It has now been twelve days since Murphy passed away. He was my very best friend and most loyal companion, and I know that because we both cherished each other so fully in life, that I am able to heal a lot easier than I thought I would. Maya and Moses have been a HUGE help and I am so lucky and thankful that they were, and are, here.
Maya was the baby of the group, and acted as such. She still chewed on things, barked incessantly, jumped up on everyone, wasn't trusted alone un-crated, etc. Moses was the older, more independent sibling. Murphy was the middle man. He bridged all differences and had a lot of roles he filled for me. Once he passed, there were a few major things that I noticed were missing:
1.) Maya doesn't have anyone to chase her
2.) I don't have a constant snuggle-buddy and kisser
3.) I don't have someone waiting for me to get off my lazy butt and go outside with everyone
4.) My photographic camera-loving model is missing
Obviously there are more, but these things were just basic, not necessary things that we took for granted. I was very upset over these things, feeling like I would never have any of it back. My mom saw a dog program on television and told me that it said something along the lines of, "When a pet in a multi-pet family is no longer there, the roles of that pet are filled by the others in some way, shape, or form. Basically it is a job-opening and even though those applying aren't the exact same as the previous employee, the job will find a way to get done." I hoped it was true, and kept it in mind after she told me about it.
And wouldn't you know, it happened.
1.) Job Description: Chasing Maya
Moses and Murphy were pals for two years before Maya entered the picture. They were best buds who played and relaxed and went on adventures together. When Maya arrived, they all got along [eventually -- she is a little bit of a diva] but Murphy and Maya were also best buds. They would chase each other and wrestle and were close because they were so similar in their size and personalities. Murphy wouldbe best buds with each one -- he was just such a lover. But after Murphy passed, Moses and Maya seemed almost like uncomfortable characters in a sitcom who are forced to live together. Although they were just as much a part of the family and just as included, they didn't have the bond that Murphy had with each one of them separately. When we let Moses and Maya outside to go potty after what happened, Maya would bark and run and turn around expecting Murphy to be chasing her, but he wasn't there. Moses would always be off sniffing every bush or flower or corner of fencing, and the two "littles" would chase each other. She was upset over this change.
Yesterday was a beautiful day. We had friends coming over with their dog accompanied them, so we brought the two babies outside to blow off a little energy before our guests arrived. In the past, Moses would sniff on his own, and Maya would be chased by Murphy. Since the accident, Moses continued his sniffing, and Maya continued her running, only to turn around and be confused, run back to us, and then run away thinking she was being chased [wash, rinse, repeat]. Yesterday was a change. We got to our meadow and Maya took off in her normal spot. Moses chased her. They ran and ran and ran together. It was a very touching moment, and brought happy tears to my eyes, as I looked over my shoulder at Murphy's grave site in memory. Our friends arrived and I was a little on edge; Maya and their dog Cash get into spits every once in a while -- both being the alphas and both being the only females in our gaggle of dogs -- and I was preparing for an incident with my handy-dandy whistle constantly in hand. They met, sniffed, and Maya took off with Moses AND Cash in tow. They played so well together all day. Cash may have understood the loss or noticed that Murphy was missing, but regardless of what the reasoning was, Cash and Moses both filled Murphy's job of chasing Maya.
2.) Job Description: Snuggling and Kisses
Murphy always would snuggle with me. Either I would read and he would be on my lap, or we would spoon on the couch and watch a movie, or I would hold his hand at bedtime to fall asleep. No matter what was going on, if I asked him, he would come and snuggle. Moses is pretty independent, but also a Newfoundland mix. Having such a big dog on your lap tends to make you focus on the needles appearing when your legs go numb, and takes away from the relaxing-ness that snuggling brings. He is a good spooner, but it's hard to do so on the couch without him falling, and his head is so big that I can't see any of the movie [and we have a 12-foot projector screen we use for a television... his head is always in just the right spot where you can't see a thing]. When Maya is tired, she is a great snuggler. But with all of her energy, it takes a LOT to get her tired. She will lay on the back of the couch like a cat, staring out the window, but try and get her to lay on your lap unless she is ready to pass out? Pfft. No way. So basically I have to either have my body go numb, or not see the movie, or spend all day outside [not relaxing and being lazy] in order for Maya to snuggle, and I'll just go to sleep after such an exhausting day and not get to enjoy it being awake. Murphy was my perfect snuggle buddy.
