What? Who’s Murphy?

So, first his name was Max.Murph

Then, six months later, we decided his name should actually be Murphy.  We could tell by the longing in his eyes: he had been misnamed.

Sometimes we slip into old habits and accidentally call him Max, but that’s okay since it’s his middle name now.  He answers to many names.

Now we call him Murphy, Murph, Murphs, Murphy Purphy, StopEatingPoop, and Murphington.

And most recently, Tyler has started calling him Julie.

The Writer with the Dog

Today, Max and I are writing outside.  Shady trees.  Cobblestone sidewalk.  I’m sitting on the hearth of a great big fireplace.

I tell you, there’s just nothing sweeter than a clean, freshly groomed Shih Tzu.  There’s a little orange ribbon over his right ear which is a little weird. It’s the groomer’s tribute to The Broncos.  But still, he’s a boy dog with a bow in his hair.  And that’s a little weird.

As if Max is short for Maxine.  Maxine would definitely qualify as a great dog name.  I always lean toward the names of women from my grandma’s generation.  Bernice.  Helen.  Lois.  Inez.

Maybe Max and I will become writing companions.  He’ll sit with me and be affirming with his charm, and I will take him fun places with treats for dogs.  We’ll be a team.

And I sincerely hope that ‘the writer with the dog’ is not the same as ‘the lady with the cats.’

Deep thoughts today, you can see.

Boy-Dog Parts

I made an appointment with the vet today when I noticed this never-seen-before black swollen lump in his abdomen.

He was neutered yesterday (praise God from whom all blessings flow), and in the post-op appointment they gave us many tips to watch for, all suggesting problems with the sutures or Max’s pain.

But this black lump?? This can’t be right, I thought.

I took Max in, although he was not quite so willing to step over the threshold today. No way, Tricia. You don’t even know the indignities that happen inside this place.

The technician and I had spoken on the phone to schedule the appointment, and he met me in the lobby. “Okay, before you spend fifty bucks with the doctor, let me just have a look-see. This? This right here? That’s his scrotum.”

No, it is not. “I have never seen that before in my life.”

He looks up at me and winks. “Well, we all have one.”

Holy cats. Now somehow I think we’re talking about yours.

“So, he’s okay then?”

“He’s absolutely okay. You’ve never seen that before because it was covered with hair, but he’s always had one.”  This discussion of that particular tuft of Max’s hair seems like a very different conversation than the fluffy bit behind his ears.

The tech looks at the receptionist and says in blatant falsetto, mimicking my voice from the phone call this morning, “He has this black lump, and it’s all swollen…”

The receptionist answers. “Yep. Scrotum.”

“Well, no kidding…huh.”

I definitely didn’t know boy dogs had one, or that he would still have one after yesterday’s procedure. But, I confess I didn’t do a whole lot of research. I just wanted him to stop humping everything that stands still. All of the stuffed animals had been violated. Nobody was safe around here.

So, there we have it. Max is well, and he won’t die with this black swollen lump that has now been identified.

And I am the laughing stock of the veterinary clinic. Officially my most embarrassing pet-owning moment.

(Please note, I didn’t say Dog Parenting.)

Side by Side

Tucker carries Maxwell to me at least six times a day.  Wherever I am in the house, Tuck appears.  With Max.

“Mommy, he wants to sit with you.”

“He wants to be near you.”

“He wants to know where you are.”

“Mommy, Max will sit safely on your lap.  He’ll be very quiet.”

“He was looking for you.”


This morning, as he carried Max out to me while I was taking out the trash (please disregard the fact that one of these young gentlemen should be taking out the trash), I said, “Tuck, Max doesn’t have to be with me all the time.”

“But he wants to.  So I bring him to you.”

“He’s okay, buddy.  He can learn to be away from me sometimes.”

“Mommy.  It’s just that I know how he feels.”