"Killer" at the dog pound

More fitting name... and Murphy's adoption day!

Murphy's new look after the kitchen shears!

Handsome Murphy after his trip to the dog groomer!

This is a happy story though it starts out with utter heartbreak.. I say this so you will read on.

When my mother passed away I left my dogs with my friend while I went home. Yoda, a Pug/Boston Terrier cross was my baby, and had been with me for 12 years. Sundae, a Boston Terrier, was just two and had been with us from 8 weeks old. The night I returned home Jim picked me up at the airport and we stayed at my house that evening, leaving the girls at his house. He has a large fenced in yard and we had put a doggie door in the back door so the girls had the run of the house and yard. The next morning we returned to the house to discover the girls were gone, had dug out under the fence. We spend the day combing the neighborhood, calling the local pounds/shelters and vets. We made dozens of posters and put them up everywhere we could to no avail. We never stopped looking.. but no one had seen the girls. About 3 weeks later we found Yoda. She had almost made it home, about 1/2 mile from the house she had been hit by a car and killed. It had just happened a day or two prior to our finding her body. Her collar had been removed (with her big head she never was able to slip out of a collar) so I know that someone had her and either turned her loose and kept Sundae or she managed to get loose and head for home. What a mixed blessing.. I thought I might lose my mind with grief but at least I knew and could stop looking for her. Sundae was another story.. I can only assume that whoever had Yoda also had Sundae. I never stopped looking for Sundae and would drive around the rural area we lived in, stop at the local shelters and pounds in an ever widening circle but to this day have never seen any sign of her.

Okay, this is where the story starts to turn around. During one of my stops at a local animal control shelter I asked about any small dogs that had been picked up. The lady that worked in the dog room was at lunch so the girl from the cat room took me back to check the cages. No, Sundae was not there. I asked if the dogs I saw were all there were and was told no. There was one more in the bottom cage at the end of the row away from all the rest of the dogs. It was dark and when I bent down to look in the cage I could barely see the creature inside but I certainly could smell it - the smell coming from the crate took my breath away and made me step back. I asked the attendant what the dog's story was and she told me it had been picked up on the street as a stray, had been there 2 weeks, was temperamental and they called it "Killer" and it was due to be euthanized on Monday (this was Saturday). I have no idea what made me pursue the issue but for some reason I asked to see the dog. The attendant was really reluctant to show it to me. She finally said okay, got a catch pole, slipped the noose around it's neck and dragged the poor creature out of the crate but not before telling me twice more that it was scheduled to be put down. Out of this dark cage came this small gray mat. The smell was enough to make me gag. But when she told me once again "it" was scheduled to be put to sleep in two days I just go so mad I told her no that wasn't happening because "it" was coming home with me. To my horror I had just committed to adopting a dog. When I started over to look at "my new dog" I was told I couldn't touch it since they didn't know if it had had it's rabies shots. Looking at the poor little creature huddling on the floor I observed it was not able to turn it's head due to matting from ears to neck, one back leg was matted to it's stomach so it couldn't put that leg on the floor. The attendant reminded me that the dog was temperamental and might bite. I was so angry I snapped at her that if I was left in this condition I would bite too. The dog is obviously in pain and unable to move. To her credit, she blushed and told me she knew that he needed grooming and attention but that they weren't a shelter and didn't have a budget that provided for those services. She was glad I was going to take him but if he was more then I bargained for I could bring him back. Okay, so now, here I am looking down at this dog I've committed to taking into my home and I can't even put him in the car he's such a mess. I went home and got a crate and then back to the pound to get my new "boy" dog. At least I knew his gender now. Back at the pound the dog room attendant was back and she was happy to see Killer getting adopted. We loaded him into the crate and the back of my car and I drove home with all the windows open and my head hanging out the driver side door.

Once we got home I got the wheel-barrow out and started bringing buckets of warm water out to fill it up. Killer got 4 complete changes of water and 4 full baths before he smelled well enough to allow in the house. I got a pair of scissors and attempted to cut some of the matting away.. no luck, they wouldn't cut through the mats. Got a pair of kitchen shears and cut the mats away releasing his hind leg and the matting the prevented him from turning his head. This is when I discovered he was missing an eye - well not completely, there was something in the socket but it was not a functioning eye. I was so shocked I didn't know what to do. This was obviously an old injury so treatment was not going to help. But not once during this whole process did Killer growl or attempt to bite.. some killer. This was enough for one day so we went inside and I made him a bed and cooked him some rice and hamburger. Sunday he got two more baths but at least this time it was inside and much quicker. Monday morning I called into work and took the day off, a trip to the vet revealed Killer - now named Murphy - had a sinus infection and infections in both ears along with a load of internal parasites but luckily no heart worms. A rabies shot, antibiotics, some pain killers and a return appointment set up and we were off to Jim's to settle in. Murphy was pretty sick and lay quietly and allowed us to pet him, gently clip the mats we could away and licked our hands. Yup, some killer this dog was! As he got better his personality started shining through and it was a wonderful one. When he was healthy enough he made a trip to Pet Smart for a professional grooming. I could hardly believe my eyes this handsome little Lhasa Apso could not possibly be the same creature I had brought in.

Murphy has been with us about a year and a half now and he has pretty well lost all the sight he had which wasn't much to begin with. He did seem to see a little in bright light and he caught movement but that was about the extend of his sight. The vet thinks he was bitten in the face and that punctured his eye. Without treatment it eventually healed but the eye atrophied and the infections effected the optic nerve so he lost sight in the uninjured eye. It doesn't slow him down though. He has the doggie exit door and the full run of the back yard and he makes good use of both of them. The neighbors have a boxer and a rottie and he is constantly at the fence giving them a piece of him mind. The three of them run up and down the fence line and actually play through the fence. He will coming running into the livingroom and putting his front legs in front of him like superman - leap into your lap. Best be ready to catch him if he misjudges where you are. He's such a joy to us!

About six weeks after Murphy came into our lives we adopted another dog, Jesse. He is a hound, whippet, something mix and has the same brindle markings and coloring as our missing Sundae. (Yes, I still look for her). Jesse had been taken from his owners for abuse and starvation, and at 4 months - weight in at about 7 lbs when he should have been about 20 lbs. He was not expected to make it. The supervisor of our local shelter took him home and cared for him. At 7 months he was ready to go to his forever home - which just happened to be ours. Jesse and Murphy are best friends and Murphy not only holds his own, he runs the show. He goes on hikes with us, loves to go camping, rides in the car are heaven sent to him... he's a great, happy, active dog.

So, Murphy may not be able to see but he sure isn't blind!

Have a great day,

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