What Makes a Purr-fect Friend?

A Purrfect Friend

A Purrfect Friend- Murphy – We Miss YOU!

Murphy, O Murphy where have you hid? You are no where around…though Murphy has died days ago, I still look for him. Sometimes canines just feel “out of sorts.” That’s how I feel. Sometimes you don’t realize who your purrfect friends are until they are gone. Murphy I miss you more than when kong-time is late and you know how I long for my Kong.

What makes a purrfect friend you ask? Well, Murphy taught me a lot. I learned that things that go bump in the night isn’t usually something scary. It is usually Murphy running through the apartment or jumping on the furniture. Murphy loved playing with ribbons that my mom tied on door knobs, rolling all over batting them with his paws. Murphy seemed to enjoy life to the max even if it was only 4 months of his 6 years he lived with me and my mom-we had a great 4 months. A cat, yes A Cat named Murphy was classy, smart, good looking, funny and as bold as a lion. And I think he secretly loved it when I chased him. He was fast but ALWAYS stopped just for a second and turned towards me and SMILED. Yes, Murphy I must admit me and my mom miss you a lot.

Notice that Murphy was a purrfect friend not a perfect friend; after all he was a cat! My mom told me there is no such thing as a perfect friend on this earth. Like whiny me, Murphy hacking up hair balls, my mom when she forgets to fix my Kong; we all have shortcomings. It will do us good to look beyond the imperfections and cherish all the good things that make our friends the most wonderful friends in the world. *We miss you Murphy.


Take No Cat For Grant It

There hasn’t been much extra- CAT-curricular activities at home for the last week. Many of my mom’s friends have visited to help wrestle with little Murphy in order to get his meds down him. He has been one sick cat but seems better now, I hope. I think I love the little fella– to my great surprise.

Just Chillin' with my brother, Murphy the cat.

Just Chillin’ with my brother, Murphy the cat.

Murphy has been in hiding most the time, I guess that is what cats do. Usually, I take great pleasure in Murphy coming out to “play.” He usually hangs out with us in the living room. Maybe I need a MRI of my brain to make sure I am normal as this doesn’t seem possible! Me the Shadow- missing the cat!

Murphy hasn’t slept with me and my mom since he got sick over a week ago. My mom told me she missed him walking on her though it causes her much pain. He climbs over to the other side of the bed and lays on his special pillow usually. Last night I heard mom go, “Ouch, ouch, ouch!” And there was Murphy climbing over my mom to get to “the other side.” My mom was so happy even with the pain- to have him back! She told him she would never complain again about the “ouch.” Murphy even came down to me and licked my face before settling down. I guess we all missed each other.

Bottom line: Appreciate even the things that we think just annoy us NOW. One day we may wake up without a cat to chase or friend to tease. Then we will realize how much they really were a great joy in our lives. Murphy, we hope you continue to get well and stay around a long time. For a cat…you are okay….okay, okay –for a cat you are great. Always Value those you chase…umm..I mean– those you love!

This for That or That for This

Not only did I go through a lot of training to be a Service Dog, every day is like on the job training. My mom went through training with me and we will always be in “training.”

Shadow's Short Tales

Me (Shadow) and my mom.

One of the reasons I used to love training so much was I always got “this for that.” I got a treat for doing whatever my mom asked me to do if I responded correctly. Boy, once I figured out that I got a treat each time I was faster than fast…YUM! But as I grew and matured the treats got less and less. Sure, I do get treats for doing what I am called to do but only when my mom decides to give them to me. Doing what I do without getting this (a treat) for that (performance) is no longer my motivation. I sort of grew up and do “that” for my mom because it is who I am and what I do.

If my mom felt she always had to give me something for turning the light off or picking up her slippers she would be doing “THAT” for “THIS.” It equally speaks of the wrong motive of her heart. She would be striving to repay me for what I freely give. That would steal my joy of serving.

Are we always expecting “this” for “that?” Or do we feel obligated to give something when they do something (THAT). Both can bring disappointment. “This for that” is the I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine attitude.”That for This” is striving to and always paying someone back for a good deed or gift.  When we don’t expect “THIS” for “THAT”or strive to do “THAT” for “THIS” it changes us. Giving without expectation and receiving without striving to pay someone back is balance living. It is unconditional love and acceptance. One of the best things in life is when we know the how to give and accept love unconditionally.

