My 18 year marriage is finally over after a tumultuous 4 year divorce. I am finally able to move out of a 1 bedroom apartment that has been my prison for these 4 years. I celebrate my first year of sobriety. That can only mean one thing. Time to start a family.
I innocently enough pull up the website of the local human society and see the face of a 6 month old Lab, named Murphy. That “smile” just warrants further investigation.
It’s late Saturday afternoon, I have an hour or so before the shelter closes; so I head that way. Once at the shelter, I quickly search for Murphy only to find him surrounded by a family who has begun the adoption process. I am certainly disheartened, but while I am there I look for another suitable “family” member.
I find a Black Lab / Shepard mix named Prince. He is a goofy looking dog, but I feel he’s probably gonna be pretty smart. I take him out to the interrogation area and he displays some aloofness. He’s nice, he’s pretty, but we just didn’t connect. I take him back to his pen to think about it and to look at other possible dogs.
I wonder around a bit and just couldn’t decide, a common theme for me. When I went back to see Prince again, he too was being adopted. As I leave the shelter, I see 2 different families with “my dogs”. Notice they are mine now that I can’t have them.
Watching and Waiting
I watch the shelters web site throughout the weekend and Prince disappears from the available pets. Murphy however remains. I was curious and head to the shelter on Monday. Due to a freak windstorm and power outages they are closed. I’m unable to go to the shelter on Tuesday but notice that night he is still listed as available. I am the first one at the door waiting for the shelter to open on Wednesday. I’m the only one there. The floors are wet as the volunteers have been cleaning throughout the night. I slip slide around the corner as I speed to the kennel where I had last seen Murphy.
There he is, tail wagging, smile on his face. I can’t believe it; what happened? Why is he here. I ask to see him. We go out to the play yard and he immediately brings me a ball. We have a ball, literally. Over and Over and Over he brings me the ball to throw. There is no indecision, I decide he’s coming home with me. I ask why he came back. The attendants said the adoption didn’t go through because the family had small children and Murphy displayed food aggression. Uh, oh. Now what? I don’t really want an aggressive dog. I decide I can train him.
Aggression, what aggression?
I place a bowl of food out, reluctantly, I reach to retrieve it. Nothing happens. His tail wagging and he’s smiling. we repeat this over and over. Nothing happens. I push him, pull his tail, pull his ears trying to provoke him. He’s just happy. I know nothing of his history or why he was flagged as aggressive. He has never displayed that to me. I choose to believe he needs me as much as I need him. Whatever is in our pasts remains there, we’re moving forward together.
Immediate Road Trip
3 days later we are on the road to the beaches of North Carolina. I want to see how he responds to water. Well duh, he is a lab. Though some waves took him out that didn’t deter him from getting that ball back to me.
Murphy is my traveling companion, my wingman, my confidant. We feed off each other. He’s as restless and curious as I am. He’s always up for an adventure. Having a friendly dog with a bandana, affords me a lot of leeway. We get by with a lot. We do things and go places we shouldn’t. He blames me, I blame him. It just works.