45MPHK9 Posted January 9, 2016 Share Posted January 9, 2016 (edited) 6.25.15 I keep coming back to this photograph I took of Murray in June. I was off for the summer. Lazy summer days at home with the hounds were ahead. It was warm, and he was in fine form. Playful, happy, handsome, healthy, and at peace, Murray didn't seem like an almost twelve year old hound. That day, I didn't know that a brain tumor was growing inside Murray. Had I known, I would have taken more photographs, given him more treats, extended every game of bitey face he played with us, and really savored the moments when he jumped up into bed with me on those long mornings when I didn't have to rush off to work so early. Once the brain tumor took over, there was no more bitey face, no desire for treats, no jumping into bed for snuggles. And in all the photos I have from July on? Well, you can see the sad, far away look in Murray's eyes in most of this photographs. These pictures will always be a reminder of how things changed and of how hard we tried to get back to the way things were in June. Some broken things, however, cannot be fixed no matter how hard you try. We tried very hard to fix Murray for six months. 5.19.13 5.17.14 Murray was my first greyhound. We wanted a dog and Burke insisted that we go walk some greyhounds at NGAP. I told him no way. Those dogs are too big. Definitely not for me. We're just going to walk them, he said. They'll enjoy the time out of their cages. Fine, I said. Back in 2008, NGAP was in their old facility which is to say they housed their dogs in trailers in an area of Northeast Philly near the prison. We were taken into one of these trailers where two layers of crates lined the walls. We walked along the center aisle and looked at the dogs. I was immediately drawn to Murray. Like a moth to a flame, he was the only dog I saw among those cages. He looked sad. He didn't bark like the other dogs. He was stunningly beautiful. I knew that second that this was my dog. He was going home with me. The kennel attendants let us walk him. We strolled though the litter and glass-strewn streets of Philadelphia with this regal looking creature. He was perfect on the leash. I wanted to put him in the car and take him home that instant. We took him back to the trailer and walked a few other dogs, but they were all wrong. You just know when you know. I was head over heels in love with him right from the start. 11.11.15 He was called Mal in the kennel. Mal was short for Maldives, his racing name, a name given to him by Seastrom Kennels in Abilene, Kansas where he was born. He raced at The Woodlands under this name. When I asked the kennel attendants why a five year old dog was up for adoption they looked at each other and shook their heads. One of them said, "You don't want this dog." "No, I really do. What is wrong with him?" They told us that he had been returned for biting people in the houses where he had lived. He had lost two homes because he bit people. I didn't care. He was going home with me. And he did. We ditched that awful name and called him Murray. A new name, a new start. We could fix him. 2012 5.25.14 And then Murray bit me over the eye one night. Though I had been warned by the folks at NGAP about his sleep aggression tendencies, I did what I was told not to do. I rubbed him on his bed as he slept. He stuck with incredible speed. I was devastated and afraid of my own dog. Burke thought that we, too, should return Murray. I insisted that we try to fix the problem. At the time, I wasn't a member of Greytalk, so I needed to seek the help of fellow dog owners I knew. A friend recommended a dog trainer and not a moment too soon. While standing outside talking to a neighbor, Murray lunged and bit the neighbor's dog. Murray had issues. He also had clueless owners who knew nothing about how to fix him. He was going to be a project. I'll spare you all the details about the training we did, but know that Murray was a dog who required constant management. We managed his sleeping spots, we managed his interactions with other dogs, we managed how long we took him out in public to events or whether he went to a place at all. If you saw us out there at an event in the last eight years, this information about Murray might surprise you. He was always so well-behaved out in public. This was the result of constant management and risk assessment. Murray had fear aggression, sleep aggression, was storm phobic, and had many insecurities around other dogs. He was afraid of the dark. He hated the car. He didn't like big male greyhounds who stood over him. He was a dream in the house, though. He was calm, playful, and loving. Dog training and constant management really worked for Murray. We became like him, ever vigilant. Some days it was exhausting to be his people, but we loved him so much. Time, love, and patience helped ease so many of his fears and anxieties. I always knew we were the home he was meant to be in. We could fix him. 2.22.15 Six months after Murray came home, we adopted Bee Wiseman. He loved Bee Wiseman. He gained so much confidence from her. She was adopted on the condition that she never be left alone in the house. She had terrible separation anxiety that cost her one of her homes. Like Murray, she was a two time bounce. She was fearful inside the house. Murray was fearful outside the house. They helped each other live in peace. They had three wonderful years together. Murray and Bee Wiseman were a match made in heaven. We worried about him so much after she died. He was so sad without her here. We could fix this, though. 