Sophie & Murphy-Dog

Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror with disgust?  In January of 2002, I had the very unpleasant task of having to put my friend of 14 years down.  Murphy-Dog, an incredibly smart and very loving, Schnauzer who lived to play and wrestle, began having seizures two years prior and it scared my wife and I.  The vet had prescribed medication, but still the seizures came.  After each one, Murphy-Dog would have to re-orient himself with his surroundings and who we were.  That was tough watching him try to regain some sense of familiarity and yet, each time …he’d come through.  He also began drinking large amounts of water and that caused him to spot, which he really didn’t want to do.  We’d find these spots in inconspicuous places, which told us he was ashamed.  Such a great dog.  The seizures became more frequent over the next two years and then, finally, he started having them almost back to back.  The medication served no useful purpose and watching him became very painful.  Then, after suffering several attacks on one fateful evening, I carried him to our bed and tried to comfort him through the night.  Early in the morning, I awoke to a loud, but strange noise which turned out to be my friend, hard in the middle of a strong seizure, kicking the wall with all four paws.  I could do nothing but watch.  When he came out of it. I laid down beside him and just let him sniff me while I stroked his fur, spoke softly to him through my own tears and gave him as much love as I could.  It was time.  By 9am, we were at the vet’s office and I carried him into the room and that is where I let down my friend.  I couldn’t watch him take his final breath and retreated to the waiting area and broke down. It was quick. The vet came out and said it was over.  I retreated even further and rushed to my car where I spent the next half hour crying like baby. Understand something, I am hard nosed, truck driver which grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, fighting and acting tough all of my life and now, when my friend really needed me …I ran like a coward.

You see, two months earlier, we lost Murphy-Dog’s life long mate, Sophie, a beautiful white Schnauzer in a house electrical fire.  Our neighbor, who knew the dogs were trapped inside, broke down the front door and got Sophie first, but she had been taken by the smoke. He then went back into the fire and found Murphy-Dog and by the time he had made it back to the front door, he was on his knees crawling and the fire department met him there.  He also, was overwhelmed by the smoke but recovered as did Murphy-Dog.  Such heroism for two dogs.  And then …there’s me.

Losing Sophie and then Murphy-Dog in such a short time frame took a toll on me that I wasn’t prepared for.  The shame of abandoning my friend, in his final moments, stays with me and if I could take that back, I would give everything I have.  Here’s a lesson …stay with your friend in that moment and don’t spend the rest of your days looking at yourself with disgust as I do.  Learn from my mistake and love your friend, as equally as possible …as they love you.

— Tim from Plainview, TX