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1 Year, 12 months of Sadness, 365 Memories (well, really more!), and a Lifetime of Love

It’s been a year since Murphy left us.  12 months of sadness, tears, anger at that stupid “C” word.  How unfair that he beat one cancer for so long just to be taken by a different one!  At the time that we lost him, Cassie was getting worse with her walking, so taking care of her took up our minds and it sort of helped in a way.  I think that one of the hardest things when you lose a pet that has special needs, is that your day revolves around them – their care, their meds, their feeding, so when you lose them, you feel it more than you do with a pet that didn’t have special needs.  So the fact that Cassie suddenly was needing care – vet visits, rehab, medications, therapy, help with walking … meant that our minds were still busy.  It didn’t mean that we didn’t miss Murphy, it meant that we shifted.

In September we adopted Cooper.  We knew that Max would eventually be alone, so we wanted a companion for him.

In October we got a ramp for Cassie to help her with the 1 step off the deck.  We also used it to get her into & out of the car.  By Christmas she was not walking at all.  By the end of January, she was gone.  Two loves gone in 7 months, and then it all really hit, and it hit hard.

We no longer had anyone who needed full-time care, no one to schedule around, to worry about, so all of the grief just crashed down on us times 2.  One night I somehow found  a book called “The Amazing Afterlife of Animals” by Karen A. Anderson.  I practically read it in one sitting!  She spoke to my soul, she reached right through that book and held me and I found a bit of peace.

But today is Murphy’s day, and coincidentally it’s World Pet Memorial day.

Murphy was a scrawny little thing when we adopted him.  We were told that he was an “Irish Setter/Spaniel” mix by the rescue group and we decided to name him Murphy in honor of my mom!  That was her maiden name, and as an only child the name was never passed on by her.  Since he was part Irish, we thought it was appropriate 🙂  He was stubborn right from the start – if he didn’t want to do something, he would lay down & roll over.  One time I did battle with him because he started digging next to the central air unit – I think we fought for about a half hour!  I had no intention of hitting him, I just wanted to show him & tell him “NO,” but he alligator-rolled, & twisted out of his collar, dug into the ground, ran away from me…ugh!   Murphy & Cassie were always the best of friends, right from the very minute that they met.  She taught him how to crawl under the bed to sleep.  He loved to be outside, and he didn’t care what the weather was like!  If it was raining, he would lay underneath our large blue spruce trees.  Other times he’d lay in the sunshine on the deck.  Whenever we got the hose out to water the flowers, Murphy went to the furthest corner of the yard!  Cassie would come over to bite the spray or steal the sprinkler, but Murphy ran away from it.  He also ran away from the brush – he would start barking at me any time I got it out, and Cassie would walk over in between us and push her head under my hand.  Murphy loved to stick his head out of the car window, and he was a great passenger in the car.  He loved belly rubs from anybody who was willing to give them, including toddlers.  When we moved into our house, Murphy & Cassie were very quick to create a path in the grass around the pool.  No matter where they were in the yard, they had to go back to the path first before coming up to the deck to come in.  Murphy loved to chase the squirrels and he’d often corner them on the pool deck railing, forcing them to jump to the trees.  Murphy liked other dogs and liked meeting new friends.  Murphy loved when we were wrapping presents – he knew that eventually we would have an empty tube & they make great toys!  He really was a happy dog.  The day I took him out to Michigan State the fellow really gave his leg such a work-out and Murphy just let him, not one sound of complaint, even with a tumor there.  After his amputation he participated in 2 Bark for Life walks and raised money for the American Cancer Society, plus we traveled to Chicago for PuppyUp’s walk and raised money and awareness for canine cancer.  He was a true ambassador for canine cancer and Tripawds 🙂 Whenever I took him someplace he got attention, but if people felt bad for him I quickly assured them that they shouldn’t – that he was happy, healthy and pain-free because of his surgery.

I miss Murphy’s smile, his hugs (yes, he hugged!), and even his barking (I never thought I’d say that!  lol).  I miss him rolling over for a belly-rub, his moany-groany sounds that he made when he was happy, his hop-hop-hop down the hallway.  I miss watching him run the fence when there was another dog in the park – oh, he could run!  I miss the way he sat on his butt so that his back feet stuck up a little  bit so we could dry them off when they were wet.  I miss his sweet kisses – he gave sweet little kisses, but you had to be careful because sometimes he tried to slip that tongue in!  lol  I miss the little white tip of his tail, and the black outline of his ears.  I miss him looking around the corner of the wall from the hallway when I’m in the kitchen.  I think about both of them all the time 🙁

I’m so very grateful for this site and for the people here.  Some days are just too hard to be here for long, but I do still try.  I’ve made life-long friends here, friends who have travelled the same path I have and can understand what we’ve been through like no others.  Meeting in person, first in Chicago, then in Virginia was incredible!  I don’t know what I’d do without you.





















most of my Tripawds family 2018

my “twin” Paula aka dobemom

A brief rainbow we saw in the Outer Banks

thank you Rene <3

Thank you for letting me share (or over-share!) our Murphy tonight.