10.7.2009 Holly came home one month to the day that Bee died. Murray and Holly have been wonderful together. They were at peace with each other from the minute she arrived. They shared all things and got along beautifully. Holly stood watch over Murray in the last week of his life as he got sicker and sicker. She knew what we didn't. This past week, as we slept, she stayed up on the sofa watching over our sick boy. Murray was the reason I bought a camera. At our first Dewey Beach in 2008, I didn't even own a camera. A kind person from Connecticut took some photos of him on the beach and then mailed them to me. I was so clueless. I bought a small Canon Powershot point and shoot camera after that event. I quickly outgrew that camera, though, and made the leap to a dSLR Nikon. Two years later, I upgraded my camera again. This was all in an attempt to take beautiful pictures of my Murray. He was the most handsome dog I had ever seen. His fur was shiny brown and so white. He didn't have scars (except for that perfect character scar on his nose) or chunks missing out of his skin the way Holly and Bee (and so many other greyhounds) did. He had a fuzzy white belly. He never had bald thighs. Food never stained his muzzle. He kept himself clean. He hated the camera at first, but eventually learned to stand still for momma. I took so many pictures of him. He was stunningly handsome. One of the greatest joys of my life was seeing Murray on the cover of the Celebrating Greyhounds calendar. I was checking Facebook for the cover photo on a drive with my mom from Palm Springs to Las Vegas. When the picture was posted, I let put a loud gasp in the car. This dog who was twice thrown away by his families was on the calendar's cover. I was thrilled for him. It seems silly to say that now, but some of you might understand. Murray loved us so much. That was always clear. In moments of stress, he literally looked to us for guidance, reassurance. He would do anything for us. He hated the car, but was always desperate to jump in because we were going somewhere together. That is all he ever really wanted, to be with us. Resting on beaches, up at my father's lake house, drinking wine in vineyards, or taking walks in the woods. He wanted to go wherever we were. We went to so many places with him in the eight years he was ours. He hated the journey but loved the destinations. He loved his momma more than anything. He was my heart dog. 10.6.10 In the end, we applied the same strategy to Murray's brain tumor that we applied every other issue he had. We could fix this. When his pituitary macroadenoma was diagnosed in September, we quickly opted for cyber knife radiation. He was perfectly healthy, we were assured. The treatment could possible extend his life by eighteen months! Could you imagine being given that gift of time with a brain tumor diagnosis? We were the luckiest people in the world, I thought, as the radiation oncologist spoke. Murray handled the treatments so well and returned to almost to normal very quickly. He was fixed. Thanks be to God, I thought. Some broken things can't be fixed no matter how hard you try, though. Last week, he was throwing up his food. This week, signs of radiation injury appeared. We had been warned about these things, but I thought that four months after treatment, we'd crossed into a safe place. Murray was in and out of the hospital this past week. We tried to fix things, but by Thursday night, we had lost control of the problems that came from medications and from his increasingly tired body. I took him for one last car ride on Friday morning and with the help of the most compassionate veterinarian, I said goodbye to my sweet boy. He was so tired, and so were we. We had been managing his illness for six months in an effort to fix the problem. We were all so tired. 11.27.15 Murray, please know that mom and dad are so sad without you. Our little house feels way too big without you here. Daddy keeps reaching down beside his armchair to stroke your fur the way he has for the last eight years, but you're not there. We are sorry that we didn't get our eighteen months, but we did have four more months together, a gift for all of us. We are heartbroken today, and will be for many days to come. We loved you, Murray. Words can't adequately express how much we loved you. You were our best boy for so long. Wait for us in heaven. We will see you and Bee Wiseman there one day. You were, and always will be, our son and our sun. 12.31.15 Edited January 10, 2016 by 45MPHK9 Quote Tricia with Kaia and Kyle, our senior mutt dogs Always missing Murray Maldives, Bee Wiseman, River, Hopper, and Holly Oaks Holly“You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.“ -Bob Dylan Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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