Marvelous Mundane Work

Yeah, sometimes a working Service Dog has to do mundane jobs. Each day is a new day but the same old work. Some jobs I like more than others, like I love taking my mom’s socks off, shutting the lights off, and bring her the remote. I love bringing my mom my dish in case she forgets what time I am to be fed. My mom says I am a wonderful watch dog and I let her know when there is someone by our door or out in the back yard. I also keep watch for Murphy and chase him away so my mom can focus on her work…this I do with great gusto. However, my mom will give me kennshadow dishwasher resizeel time if I put too much Gus in my Go because Murphy is part of our family and mom says he has a right to be a pest.

One of my favorite jobs is after my mom makes me these yummy and healthy peanut butter-pumpkin bones; I get to pre=wash the bowl. This is just the pre-wash and we always do a follow up with hot, soapy water.

Though most days my work  seems mundane my mom reminds me she needs me and that  mundane doesn’t mean unimportant. All the work we do for our Master makes a difference whether our work is non-stop and exciting or Marvelously Mundane. May we always do our work with GUSTO!

Keep Moving

I love going places with my mom. Many people ask my mom what does she do? I am called a “Mobility Dog.” My main job is to help my mom stay mobile by helping her with balance, support, and bracing. My mom has a wheelchair stored in a closet and it is where we hope it will stay. During times I am out of harness when we go for a walk my mom uses a walker to keep stable.

Two Mobility Specialists

Two Mobility Specialists

There is another type of Mobility Specialist called a chiropractor. My mom goes to Dr. Marc who uses his hands to set my mom straight. Dr. Marc says it is important to keep moving. The adjustment helps her keep moving and gets rid of headaches. (If Dr. Marc would just take Murphy he would be taking away my headache!) I love Dr. Marc and his staff as they also “treat me” literally with treats while always treating my mom with compassion and care.

Keep moving. There is no such thing as staying in place. If we are not moving forward, we are losing ground. Even when life is painful and it seems like you take three steps forward and two steps backwards, be thankful for the one step you gained…and keep moving- forward.

Don’t It Turn My Brown Eyes Green!

Okay, I got a bone to pick! I am not sure if I should pick it with Murphy (the cat) or with my mom. You see, I used to be “the one” – the only one. Now, I have to share my mom with ahhhh…ahhh THE CAT! Don’t get me wrong, Murphy is okay I guess– for a cat if he stays under the bed where he belongs. But he doesn’t. He even comes out to visit with my mom’s friends now!

My mom says she doesn’t play favorites. How come it feels like she does? Does she let me sit on her lap like Murphy does? No. Do I get to sleep on her pillow along side her like the crazy cat did the other night- No (I won’t fit on the pillow). At night, do I get to run through the apartment like a mad dog like the cat does? No. Do I get to roll on cat nip and zone out, no!

My mom says she loves me differently than Murphy but the same. What is that Greek or something? Strange talk for a dog to understand. Mom says there is no reason to be jealous. She reminds me of my Special calling to help her and go places with her and Murphy never gets to go. Mom brushes my teeth and grooms me and lets Murphy do his own thing. Okay, okay…my green eyes are turning brown again. I guess Murphy deserves to be loved just as I do. He just better not try bringing my mom her slippers or anything like that. That is MY job.

Why Did God Make Cats?

Why Did God Make Cats?

My mom says her favorites are a dog name Shadow (ME!) and a cat named Murphy. She said to make either one of us more important or choosing one over the other is wrong. She told me a good way for me to deal with jealousy is to honor one another (Murphy?!) above myself ..meaning I should be tail wagging happy that Murphy has a place to live with us. Mom said it means not to chase him. Boy, living with a cat sure can change a dog’s life! That is Mission Impossible…if Murphy runs it is my solemn duty as a dog to chase him, right? (Mom says Nope!)

Just Behind The Door

It is easy to think that because I am a Professional Service Dog that I have no problems of my own. Well, my focus is taking care of my mom but I have a few struggles of my own. My mom says I have a “green eyed monster” even though my eyes are brown and I never seen a monster other than Murphy around here. I have yet to figure that one out.

