Friday, July 20, 2007


This was our first baby:

Murphy was found in Highland Park, a rougher burb of LA (you've got street cred, Jen!) and a fitting home for the 4 mo. old scrappy, sweet boy who was scooped up wearing a collar so tight it was about to choke him. The couple who found him fell in love but couldn't keep him, and after random emails made their way across the internet to me, Caleb and I picked up our feisty, pukey-in-the-car bundle of love and brought him home to stay.

And there was much love, and fighting with cats, and working with trainers, and chasing squirrels, and charming passersby, and nearly getting a doggy agent and the moving to Memphis and trying to kill the UPS guy and lunging at people on walks while I was pregnant but promises that no matter what, we were a family and he was loved and the growing denial that something was wrong but nothing was going to change. And then Harlow happened.

We had been warned that your pets become just that after the birth of your child, just pets, not the sweet baby that you rolled around with and took 1000s of pictures of in stupid hats and bored people at dinner parties with stories about how CUTE he was at the dog park (except you can get away with those stories in LA because no one has kids - they have dogs, too). But what I was not prepared for was how fast the change happened. How Murphy went from beloved pet to walking allergen, to a nightmare of sharp claws and shedding fur and behavior problems. The problems had started before we had moved - the rising aggression, the lack of respect on his part, the rising neglect on ours, but then there was the baby, and suddenly, here was this dog who tried to kill whoever rang the doorbell and wouldn't stay or behave on a leash who was constantly ignored. A BORDER COLLIE who had nothing better to do than herd the cats because he wasn't being taken on long hikes and exericed properly.

So it really should not have come as a surprise when he tried to bite the kid at doggy day care. The kid was fine, no skin was broken, but my heart was. Murphy is a good dog. We were warned by more than one trainer that due to his intelligence and stubborn streak that he was not the easiest dog for first time dog owners. But we didn't care. He made us really happy. We were a great fit as we were avid hikers and dog park aficianados and had access to kickass doggie day care. And now we have none of that, and it makes us sad because he is sad. He still gets morning and evening walks, but it's not the same. We are trying harder, looking into agility classes and working on commands and just simple time spent. But the bottom line is that we do not have the time we used to, and Murphy is suffering because of it.

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