Archive for the ‘scared puppy’ Category


He was born in Buhl, Idaho, on May 27, 2007. He died in his backyard in Oregon City, Oregon, on September 1, 2017. The dash between those dates contains a full life, a lot of heart, and many friendships.

He came to live with his family in August of 2007, when the Jarbidge country south of the Idaho border was going up in flames. The fire was known as the Murphy fire, for Murphy Hot Springs. Between the fire and the funny blaze on his forehead, Murphy had a crafted AKC registered name, but he was only known as Murphy or Murph. He also answered to “Dammit!” and “Stop it!”

Murphy was always the darling of his human father: they learned how to hunt upland game birds together, they hiked, they did trail work, they camped out. No dog has ever been as excited to see the orange shock collar than Murphy: it meant only one thing: an adventure somewhere! He loved to hunt Chukar in the Steens Mountains.

Murphy had a checkered history with his human mother, from the moment he rode home in her lap and ate her hairbrush. He ate her glasses in a show of affection one night. He didn’t understand hierarchy, and had to learn that he was Number 3, after Mom. Mom frequently referred to him as “Dammit!”, “Getoutoftheway!”, or “Stopit!” Murphy was always excited to see her, and could sometimes coax her to play “stick” with him, a sort of fetch game he made up himself (“Catch me if you can! combined with Okay, now you have to throw it!”).

In June of 2010, Murphy helped adopt his little brother, Harvey. They were instant packmates: Murphy, the Alpha, and Harvey, the lackadaisacal. They had few disagreements, and only one spat: gravy. When it came to gravy, Harvey was the Alpha and Murphy walked away with blood on his ears. Murphy tried his best to teach Harvey how to play, and even succeeded to a small degree. The week before Murphy came down ill, he tried to get Harvey to play, but the Harvemeister has lost all energy for such trivial pursuits.

It was expected that Harvey would be put down long before Murphy would. The sudden onset of congestive heart failure in Murphy stunned everyone. There were no classic warning signs: Harvey has the signs, but no enlarged heart and no arrythmia. Murphy went from a dog with an acute sense of humor to collapse within the span of seven days.

In his lifetime, Murphy made his first retrieve in the same spot he would later die.


He discovered snow, pools of water, and the freedom of the wide open spaces. His first emergency room trip was due to anaphylactic shock after running into a nest of yellowjackets while hiking: he forever held a grudge against all bees, wasps, and hornets. He loved beer, and would sing for it. He considered it an honor to sleep on top of someone, preferably a human (Harvey was something of a grouch about that). He ate tissues and paper towels, sticks in the yard, and probably something poisonous at least once. He was ever on guard against cats, rats, moles, gophers, crows, tweety-birds, people walking on the street past the house, and anyone not watching their plate of food at a camp-out. He loved to roll in smelly things, but he learned to draw the line at skunks – but only after the third bath in hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and tomato sauce.

He adored Charles (his human dad’s hiking buddy), Chrystal’s various boyfriends and eventual husband, his human grandchildren, and anyone’s crotch. Yes, sorry, that had to be said. he adored crotch-sniffing. That may be when his mom called him “STOPIT!”


In his youth, he joined Trail Advocates with his human dad. They spent hours with Charles, locating and documenting hundreds of old CCC trails, USFS trails, and Native American trails throughout the northern Cascades. Murphy was a better “bird dog” for finding trails than any human (possibly because he was lower to the ground and could go under rhododendrons). He will be sorely missed by his comrades.

He made his last trip to the Doggy ER on August 31st. The attending veterinarian gave him a choice: die now, or have an EKG in the morning to see how damaged his heart was. Murphy declined both, indicating his preference to die outside, in the open, with family. Murphy collapsed during the night, and his human dad spent the night with him in the same spot he once made his first retrieve.

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A wake was held on the morning of September first. Attending were: his human dad (Donald), his human mom (Jaci), his little brother (Harvey, who now outweighed him by ten pounds), and two rufous-sided hummingbirds. The hummingbirds were especially curious and close.

Murphy is mourned by many. The outpouring of love on Facebook, Instagram, and by email has been overwhelming for his family. The hummingbirds don’t know what to make of their new-found freedom at the feeders. Murphy’s hiking buddy, Charles, wept openly on the phone when he heard the news. Only Harvey seems unaffected by the loss, and that is possibly due to the fact that he is a dog and self-centered. He does know he hasn’t been challenged for a dog biscuit in three days and that noone has bugged him to try to play recently.