I love you Smurphs!

Donna & Glenn





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5 years ago our lives changed

For the past 5 years this day meant something  … this year, it’s just another day.  I worked today, just like I did that day 5 years ago.  I’ve thought about him today, just like I did that day.  But today I don’t have him to celebrate. I don’t have to make plans to go pick him up at the hospital or to figure out recovery.  Yes, as time goes on, it’s gotten easier, but days like today brings it all back.

Miss you Murph <3





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Cassie & Murphy together at the Bridge

Friday’s weather was nice (well, for Michigan in January, 37 is fairly  nice!) and we took Cassie outside in her wheelchair.  She had a wonderful time walking down the sidewalk, stopping to eat snow, walking in the street, sniffing the air.  We spent about 30 minutes letting her walk and sniff – the longest time she’s ever spent in her wheelchair.  She really seemed comfortable and like she was having a good time.


This was a work-weekend for me, so my husband was home with the crew.  On Saturday, Glenn texted me that Cassie seemed not quite right – she didn’t want her pill (anti-inflammatory for her arthritis) and she didn’t want to go outside.  I thought maybe she had just over-done it the day before, so I suggested a towel warmed up in the drier applied to her back and using her massager to her shoulders.  He said those things seemed to help.

That evening he took Cassie outside about 7:30, then brought her back in and she laid down in the living room.  Glenn returned to the family room and I was on my way home from work.  When I walked in around 8pm, Cassie was gone – she was laying peacefully and it didn’t look as though she had struggled at all.

Cassie was a Daddy’s girl.  She loved to “groom” us after a shower (or our grandchildren after a bath or the pool lol) …she loved wet hair!  She didn’t care for strangers, especially men wearing dark clothes, but she absolutely loved children, and anyone at the drive-through window.  She took care of any animal that came into our house, but she didn’t like the ones in the yard.  Her favorite thing to do was to watch out the window – whether it was the front window to watch the road, or the patio door to watch the park behind us, no one was getting past her!  She adored our grandchildren – they were her babies!  We adopted her as a puppy not long after my son graduated high school and she’s been with us for over 13 years.  She loved to dress up in frufru collars, but Murphy & Max would pull them off – they thought it was a game.









It’s just so hard to believe that we’ve lost 2 dogs so close together – just over 7 months apart. I think that taking care of Cassie helped with our grieving for Murphy, but now it’s just all on top of us. Our hearts are truly broken.  Maybe she just missed Murphy so much that she needed to be with him again.


he loved Cassie right from the beginning


Donna & Glenn


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Happy 12th Birthday at the Rainbow Bridge

Today would have been when we celebrated Murphy’s birthday. He was about 8 months old when we adopted him, so we don’t know his exact birthday, so this is the day that was guestimated as his day. A year ago we were celebrating with peanut butter apple cupcakes, this year it’s just another day. I was trying to just let the day pass, but I can’t. So I’ll share a couple of my favorite pictures of him.



he loved Cassie right from the beginning 


they always raced around the yard


he always laid flat on his belly


sitting pretty and catching treats!


Daddy always rolled down the window so he could get fresh air


chasing squirrels


He wasn’t supposed to get up here, but he always did!






always wanting a belly rub


He loved the snow!


He often watched us in the kitchen from the hallway


Miss you Murphy!  I hope you’re chasing all the squirrels away!








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A Long 6 Months

Well actually, it’s been 6 months and 12 days, but who’s counting?  A lot has happened in those months.

Cassie’s bulging discs & arthritis are getting worse.  We’ve done all kinds of therapy – acupuncture, laser, laser acupuncture, electronic acupuncture, toe-up shoe, medications and we even tried the water treadmill (that was a bust!).  She’s gotten to where she doesn’t really walk with her back legs at all – we lift with the help ’em up harness & she walks with her front legs.  She has feeling in her feet, but she doesn’t bend her knees and she just lets her feet drag.  She’s still very interactive and will pull us all over the place.  We’ve gotten a wagon to take her on walks around the neighborhood, which she seems to love!  We also just got a cart for her, so we’ll see how that goes.  We’ve only tried it once so far, so it’s a work-in-progress.  We’re hoping it will give her a little bit of mobility outside – well, at least when the snow is gone!  lol



Cooper is adjusting to life in the Hansen household. He’s grown a little bit – he’s up to 30lbs now. His favorite thing is to de-stuff anything he can. Him and Max are great friends, and he’s even played tug-of-war with Cassie. The cats are still adapting, though. Daisy was actually living in the basement, so we had to force her upstairs. Jasmine & Rascal are doing a little better, but they’re not friends yet.

Every year we go to this really cool place a couple of hours from here called Bronner’s Christmas Store.  It’s open all year long and they have everything Christmas you could imagine.  They will personalize pretty much any ornament for free.  This year we got one for Murphy, on the back it has the Rainbow Bridge poem.  I also received a wonderful Christmas gift, handmade by the Amazing Rene, that I will treasure forever – it’s a stamped ring that says “Furever my heart”


Wishing you all a Merry Christmas,


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