Re: [gardeners] New Dog

Rosemary Carlson (
Thu, 27 Mar 2003 19:03:03 -0500

OK. Now I have to tell the story of my Murphy!! Another rescue story. As
some of you know, for many years, I've raised Welsh Corgis - both the
Pembroke and the Cardigan. My original corgis are long gone, and 3 years
ago, I got Eliza, a Cardigan Welsh Corgi..........and the worst girl in
America!! :) Eliza and Abby, my Maine Coon Cat, were here with me for
awhile - just the three of us. Then, I made the mistake of going to PetSmart
in the nearest large city, Lexington, KY. PetSmart allows various rescue
organizations to bring animals there to be adopted, hopefully. Of course, I
always want to bring one home, but had to be reasonable.

But, then I saw Murphy. A big dog lying in his crate looking very alone and
terrified. There was just something about him..........I'd never even HAD a
big dog before! I found out that Murphy is a German Shepherd/Collie mix.
Picked up in a nearby county, on a farm, where there were many animals - all
neglected and worse, abused. He had first been taken to a kill shelter - but
rescued at the last minute (literally) by a no-kill shelter and put in
foster care on her farm. I just knew that Murphy was supposed to come home
with me. I came back home......and thought about it........and still knew he
had to come home with me. I knew he'd been abused and I had no idea if I
could even handle him! Well, I adopted him and after his shots and a good
grooming, I brought him home. That was almost 2 years ago.

Murphy was the most terrified dog I've ever EVER seen. He's a big guy and
now weighs about 75 lbs - normal for him. He weighed 55 when he came to me.
He was scared of EVERYTHING - even Abby, the cat. He wasn't housebroken. Any
loud noise - he totally went berserk. Gun shots (I live in the woods - there
are lots of them) terrified him. I can't TELL you what bad shape this dog
was in - emotionally and physically. I had to have some surgery on his eye -
it had been injured in an abusive situation. For a full year, Murphy only
interacted with us in a scared way.....and as little as possible - around
the periphery of our lives. He HATED (and still hates) all - and I mean
ALL - men. Apparently, a man was the source of abuse. I found out,
accidentally!, that he had even been guard trained....a good thing for
me.....but I think they trained him using fear.....and the hard way. There
was no way to emotionally reach Murphy for an entire year. NONE. I'm a dog
person - and I tried everything, to no avail. He seemed to be VERY
appreciative of his food and a warm bed.....but he couldn't MAKE himself
trust any more than that. I felt protected, however. No one would DARE walk
up to the fence or in my house unannounced!! He, at least, seemed to have
some protective instinct that centered on me.

Then, I went on sabbatical. I'm a college prof - and was due and past due
for sabbatical leave. This meant I was home more - most of the time - with
Eliza, Murphy, and Abby. Gradually, very gradually, Murphy started bonding
with me. We had to take the tiniest of baby steps. He and Eliza had already
bonded. It took almost a year to get Murphy to where he is now - a happy,
healthy, reasonably normal WONDERFUL dog. He is SO gentle - but protective.
He now loves me unconditionally. He trusts me - and knows this is HIS home
and where HIS bed is and HIS toys! :)

Saving Murphy emotionally has been a long and rocky road. But, with lots of
patience and understanding, it happened. Now, he smiles! Only occasionally
does he get that far away, HURT, look in his eyes. I don't think he thinks
about his past life much now -- but sometimes. The only obstacle I can't get
him to overcome is his total distrust of men. He tolerates men in my family
and who are my friends -- but just barely. And he has to work REALLY hard
not to be scared. If a man reaches out a hand to pat him, he cowers. STILL.

A funny part of this story. A month ago, we had a TERRIBLE ice storm here. I
was without power for 4 days and went into town to stay with a friend, with
all my animals in tow. The first night I went to bed in my friend's guest
room, Murphy jumped up on the bed (he NEVER did that at home!) and would not
move. Laid there all night with his head on the pillow beside
me...........and did that every night until we got home. I think he was
making SURE I didn't sneak away and leave him in the night! :)

People who abuse helpless animals are as horrible as people who abuse
children. Unfortunately, their punishment doesn't nearly fit the crime. the mountains of eastern KY with Murphy, Abby, and Eliza