May 9th 2009 9:28 pm
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An egg whisk, new oven mitts, and a cutting board. Those where the three things that my mother, brother & myself thought of getting while we where at the local Mall. It was the beginning of December and time for Christmas shopping, we knew that the Mission Mall had a great store that sold kitchen supplies and we needed to start getting some gifts for my dad.Those tree things where the main things we where planning on purchasing that day, maybe a few other things in the other shops but nothing big.
I got out of our car and followed my mom & twin brother into the small mall. We found our way to the kitchen store and browsed our selections, and bought a few things that caught our eyes.After buying our things we decided to stroll around the half empty mall and check out the other stores.
General Christmas music hummed through crackled speakers, and shops where decorated with sparkling wreaths & glowing green trees.We searched through several stores but left with nothing, on our way to one of the large stores I came up with the idea to stop by the small little animal shelter that we would pass by. The Pet Connection was a small animal shelter located in the mall, in the front it had nice roomy cages for cats and in the back where a couple dogs in pens (though the dogs went home at night with foster homes).We had stopped by the shelter many times but just looking around, and on that day we thought we would be doing the same. Just looking around not falling in love, but we where wrong.
We made our way through the cats and headed to the dogs, I gazed at the different dogs: three puppies in the corner, jumping & squealing for my attention, a large yellow dog in the middle chewing on a mangled stuffed toy, a small black dog sleeping away the day in a large kennel. I was just going to ask my mom if she was ready to leave when she called me over.I came to her & found her knelt down by a dog pen I knelt by her, and I asked her what she wanted to show me and she just pointed forward. I looked up to see a long & little grey dog shaking in the back of the pen his grey & black fur shaved down very low to his skin, a large red bulky harness hugged his body, and his deep brown glowing eyes showed a shimmer of sorrow. I looked up at my mom and we both smiled, there was something special about this scared little dog. A few seconds later my mom popped out her cell phone & dialed a number while I read this sad little dog's story. As I read more & more about him my heart grew more attached, his name was Herby and was brought in by his old owners with another dog (his "wife") and two puppies (his "kids")after they decided they where going to move and didn't want to deal with their pets any more.TPC almost didn't take the four dogs but after seeing what bad shape Herby was in they couldn't say no.Herb was a 1year old lasha-basset-poodle mix, when he was brought in his fur was so tangled & matted you could hardly tell he was a dog. As soon as they got him they shaved off all that wild fur, he had probably never been groomed or had a bath in his entire life, only to find how skinny he was, you could see just about every bone in his body. Poor little Herb had been there for over a week or so and was the only one left his kids where the first to find homes, and then his "wife" (a yorkie mix) found a home soon after but nobody wanted Herby.
After reading his story I was hooked, I looked up at my mom and saw that she had called our former neighbor Carol to tell her about Herby.Carol had suddenly lost her beloved purebred lasha Jackson about a year ago to cancer, and when my mom first saw Herb she thought of Jackson.Though while on the phone with Carol Herby very slowly trudged over to us, and timidly sniffed our fingers and even let me pet him.That was it, my mom told Carol she couldn't have him because he was coming home with us.By that time my brother had also joined us & he to had surcome to Herby's charm and also fell in love. My mom them made another call, this time to my dad asking him to come down & bring the two other kids and see Herb.He was a little reluctant at first, for many reasons one was we weren’t completely ready for a dog we had only been our house for little bit over a year & didn't even have a fence up.But my mom him that this dog was meant for us, he finally gave in & told her had to finish up his pot-roast and gather the little ones and they would be there in 15 minutes.In the mean time Herby became a little bit more comfortable with us as we talked, my mom told me how much he looked like her loved fur child Rosie that she lost many years ago.I told her what really stole my heart was his eyes, I had never (and still haven't) seen a dog have eyes like this one his eyes where so thickly brown & had such a beautiful tent it melted my heart every time I looked into them.
When my father & siblings arrived Melody, the manager, showed us into a small greeting room placed Murphy in with us.He came up to me a few times but most the time sat shacking in the corner, my parent's talked about him and I joined in telling my father we had to bring him home that he was the dog for us. We ultimately decided to sleep on it & and we left. For the next two days I couldn't get those loving eyes out of my head I just couldn't stop thinking about him.Then on December 9th when my mom picked me up she told me the news, that day she had gone back to TPC and met with Herby's foster mom and signed the adoption papers. I was ecstatic. We had to wait a day or two because he had to get neutered but I didn't care, I finally had my dog.
The Friday of that week my mom, my three siblings and myself piled in the car and headed to a vet office thirty minutes away to pick up our newest family member. We waited anxiously in the waited room and when I saw the nurse walk out with our new friend I about did a black flip. We welcomed him with loving pets and sweet coos of "Hi there buddy!" and "You are going to love it at your new home". We hustled back into our car and coaxed our scared new companion to join us, he finally jumped in and joined me in the front seat where I comforted him as he shook rapidly in fear and panted heavily. On our way home we stopped by Pet smart & picked up our supplies, and when we finally got home it was pitch black and had begun to snow. I jumped out of the car, Herb following me, while the other kids ran in the house for dinner. I walked him around the perimeter of our home and told him that he didn't have to be scared any more, he was home and to my surprise that is when he finally stopped shaking.
