for handicapped pets
Oh, Murphy…Where do I even begin, buddy? Here goes nothing….
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Murphy, I will do my best to tell his story without going too overboard, as I have a serious tendency of doing so anytime I talk about him. Murphy was the handsomest, most precious, adorable, hunk of an English Mastiff (or any breed, for that matter) that anyone could ever have the pleasure of being blessed with meeting. No, seriously…EVERYONE who met him would agree. Murphy-lurphy was born December 24, 2012, an accidental breeding but surely pure perfection. Clearly too much perfection for this world. I was blessed with two and a half AMAZING years with this giant lug of pure love, endless affection, unwavering loyalty, and the memories of a lifetime.
You see, Murphy was born with a congenital and very progressive disease known as Wobblers. He was diagnosed with this dark cloud when he was just a year old. Wobblers is common in giant breed dogs, as well as Dobermans. It causes cervical stenosis which compresses the spinal cord, causing neurological issues in the dog’s hind end. There are really no cures for the disease, but it can be treated with numerous very invasive spine surgeries – with no guarantees, significant chance of a “domino effect” down the levels of their cervical spine, a long and painful rehabilitation process, and an astronomical price tag.
To be honest, the vet who diagnosed Murphy with Wobblers suggested I euthanize him then and there verses travel down the long and tedious path of medically maintaining him as long as I possibly could. Euthanasia was not even remotely an option, nor was the $15,000+ diagnostic MRI’s and spine surgeries. Murphy’s everyday future now involved LOTS of daily medications to help keep the swelling of his spinal cord down, as well as medications to treat long term effects of consuming high doses of steroids. There were definitely a lot of highs and a lot of lows.
But guess what? Murphy lived. No, I mean REALLY lived for the two and a half years he had here. He was truly the life of every party – just ask my friends! More often than not, anywhere I would take Murphy, more people knew his name, made his acquaintance, and shared a beer and burger with him, than I would accomplish in a weeks time! Such a ham. Some of his favorite things in life were beer (I seriously didn’t try to turn him into an alcoholic – he did that all on his own – but that’s a whole other story, and I promised not to go entirely overboard while on the topic of the love of my life…ahem…), food (of course), boating and spending time at the river (probably because he would steal his two favorite things – beer and food – and no, I did not teach him to be a thief, along with an alcoholic….seriously…), laying in the sun and watching the world go by, anything water related…rivers, lakes, giant horse water troughs, 5 gallon water buckets, hoses, you name it…, brooms (but only when you tried to sweep), and of course, his brothers, Gulliver and Tono. And Sammi too.
That dog had a lust for life that just couldn’t be tarnished. He tore his Cranial Cruciate Ligament, and required a large surgery to repair it – that wouldn’t stop him. I had a fancy custom wheelchair made for him for use on his bad days, and a CCL brace to protect his good back leg. Those didn’t stop him. Each week was filled with some great days for Murphy and his mobility and some less than great days. Until the scale started to tip…less great days. More tough days. Increased medications. Some more good days. No great days. But always, no matter what…that dog was Murphy. The same happy, goofy, try his heart out for you, love you to the moon and back, Murphy. He would never let on if anything hurt.
Then the pressure sores became a struggle due to his decreased time spent on his feet. That dark cloud that he was diagnosed with was really starting to darken. Hard facts were a daily factor to struggle with…and the emotional reality of quality verses quantity had to be assessed constantly. Murphy got his wings on September 29th, 2015. It was the hardest, most selfless decision I’ve ever been forced to make. It was the kindest gift I could repay him with for blessing me with his strength, courage, and unwavering love.
I want Murphy to live on forever…he surely will live forever in my heart…but more than that. I sympathize with all the people out there who were graced with pets who are handicapped or disabled. Be it from old age, disease, injury, neglect…we want to help. With Murphy’s Mission, we hope to educate owners on options to help maintain your pet’s quality of life despite it’s affliction, as well as fundraise to help off set the costs of those special needs these amazing animals may have.
We hope to eventually offer grants for special needs pets who may not otherwise be able to receive the treatment or equipment they need. As of right now, this is a vision. It is a vision I plan on seeing become a reality. If I learned one thing from Murphy, it was never to give up.