Our beloved Golden Retriever Murphy has joined his sister Cody in Doggie Heaven. Murphy has left a hole in our lives that will be impossible to fill. We were blessed at Thanksgiving that even though Murphy was having a hard time walking he was still strong enough to make the trip and perform his kingly duty over his court of two Golden Labradors(Zowie and Lance), a mixed breed (Molly) and a Yorkshire Terrier(Mimi). Our other dog Casey stayed home because she doesn't get along with one of the Golden Labs. I regret she did not get to share in this last celebration for her brother Murphy. I also feel so sorry for Casey, because she has lost both her brother and sister and is all alone in the house. It is so sad to see her lay around because you sense that she is lonely or doesn't understand where her companions are? However, despite the terrible circumstances, I have gained a new shadow as Casey follows me everywhere. In past times I would be petting Casey and the micro second that my hand would stop petting her she would bolt away in search of another petter. Now she cuddles with me and stays and gives me her love. I am sorry for the reason, but I am thankful to have Casey give me her love at a time when I so desperately need it. I can't begin to tell you how fortunate I feel that Murphy spent his last few days surrounded by his loved ones and being the center of attention. I took photos and videos out the ying yang so I would have precious memories that could brighten my day anytime the tears started to well up inside of me. We had been preparing for this moment for about a year as Murphy's hind quarters continued to deteriorate, primarily due to two knee operations that he had many years ago, that never fully healed. I kept watching and praying that he was ok and not in severe pain and that we were not being selfish and self centered in keeping him with us. There was little warning when the actual time came and caught us off guard as his back legs completely gave out on him. We agonized for 24 hours as we lay with him praying to God that he would recover, only to fully realize that the time had come to say farewell to our beloved companion. The love and comfort that Murphy gave to us is a treasured memory that will hold near and dear to our hearts. I know when I need it most he will give me one of his smiles that he was famous for and playfully but oh so gently, take my hand into his mouth and pull me around the room. Both Mary and I were able to pet and hug him and make sure that his last moments on earth were filled with love. But to be truthful, our love paled in comparison to the love he showed this family. Our fondest and funniest memories that we will cherish of Murphy start with the puppy that in a overcrowded showroom was so calm and cool that he stood out in the crowd by his inaction. While he forever remained gentle and kind as he grew from puppy to doggie, we wondered if he would stay alive on his own as he had a tendency towards various serious acts of destruction. Not one for the cheap stuff, he made us prove that we were worthy of his love. Evidenced by his eating electrical outlets, power cords, cell phone chargers, refrigerant lines to central air conditioners and apparently to add fiber to his diet, crown moldings in multiple homes. We are all still amazed that he survived these ordeals, but it was so worth it. Our fondest memories of Murphy: -Like the time he held three baby bunnies in his mouth to protect them and wandered for hours with them in his mouth. -Like the way he let Casey groom his mouth every morning (see page four of our Christmas Newsletter for the picture,) I kept telling myself that I wanted a better picture of this oral hygiene but I kept putting it off, telling myself that I will have my camera tomorrow. I can't begin to tell you how terrible I feel about this procrastination. Hopefully it will be a life lesson learned to not repeat this mistake. -Like the way he would smile for you, sensing it when you needed him to reach out to you. -Like the way he got lost and wandered into a homeless village and showed me the real meaning of compassion and gentleness. Yes he was worth it, our family lost a treasured family member. Goodbye my friend.