thought was of my chocolate Lab, Murphy. Last night, after being part of a therapy dog program, we came home and Murphy started rolling around on the floor (not all that unusual) and pawing at his eyes (unusual). I called him to me and was shocked to see that everything surrounding both eyes was swelling - fast. Left unattended I was pretty sure those beautiful eyes would have swollen shut. I gave him Benedryl and called the emergency vet. On the vet tech's advice, I increased the dosage of Benedryl and kept a close eye on Murph overnight. The vet visit this morning confirmed that he had an allergic reaction to something unknown - likely hand cream or soap - that transferred from someone's hands to Murphy's face. My boy will be fine. But then Facebook reminded me just how fragile it all is.

My Murphy in full wag as a therapy dog.

The first Facebook entry that saddened me was Nancy's. She posted that one of her rescue dogs, Duke, passed away yesterday. Her words:  
Duke is in good company now. He's crossed The Bridge this afternoon to join Laser and Bronte, Robin and Jack and so many more (shouldn't have started naming them with my short memory). He was truly a good boy and all that we could have ever wanted.
And then there were these two words from Luke Robinson: "Nasal cancer". Luke and The Boys - his two beautiful Great Pyrenees - walked from Austin to Boston to raise awareness of canine cancer. It seems that no sooner did that journey end than another one began: Murphy's cancer diagnosis

One of my favorite pictures of Luke, Hudson & Murphy.
So this post is a reminder to honor our dogs. All of them. The ones we share our lives with. The ones we care for and worry about and love. And the ones who have gone on before us.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Murphy & The Soldiers

My therapy dog, Murphy and I walked through the automatic doors, exiting the veteran's hospital. Several middle-aged men had gathered just past the "no smoking beyond this point" sign. Some were in wheelchairs. Spotting Murphy, smiles erupted on those soldier's faces. We stopped to say hello. Murphy is a big lovable chocolate Lab, who, at five years still has the joy of a puppy in him. When he looks up and smiles at you, it's all over. As we moved closer, hands reached out to pet him. They talked to him: "How you doin', fella?" "Thanks for coming here today." "I had a Lab once ..." There was laughter and high fives (with Murph) and stories about dogs past and present. Someone asked who we had visited that day. "Guys in polytrauma," I answered. "What's that?" one of them asked. "Head injury," another answered. Sadness swept over the group - all of whom had been severely injured in combat in one war or another. "So young. Just kids," one of them said. Silence. Then Murphy nudged one of them with his nose. Private thoughts were washed away when they once again focused on my dog. After a few minutes, we reluctantly said our goodbyes. I thanked them for their service to our country. They thanked me and Murph for our visit. In the car, Murphy slept. My thoughts ran to sacrifice and broken bodies and lives cut short. And heroes.