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Murphy & Me

I recently read the popular book by John Grogan, “Marley & Me.” It’s a movie, too, but I doubt the movie can capture the essence of living with Marley.

Living with Murphy, however, can and does capture that essence.

Murphy has never figured out that I came close to setting down the ultimatum, “This Dog Must GO or I Will!.” He has never realized that I do not necessarily love him at all moments. When I arrive home, he is standing at the kitchen window, nose plastered against the glass, body wiggling. He greets me by sticking his nose up my butt and furiously barking some tale about how his day went. He has a Very Loud Bark and a Very Large Nose.

I thought about this tonight when he met me at the door, barely restrained by my husband and throwing saliva everywhere. If I would allow him to jump up on me, he’d slime my face. As it is, he merely slimes our furniture.

Everything I read about Marley translates into my life (except fear of thunder. Murphy is not afraid of thunder. He gets very excited when he hears guns or firecrackers and runs from one end of the yard to the other, barking with joy). Murphy cannot be contained on a leash.

Murphy knows no restraint and a shock collar barely gets his attention.

From Wikipedia:

“Told in first-person narrative, the book portrays Grogan and his family’s life during the thirteen years that they lived with their dog Marley, and the relationships and lessons from this period. Marley, a yellow Labrador Retriever, is described as a highly strung, boisterous, and somewhat uncontrolled dog. He is strong, powerful, endlessly hungry, eager to be active, and often destructive of their property (but completely without malice). Marley routinely fails to “get the idea” of what humans expect of him and at one point the comment is made that mental illness might be a plausible explanation for his behavior. His acts and behaviors are forgiven, however, since it is clear that he has a heart of gold and is merely living within his nature.”

Um, that’s Murphy. He’s destroyed my gardens, ripped my sofa, eats anything he can steal, steals anything within his reach, and simply does not “get it.” He’s not 97 pounds, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s close. I think he last weighed in at 87 pounds and he’s not quite two years old. He’s been to field dog training and he can “stay” for a short period of time, but the only real obedience training he has had is to wait impatiently while I set some goody on the floor for him to eat. He does sit.

He has a heart of gold and he would probably lick an intruder to death. He thinks all other dogs want to play. He thinks the sofa is a trampoline. His interest in our grandson goes as far as checking to see what the diaper smells like, then checking to see what toys he can steal (the balls, preferably, but he is not above trying to chew a Duplo™ block). There is a stack of wood by the back door: Murphy’s depositry of “sticks” (which include a stolen axe handle) that he carries around in hopes someone will play “fetch” with him.

His newest thing is to go nuts when you ask him “what is Murphy thinking?” Murphy is thinking: “Let’s go out and PLAY!  And BARK! And smell people’s crotches! And Bark! And chase imaginary cats!”

Don calls Murphy’s barking “Doggie Blogging.” I call it nerve-wracking.

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Sitting in Dad’s chair.

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