When we adopted Herb we where told that he was great with kids and loved other dogs and cats, this information was given to the shelter by his owners and it didn't take long to see that his owner's truly didn't know much about him. In our first week with him we changed his name to Murphy, and had started a routine though not everything went smoothly. Murphy began chasing and trying to attack our old cats, Emma & Maggie, and showed aggression to other dogs and even people & kids.
Within a month of owning him Murphy's problems worsened, when we finally got our fence up he began escaping not by digging but by squeezing through our fence panels which have only a 3 3/4" gap (yes he was that skinny). His housetraining also wasn't coming along like it should have, we did everything but being the stubborn boy he was it was harder then we thought. At this time he also acquired a new habit, chewing. I would wake up to find the remains of one of my sibling's stuffed animals in his kennel, though stuffed toys the only things he stole he also devoured several pencils, crayons, any kind of plastic toy he could find, socks, and just about anything else he shouldn't. On top of that his aggression started becoming more intense also, by that time he had bit each of my siblings at least twice, two of my friends, and at least three other kids under 13, and myself. But I was not about to give up on him, I had taken this dog he was home now and here he was going to stay.I told myself whatever it took he would not be going back to the shelter, I knew there was a loving and sweet dog inside of him instead of this fearful and aggressive dog that was him now. I just had to find a way to coax him out.
I began reading every article I could find, watching every TV show on dog behavior, and buying every book on dog behavior problems I could get my hands on. I started with the simpler things, buying chicken wire to keep him from escaping. Getting the best raw hid chew bones I could find to keep him from chewing up things he shouldn't and working with him on simple commands & housetraining everyday. A few more months passed by & his housetraining became perfect, he stayed in his yard, and stuck with only chewing on raw hide bones. But even though his other problems cleared up his aggression didn't get even a small bit better. It actually began to get worse, it went from him being fearful, scared and possessive to just being uncalled for.He would go after my brother's friends for now reason, one time fiercely attacking his heals & shoes when all the boy did was walk into the house. At that point I started to get frustrated, but I couldn't give up on my promise. I just couldn't.
That’s when boot camp started, not just for Murphy but for my family & me. My siblings learned that getting in his face & bothering him when he was on the couch or chewing on his rawhide where a big NO, and Murphy learned that when he growled or bit on the when he was on the couch he got pushed off the couch and couldn't get back on the rest of the day. I taught him to trust people, showing him with treats whenever he was around new people, having my siblings & friends feed him and having him experience new surroundings & situations.
He began to progress but even with all my research there was something missing and I couldn't figure it our. Then during Spring Brake of the year we got Murphy, we found our missing link. My grandfather owned a 1year old male Westie named Josh, and he would bring Josh over every Saturday & to our surprise Josh & Murphy became best friends and loved each other. Josh came to live with us that Spring Brake after my grandfather moved into an apartment, and we happily accepted.
Josh is a dog who loves everybody, dogs & people, and this very much worked to our advantage with rehabilitating Murphy. We started calling Josh "Murphy's therapy dog" because he showed him that people are our friends not our enemies and in less then two weeks of owning Josh, Murph started going up to people on his own and his aggression started to slowly disappear. That loving & sweet dog had finally 100% arrived.
Murphy's personality began to shine, he quickly started becoming a mama's boy stalking me around the house and constantly licking me & showing compassion towards me. I quickly began to fall in love with him even more as his adorable quirky nature made me smile each day, things like how he doesn't run but instead hops, or how he likes to throw his chew bone across the room then jump on it and throw across the room ten more times, or even how he becomes insanely jealous if I love on Josh & not him always made me laugh even in times I thought laughing was impossible.
Even though when I first adopted him I thought I was the one rescuing him but little did I know, he would be the one rescuing me.
As the years flew by and Murphy’s behavior just kept getting better, things seemed to go the opposite way for me. Bad news plagued my days and crying for more then an hour straight became a daily event. He seemed to be the only constant thing in my life, I seemed to rely on him on so much and he never let me down. He would wake me up with his stinky kisses and a good paw slap in the face when I felt getting up wasn't worth it, he was the thing I looked forward to when I came home he was my shining star in my time of darkness.
Adopting Murphy was one of the best decisions of my life, he was a dog that needed a lot of TLC and a lot of love and I was so happy to give him that. And in my time of need he was my savior, he has shown me the true compassion and devotion a shelter dog can give & because of that all of my dogs will be rescue babies. Murphy has also give me some what of a purpose, that purpose is helping shelter dogs like him. "His" shelter is now in a large facility & saves so many lives, every weekend I spend about five hours there taking pictures for petfinder and helping wherever needed.And during the week I edit the dog & cat's online profiles and spread the word about this shelter. I have always been an animal fanatic and I have always wanted to help animals but have never found my way to but because of Murphy I am now doing something I have dreamed about for a long time.
Murphy is my best friend and constant companion, and it still eludes my mind how anybody could mistreat this amazing dog.
So to anybody who is considering getting a dog please check your shelters & rescue groups, who knows the dog that you rescue might just end up rescuing you.
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