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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Remembering the schnauzer who inspired a blog about the fight for justice




Murphy and Carol appeared on a TV report about the Blessing of the Animals
on St. Francis of Assisi Day



Today marks the 12th anniversary of the death of Murphy Abigail Shuler, the beloved miniature schnauzer for whom this blog is named. Murphy died unexpectedly on her 11th birthday, and my wife, Carol and I still miss her like she passed yesterday.

Ironically, Murphy's death and birthday came on January 14, one day after Carol's birthday, January 13. You might say that, for us, all kinds of mixed emotions are wrapped up in those two dates on the calendar.

If something good comes from this blog--a more educated public about injustice, more awareness about our broken and dysfunctional court system, support for victims of court-related corruption--the credit for that should go to Murphy. Without her, I don't think I ever would have been inspired to write a blog.

How could a dog inspire a blog. I tried to put the answer to that question into words with a post back in October 2011:

I am convinced that the distinctive title is a major reason this blog has resonated with more people than I ever dreamed possible.

In fact, an individual who has been the subject of quite a few posts here recently told me, "You know, people ask me all the time about Legal Schnauzer. And I think that title is one reason. It seems to connect with people."

Needless to say, those words warmed my heart. That's because this blog never has been about the anger, frustration, and fear we've experienced at the hands of our broken justice system--although those certainly are key elements to the story. At the risk of becoming overly ethereal, Legal Schnauzer has been, for the missus and me, like a divine calling.

It really is inspired by Murphy Abigail Shuler, the miniature schnauzer who was a guiding light in our lives from the day we adopted her in March 1993 until her death on January 14, 2004. She was with us, literally, through the first four years of our trip through legal hell. She is with us, spiritually, today.

What did Murphy mean to us? I tried to address that in a post titled "Lessons from our pets":

I don't pretend to know the answer to weighty questions about our pets. But I know what my wife and I hope--and believe. A heaven without Murphy and our other animal friends would not seem, well, all that heavenly.

Have you ever wondered about the special senses animals have? For 11 years, I knew that Murphy could see and hear and smell things in a way that I could not. But I also suspect she could sense our Creator in a way that I could not.

Many times I wonder exactly what my mission is in this time and place. I hope I'm a fairly decent husband, son, and brother, and I like to think I'm considered a reliable employee and coworker. I hope a few people consider me a friend worth having.

Murphy and her mom at Gulf Shores, Alabama

But I think Murphy knew exactly what her mission in this life was. And I think she sensed that from a higher power every day. Without that kind of connection from above, I don't know how she could live with the faith and trust that she displayed on a daily basis.

We humans struggle to discern our missions. And even when we think we've found them, we are easily distracted, easily turned in other directions. My sense is that Murphy never veered from the path she was meant to be on.

Aside from all that heavy stuff, Murphy was just a ball to have around. She was a source of constant amusement and playfulness, so much so that we developed the habit of creating songs for her--as I tried to explain in a post titled "Songs for Murphy":

Maybe our favorite "Murphy Song," appropriately enough, came from a band whose roots are firmly planted in Tuskegee, Alabama. It was inspired by the Girl's solid little build. We've read that some miniature schnauzers weigh in the 10- to 12-pound range. But that wasn't our girl. She was 18 to 20 pounds of solid muscle. "Murph, you're built like a brick s--thouse," one of us said one day. That prompted us to try our version of this Commodores classic:

And so, while this day always brings sadness, it also brings a sense of thankfulness, joy, and hope. In that spirit, we share a song that will forever make us think of Murphy--and it never fails to make us smile:




15 comments:

Anonymous said...

May we all be as connected to our Creator as Murphy. Prayers to you both and continued sweet memories of your "furry daughter".

Anonymous said...

16 years is a long time to have to deal with these Good-ole-Boy thugs. But hey! They have had Big "O" by the balls for 6 years.

Anonymous said...

Love the video that includes Carol and Murphy. You just see the joy and love on Carol's face when the priest is blessing Murphy.

Anonymous said...

I always thought Lionel Richie sang lead on "Brick House"--and all of the other Commodores hits from that era. But that doesn't look like Lionel singing on this one.

legalschnauzer said...

That's Walter Orange on lead vocals for "Brick House," @2:53. Lionel is playing sax. One of the coolest songs ever.

Anonymous said...

Real men and women have human children.

Anonymous said...

Oh, really, @4:44. Are you saying Jesus Christ wasn't a real man?

Anonymous said...

So, I guess Sadam Hussein and Josef Stalin were "real men." And Condoleeza Rice and Oprah Winfrey aren't "real women"? Makes a lot of sense, @4:44.

e.a.f. said...

What is a "real" person, Anny 4:44 p.m.? I always figured if you were alive and breathing and defined as a human being, you were a real person. Whether you choose to have children or not, is no one's business. Given the population explosion in the world, people who don't have children, are helping keep populations under control.

Pets are wonderful things to have in our lives. Now it may be said kids will move out at some future date, but kids do wreck you car.

having had 4 spousal units, I found my pets to be more reliable, more caring, more faithful. Now it might be said some of us have bad taste in spousal units, but than heavens for pets.

People with pets tend to stay healthier and live longer, and are happier. Can't say that about all people with spousal units. As one woman once said to me a dog never beat her, a dog never stole from her, a dog never said he'd be home for dinner in 20 minutes and show up 3 days later. she said the same thing about cats. So there is a lot to be said for pets.

Naming the blog after the dog is nice. Its thoughtful. Loosing a pet can be as tramatic as loosing a human from your life.

Anonymous said...

I think what @4:44 was trying to say, is that intelligent, rational people realize that a dog is a pet, not a replacement for a child. You can love your pet, but shouldn't elevate it equal to a person. People don't need children to be happy or lead productive lives.
@2:20 - That was one of the worst comebacks I've ever heard. At least @3:39 picked people that everybody can agree actually existed. And if you're a christian, you believe that jesus is god and therefore actually created man. So either way you go, your argument is stupid.

Anonymous said...

400 North Carson Road?

Anonymous said...

"Then why in hell would anyone stay with him?" Pete demanded.
"Some women get off on being used like that, Pete."
"No one I know," he said.
"Want to bet?" she asked. "I'll bet that, oh, a third of the women
you know like that stuff."
He was shocked. "You gotta be kidding me!"
She shook her head. "Women talk about stuff, Pete. You'd be
surprised how many like that."
"Do you?"
"Try it and I'll rip your balls off!"

Anonymous said...

I think what @4:44 was trying to say, is that intelligent, rational people realize that a dog is a pet, not a replacement for a child. You can love your pet, but shouldn't elevate it equal to a person. People don't need children to be happy or lead productive lives.
@2:20 - That was one of the worst comebacks I've ever heard. At least @3:39 picked people that everybody can agree actually existed. And if you're a christian, you believe that jesus is god and therefore actually created man. So either way you go, your argument is stupid.

Real men and women have human children.

legalschnauzer said...

Did you mean for your comment to sound absurd, @9:26. If so, you succeeded.

You state: "People don't need children to be happy or lead productive lives."

Then, you state: "Real men and women have human children."

I assume you can see the contradiction here. Also, your knowledge of the Bible seems to be from another planet.

I'm a Christian, and I've never been taught that Jesus created man. In fact, I've never even heard that notion before. Jesus is the son of God, and he died for man's sins, according to scripture. But Jesus created man? Not sure where you got that.

legalschnauzer said...

@9:24, does 400 North Carson Rd. have a particular meaning in this discussion?