The Presleys have actively avoided being home for the weekend, so they didn’t have to face the empty house and quiet backyard. The crows tried to entice a fight with Harvey, but left disappointed. The honey bees, bumble bees, and wasps have gone on doing their thing, unaware of how close they came to annihilation during Murphy’s lifetime.

Guests may now enter the Presley home without a TSA-level crotch sniffing.

Murphy has been cremated and his ashes spread to whatever wind. The veterinarian who made the house call announced after doing a heart check, “There’s no one in there now” and “he’s off chasing chukar in the Steens now.” There’s no better epitaph than that.

Thank you to all who supported us during this time. We know Hurricane Harvey (so mis-named as Harvey is in no way a hurricane nor a storm) and the threat of wildfires, Hurricane Irma, and North Korea are considerably more than the loss of a dog. But a dog is everything. Anyone who has been privileged to be loved by a dog so loyal knows.

“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”
Dean Koontz

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”
Will Rogers (actor, Connecticut Yankee [VHS]

“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.”
Gilda Radner (comedienne)

“You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.”
Robert Louis Stevenson (author, Treasure Island)

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bees, wasps and TROLLS

I have really neglected my blog.

The update on Murphy and bees is that he has been stung several times since his Rocky Balboa experience. Once, we caught it right away and gave him his meds, no problem. Then he ran into a wasp nest (again) and swelled up like a balloon (again) before the meds went to work. That was just this Saturday past and Don had taken Murphy up into the woods, alone, to do some scouting around. Don stepped on the wasp nest, but was only stung a few times because he knows to NOT run: Murphy ran and Murphy got nailed. Don gave him his meds, but he was swelling up rapidly. It was a long drive back down the mountain, stopping every 30 minutes to check on the puppy. By the time they got home, Murphy was almost normal looking again.

Sunday, Don and I took Murphy back up into the woods. It was cool and foggy: a great day if you wanted to avoid wasps. Very few were out and about and we managed to get through the day without a single mishap. Murphy was thrilled that I came along: he just couldn’t believe I would come and kept dancing around me. But he’s Don’s dog and if Don took off to look for a trailhead, even down a steep bank, Murphy followed him and left me standing in the road. I have a torn meniscus and wasn’t making any of those climbs, especially not back UP.

We walked for almost three hours and Murphy ran the last hundred feet to the rig. That’s not acceptable and I coaxed him back to me. Don was down looking forthat trailhead somewhere below the road. I think I was only fifty feet from the rig when I caught up with Murphy and as I bent over to scratch his head, I could hear the ominous buzz of approaching vehicles. So I bent down to take control of the pup in case he freaked. Very soon, I could tell that the oncoming rigs were ATVs or dirt bikes. Great: I take the Ed Abbey stances on OHVs – the scourge of the West.

The first motorcycle was a yellow one. Murphy freaked. It sounded like a giant wasp and it looked like… like… like a TROLL! He barked a little, but mostly, he just shivered and bucked against my embrace, wanting to run as far away as possible. Two motorcycles passed, but I could hear more coming, so here I knelt on the road, on my bad knee, holding a very strong and very terrified puppy. Along came another motorcycle and a 4-wheel ATV. Another break in the parade, but there were more coming. Two more ATVs passed and still I waited until I could be certain no more were coming.

The riders were all very polite, slowed down as they passed, waved, and even smiled at the puppy. I can’t even be mad at these people who were all suited up, but I can imagine how they looked to a puppy with their helmets, gloves, and great roaring wheels/legs, and the smell of the two-cycle engines blue on the air. Trolls, definitely.

When I thought it was safe, I let him go. And he took off for parts unknown. Only got as far as a big tree: he decided up was better than away, and he was trying to figure out how to climb UP the tree. The only way I got him back down was by kingling my keys and coaxing him in the direction of the rig. Finally, he decided he believed me and he went for the car: “Put me in my kennel!!! Please!!!”

I wanted to tell Don about our adventure with all the drama, but he found his trailhead and I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. His trailhead was right where we parked: could have saved us three hours of walking and an encounter with trolls if he would have gone down below the road there, first. Oh well.

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