Monday, May 16, 2022

Kathe and Murphy

In a book titled, “A Dog’s Gift”, author Bob Drury captures the heart-felt story of an organization called “Paws4People.” This organization was founded by a former army officer who joined his daughter on trips to nursing homes to allow residents to play with their family dog, a golden retriever named Riley. 

The book follows the journey of pups bred by the organization from their loving, if rigorous, early training to an emotional event that he and his daughter have since called “the bump.” The “bump” is where each individual service dog chooses its new owner through an almost mystical connection by going up to the trainer and “bumping” their hand.

In the retirement center where my in-laws have lived for the past several years, there is a "companion" dog who resides at the center. His name is Murphy. He strolls the halls and stops whenever and wherever he wants. Generally, it's to be petted or given a treat.
I’m not sure Murphy had such rigorous training as Riley, but I know he has certainly had some mystical connections to the residents who live there.
Becky’s Mother, Kathe, passed away last December. It was early on a Tuesday evening, and as good fortune would have it, her family and her husband, Allen, were by her side.
Kathe passed quietly and peacefully. I watched from a distance as each family member gave her hand one last squeeze and a soft kiss on the cheek.
It wasn’t long after, that Murphy came walking his slow pace into that part of the memory care facility. I was sitting on the bench outside of Kathe’s door and I saw Murphy turn and head directly to her room. 
I said nothing. Murphy walked to the open door and stopped.
He soon let out a soft whimper…a yelp…and then a short howl.
His head dropped…he turned and left.
I believe it was Murphy’s way of giving a “bump” to Kathe.