Murphy Patrick Harrigan O’Kammerer – June 2004 – May 13, 2019 

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I have often pondered, over the past three years, one week and one day, the fact that “God” spelled in reverse is “dog”. If God is love, and I believe He is, then can it be said that “Love is dog”?  Today, you would have a hard time convincing me otherwise…From “The Max Factor – The Final Chapter

Today, you would still have a hard time convincing me otherwise…

I actually started this a week ago, the day Murphy died. The truth is that I had a hard time collecting my thoughts. I had and still have, a lot of them, seemingly scattered far and wide.

I spent hours collecting photos to include with this post. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of them.

I have started new paragraphs and new stories about Murphy, over and over.

Nothing seemed “enough” and at the same time, everything seemed “too much”.

So now I start over with a bit of a different perspective on what I want to say…

Over the past week, I have noticed a few things.

I have noticed that there is no dog prancing into the bedroom in the morning coming over to my side of the bed and standing with his front paws on the edge staring me in the face, letting me know it’s now day time and I am lazily lying under the warm covers.

I have noticed that his food bowl no longer seems to become empty before I finish filling it up with his favorite dog food. So I have stopped filling it.

I have noticed that there are no new clumps of hair on the furniture and carpet where he was just lying down.

I have noticed that his toys have not moved an inch.

I have noticed that he is not lying in wait at the sliding glass door in the dining room when I walk by on my way to the front door upon my arrival home.

I have noticed that he doesn’t follow along, keeping an eye on me through the windows to that door.

I have noticed that he isn’t there when I open the door.

I have noticed that I don’t wear him like an article of clothing when I go from one room to another, or from one side of the room to the other, inside the house.

I have noticed that he doesn’t excitedly follow me out the door when I leave the house.

I have noticed that he isn’t right there with me as I trim tree limbs, wack weeds, mow grass or feed the fish in the ponds.

I have noticed that his head isn’t resting on my thigh while I eat breakfast, lunch, dinner or in between meal snacks.

I have noticed that he isn’t sitting, staring up at Judy as she fixes dinner.

I have noticed that the trash can under my desk is not dumped over when I come into my office.

I have noticed that he isn’t nudging me in an effort to follow him to the “anywhere he wants to go”.

I have noticed that he’s not in the back seat of my truck as I drive down the road toward adventures unknown.

I have noticed that there is no dog poop on the back lawn, where it’s not supposed to be in the first place but somehow manages to move there from where it was originally deposited  – you know, where it’s supposed to be.

I have noticed that he is not there as I walk along our normal route around the neighborhood.

I have noticed that there is no doggy grin anywhere in the house car or yard.

I have noticed that he is not lying on the floor next to my chair keeping watch as I type this…

I have also noticed that my heart is somewhat schizophrenic – It hurts from the loss, but it smiles from the memories…

He would have been fifteen years old next month, and we really thought he would make it. Although he had certainly slowed down a bit over the past year and his hearing was suspect, he was still alert, happy and able to get around well. He had passed his last checkup with above average test results (for his age).

And then, in the middle of the week before last, I noticed that he started not eating his breakfast until later in the morning. He was a bit more lethargic than usual. This became progressively worse into the weekend. He was drinking massive amounts of water. He stopped eating and started vomiting everything.

He stopped coming outside – he would come to the door with me and stop there.

We decided we would call the vet as soon as they opened on Monday morning.

I spent each night lying with him on the floor until the wee hours of the morning. Not letting him be alone, letting him know that I was there and that I love him.

Sunday night, he became disoriented, walking in circles. As he licked water from his bowl, he started licking the air.

We knew it was time…

Monday morning he could barely walk. I carried him to my truck, which I had prepared ahead of time with the blanket that he came to us with – his favorite blanket – spread across the back seat. I placed him there and put a bowl of water on the seat next to him.

I had to stop for gas on the way, and I took a picture of my best friend…

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We arrived at the vet… I took one final picture…

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I carried him into the office. The girls behind the desk asked “Murphy?”. I said “yes” and broke down, sobbing in front of several other pet owners. Fortunately, they had a room all ready for us and walked us to it.

I’m not going to get into all the play by play. Too hard.

The doctor diagnosed kidney failure. It struck me that I should have picked up on that because of my own kidney failure a few years ago.

He asked me if I wanted to be in the room. I said yes.

They took Murphy to another room to prepare him and brought him back. I held him, Stroking his head and back, talking with him, letting him know I love him…

The doctor proceeded as I held him. He checked him out and said, “he’s gone.” He said that he was glad that I stayed. Not a lot of people do that. I told him that I had made Murphy a promise that when the time came, I would not let him be alone, I would stay with him and be there making sure he knew he was loved…

I asked the doctor if it would be possible to go out the back door. I had already made the other pet owners uncomfortable enough for one day…

They led me out…

I think that the main trait of a dog is that of unconditional love. It certainly seemed to be true with Murphy and it was true for Max before him. Would that humans could all learn that…

I think that, maybe, there are two things that a person should aspire to in this life. The first is to be the man or woman that God made us to be. The second is to be the man or woman that your dog believes you to be.

And I have to wonder, are they both the same? Maybe not, but I think they may be pretty close…

I thought I would finish with some happy memories…

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