After his accident, the other two knew I was upset; they were upset too, mind you, but dogs are just so in tune with your emotions and have the "need" to fix it. I was in a blanket on the couch almost every day; some days crying so hard I couldn't breathe... some days I had Netflix on constantly [draining our Internet usage for the entire month -- we are resorting to DVDs for the next two weeks]... and some days I was on the laptop looking at pictures or on MyCorgi. Moses would come lay near me, put his head by my legs, and just look at me. I would pet him and he would snuggle up, but not crush my body like he used to. And when I would call Maya to me, instead of looking at me with the, "You must be joking" expression, she would bound over like a deer and give me one of her famous hugs [wrapping her neck around my neck and just sitting there for a bit]. She wouldn't stay a long time, but she still bounced over. Since I haven't had Murphy as my go-to snuggler, the other two have had more opportunity to snuggle up and have taken it upon themselves to come without asking if I look like I am being lazy or relaxing. Part of me feels guilty for always snuggling with Murphy, but the other part knows that Moses is more independent, and Maya is more of an energy-filled cat who would rather lay on the back of the couch alone or run non-stop. They did alter their ways partially to fill this open job position without abandoning their individual personalities.
And the kissing. Murphy was a BIG TIME kisser. We had a game where I would touch my nose to his nose and pull it away without him kissing me. I usually lost because he would go to give me a kiss before I even moved. He loved giving kisses. Moses is such a big dog that when he gives kisses, it's like getting punched in the face with a slug. We also think he is part Boxer because when he is sitting in front of you and is close enough, he'll bring his paw up full force at your face, not realizing that he can actually hurt you. He will give kisses, just not the same as a Corgi kiss. But Maya doesn't kiss. She gives the best hugs in the world, just doesn't kiss. She would clean Murphy and Moses's eyes and ears, but never give us humans kisses. I missed his kisses and have asked her for kisses many times since. At first she would just give a hug and then touch my face with her nose... but lately has started either one kiss or the much anticipated 10-kiss-bunch! Not something she used to do, but I think she knows that a kiss was Murphy's way of saying he loved us. Her hugs are definitely her Maya way of doing that, but she is just filling an open role.
3.) Job Description: Waiting for Me by the Door
I think I already wrote about this, but Murphy used to demand that I accompany him outside. I was the one who usually took them out because I work early in the mornings and have the rest of the day to spend with the babies and play with them. Anyway, if my boyfriend took them to go potty or to play outside, Maya and Moses would BOLT outside, while Murphy got up, did an excited little Piggle Wiggle we called it, and would go as far out of the room as he could while still seeing me. He would grunt and do a piggy "oink" and smile his, "C'mon Mama!" smile. So I would get up and walk towards him and he would go into the next room to get outside. I would stop at the edge of the first room and peek around the corner. He would be at the edge of the next one waiting for me to catch up, continuing his grunting, oinking, and smiling. I would give up and just run outside so he could go play. This happened ALL THE TIME. It was a little game we had, I guess. Anyway, after Murphy passed, my boyfriend would let them outside because I was still feeling sad and couch-ridden. They followed him to the meadow and I watched as they ran at his feet. Then I saw Maya do a double-take at the house and trot back up to the front door and plop her butt down. I could see her big ears through the glass in the door. It brought happy tears to my eyes and I immediately put my shoes on and opened the door. She smiled a HUGE smile at me and led me to the meadow where we played fetch and watched them sniff and run. There have been at least three instances where this has happened in the last twelve days. She had never done that before.
4.) Job Description: Model
I was camera crazy when Murphy was still alive. He was so photogenic and LOVED the camera [and I'm not just saying that... he would always smile or strike a pose. It wasn't just a Corgi smile.. it was his, "Take my picture, Mama!" smile]. I'm glad I took so many pictures of him, so I can have albums and photos printed and something to look at if I feel sad. Since his accident, I've been a little bit camera psycho. I've taken pictures and many videos I would have called "boring" before.. of them just walking around sniffing the trees. Now I think, "What if something happens to either one of these babies? I want something to look at later on.." and I go nuts. Maya used to hate getting her picture taken. She would see the camera and BOLT. I have SO many pictures of her fuzzy butt in a blur. After what happened, she will tolerate my shutter-clicking madness. I am glad too, because I got some really funny pictures of her. Poor Moses's fur is so dark that it's sometimes hard to get his features to show, but he's been more photo-tolerant than he used to as well.
These things might not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but it feels like Moses and Maya know what is missing, and are doing exactly what my mom told me she saw, filling the roles Murphy had filled. Coping with him not being here is a little easier when the things he used to do are being represented by his siblings, members of our family, and his best pals.