Monday, 8 September 2014


I 'm unsure what more I can say about my darling 16-year old creaky girl, now in the twilight of her doggy life.  I have blogged about her and our relationship with her several times.  She is a special girl but a very old one now having turned 16 this past weekend.

Dogs have been treated very differently in all of the places we have lived.  In Canada, they are typically kept indoors because of the cold climate, and generally considered part of the family.  As Murphy was young whilst there, her preferred place was on the corner of our green sofa prior to retiring to our bed at night.

Christmas 2003, J was 6-months old and Murphy was 5 years old

Murphy's green sofa

In Geneva, dogs are revered and accepted in cafes, restaurants, and (gasp) high end shops.  Still it was rare that we took Murphy to a restaurant because she has always been ruled by her nose and she would consequently visit other tables when our attention was elsewhere.  In her middle age, her preferred place was on our white sofa prior to retiring to our bed at night.

Murphy's white sofa

Young Murphy

Now we are in Australia, where dogs are expected to remain outdoors, where finding holiday accommodation that accept dogs (of course she comes with us, why would you even ask???) is a challenge, and it's generally considered cruel to keep a dog in the city (seriously???).  In her old age, her preferred place is on her doggy bed and it's where she stays at night too  since arthritis has halted her stair-climbing, and age-induced night terrors have made her prefer the kitchen with several lights left on to the dark of our bedroom.

12-year old Murphy at Apollo Bay

14-year old Murphy in Melbourne

It has been heart-wrenching stewarding her through this part of her life.  She is not the same dog she was either physically or emotionally.  Her bones ache, her knees hurt, and her snout is completely white.  She has experienced a handful of age-related seizures that shake her confidence.  She is nearly blind and deaf, her eyes weep (we've nicknamed her Alice Cooper), and her teeth are ground low.  She no longer cares to cuddle as it is hurts her bones and skin.  She is too weak to jump on the sofa or to walk very far or very fast.

15-year old Murphy last month in Margaret River ask why?  Because, she still finds joy in greeting us every morning with a whack of her tail.  Because, she still thrills to the myriad of smells her Labrador nose unfailing leads her to.  Because, she loves to eat and spins in circles of excitement before every meal.  Because she stares expectantly at me until I give her a cookie after every short walk.   Because she still remembers when we eat Salmon that she gets the Salmon skins, or Grandma's apple core, or the odd watermelon rind.  Because she couldn't get to her birthday pancake fast enough yesterday.  Because she is still happy to be near wherever we are.  Because neither of us are letting go yet.


Jen said...

Oh my gosh, the photo of little Jack Jack and Murph on the green sofa! And the white sofa that Nate invaded.

We are just paces behind you with Tia and I know how hard it must be for you all to watch her grow older. I'm so glad though that she still finds delight in the important things.

Sending very gentle hugs to a great girl

Love Us

DL NELSON said...

Ok, you made me cry, because I too have had to decide much too often when the quality of life means it is cruel to keep a pet-family member alive. In some cases they gave me the signal. In one case I made the decision too soon, another too late.

She is lucky to have you as her alpha family members.

She knows she is loved.

Melissa Miller said...

I wish my Honey had had a gentle exit. Her end was sudden, painful, and joyless. If it were time for Murphy I am confident you'll know.

Sheila Cook said...

Dear dear Murphy Murph. We love you and miss you and love that you give your family such joy. YOu're looking great, girl!!