My biggest problem is I freak out when I don’t see my mom. It is called separation anxiety and one time it was really bad when my mom had to get x-rays and my friend Sue sat with me on the other side of the big door. I cried and cried. Just couldn’t understand why I couldn’t be with my mom. At home sometimes I fall asleep (off duty of course though I really am on duty 24/7). Suddenly I become aware my mom is no where to be found. So I seek and sense she went into the rest room and cry because she is behind the door. Life is hard on a dedicated Service Dog who “loses sight” of her mom. Seconds later my mom will open the door and tell me that I am a goofy but loyal dog and gives me a reassuring hug. She was never far away after all. She was just behind the door.Rays of light through the open white door on orange wall

Sometimes life can make one feel very lonely. You may even think no one cares. I assure you have a friend that is “just behind the door.” Sometimes you need to  cry out like I do for my mom. I know Some One cares for you! Just as I know someone cares for me and my mom….and even Murphy.

Living Upside Down

Serving my mom by helping her balance, pick up stuff, and opening the door is such a joy to me. In a world that seems to be getting more self absorbed and self-centered, so many are missing out on the Joy of giving of themselves. Our friend, Bob Burg, who with John David Mann wrote the book The Go-Giver shares some great wisdom. Bob Burg lives the life of a go-giver.

Murphy practicing a cat's concept of living the upside down life.

Murphy practicing a cat’s concept of living the upside down life.

It seems like the upside down life. You don’t give to get but when you give–you get. Like when I open the door for my mom I get praise and a pat or a hug. Not much beats that in my book. Even when there is  seemingly no pay off for serving there is a reward and it has a value greater than one can convey.

We Service Dogs are called Leader Dogs when we serve the blind. Whether a dog is a leader dog, mobility dog like I am, PTSD dog for a  War Veteran, or Search and Rescue dog or in the many other areas of service…we all are leaders in serving and giving. This makes us Go-Givers in the canine world. We add great value to the lives of our “humans.” Just ask my mom!

Our friend Bob Burg wrote,“Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.” The Go-Giver may seem targeted to business but it can easily be applied to every aspect of life. A Go-Giver is one who gives….could be a smile, good advice, helping a friend move, buying lunch for a stranger or any other act of kindness. Giving at its highest level is motivated by love. There is no love greater than to lay down your life for a friend. Most of us probably won’t be faced with that choice but some will. The truth is I will lay down my life to protect my mom. Mom told me her earnest prayer is if the need arise she would lay down her life for her friends without a second thought. Even when the going gets tough we will live the Go-Giver way and perhaps die a Go-Giver. In a way, it is like living in upside down world when you live not for self; but to put others first. Who is first in your life? Is living without giving – truly living?








I Think I Wanna Be A Cat

Having Murphy the cat around has taught me how easy life is for a cat! He just does whatever he wants, however he wants and only when he wants to! What a life! Eat, drink and be merry! I have to work. I love to work but maybe I just wanna be a do nothing cat, sounds easy and fun. Murphy is like a free loader. In defense of Murphy, my mom says I need to mention the value he adds to our lives. Okay, okay, this Service Dog has to think deep….a cat that adds value…

Okay, Murphy the cat can be entertaining. Especially fun to chase if I get away with it. Usually, my mom tells me to knock it off or “kennel.” Murphy does have a heart too, I watch him lick my mom tears away and cuddle next to her on one of her difficult days. (I get a bit upset when Murphy starts acting like a Service Dog though).

MurphyJMe wanting the easy life of a cat and Murphy the cat acting like a Service dog can be a bit confusing. Murphy has even picked up a pen my mom dropped (just to chew on it not bring it back to her like I would do). He is messing with my harness while it is propped up against the wall, when I am not working. He better not be getting any big ideas. I am the Service dog, he is the cat!

My mom told me the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. She reminds me if I was a cat I will have to go potty in a box, and stay in the apartment. My mom even mentions how I may have to hack up hair balls. That did it. I don’t want to be cat.

Seems like everybody wants to be somebody else. Take it from a Service Dog- I learned a new lesson in life. We are created to be who we are; no one else can replace us, nor can we be them, even if we tried.  You are unique and have a great purpose for your life that only you can fulfill. Enjoy being YOU. You can not be a better someone else because that isn’t who G-d created you to be. You are beautiful just the way you are. Be YOU!