Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Original Legal Schnauzer

One of the side benefits of Raw Story's piece about my termination at UAB is that it has given me an opportunity to introduce you to the original Legal Schnauzer.
That of course would be Murphy, our miniature schnauzer (1993-2004) who helped my wife and me survive the worst of our legal nightmare and serves as the inspiration for this blog.
I was telling someone the other day that when the idea of a blog first occurred to me, I thought of such clever titles as "" and "" While those titles captured the kind of rage my wife and I have felt from being victimized by our "justice system," they did not capture what I was after with this blog.

For one thing, I wanted the blog to be about more than just our personal tale of legal woe, so it needed a title with some breadth to it. And I wanted it to help educate citizens about the potential dangers that lurk in America's courtrooms. In other words, I wanted it to have a consumer, "news-you-can-use" feel to it. I wanted it to be helpful, and I think that prompted the name "Legal Schnauzer" to pop into my brain.

No living being has been more helpful to my wife and me--at a time when we desperately needed help--than Murphy was. Her playful spirit and her seemingly innate sense of right and wrong (at least that's how we saw it) helped keep us going at times when we both wanted to curl up in a corner and not move again.

If I had picked one of those impersonal blog titles, I think I would have given up the blogging gig a long time ago. Blogging, I've learned, is very time consuming, and it's hard work--particularly when you are writing about a complicated, important subject. I can't remember the last time I read a book, and my exercise regimen has pretty much gone down the drain.

Murphy had many attributes that we found endearing. But one of our favorites was her sense of duty. We called her our "little security guard." She saw it as her job to protect our house and let out a clarion call if any strangers came into her line of sight. That was her duty, and by God, she took it seriously.

At times when I've thought about packing it in on this whole blog thing--particularly when it became evident that we could pay a huge price because of the truths contained herein--I remembered Murphy and her deeply ingrained sense of duty. That inspired me to keep going. To borrow from a religious theme, it was kind of a WWMWMTD kind of thing--What Would Murphy Want Me To Do.

My wife and I agree that she would want us to push forward--even though I've lost my job, we might lose our house, and our lives are definitely on the edge of being ruined. I've never considered myself to be a particularly brave person. I've never been in the military and had to lay my life on the line for this country. But I do have some ability to research information and string sentences together in a somewhat coherent way. So I guess you might say that writing Legal Schnauzer a kind of patriotic duty--its my way of joining the chorus of folks who are trying to warn our fellow Americans about the grave dangers currently threatening our democracy.

It's been said that "a little child shall lead them." Here at Legal Schnauzer, it's been a little dog who has led us. We hope that journey will eventually lead to a restoration of justice in our country. If that effort fails, at least it won't be because we didn't try.

Our cover schnauzer is a strapping, handsome fellow named Gumpie-Poo. He is from Queensland, Australia, and the fine folks at Valleyview Dog Breeders gave us permission to use his picture.

We had never run a picture of Murphy because we didn't have any in a digital format. All of our photos are prints, and since I'm a little slow on the technological uptake, I wasn't sure how to solve that problem.

When the fine folks at Raw Story said they would like to run a photo of Murphy and me ("So people can see the original Legal Schnauzer," Lindsay Beyerstein said), I thought it was a great idea. But I was too dense to figure out how to get around the techno stumbling block.

Fortunately, my wife was on the ball. "Hey," she said, "I think places like OfficeMax can scan photo prints for us."

By golly, she was right. And that's what allowed us to provide the photo you see above.

Regular readers have a pretty good idea of how much Murphy meant to my wife and me. In fact, I've written a number of posts about her. Dog and animal lovers, or just folks who are curious about what inspired this blog, can check out these posts:

Why Legal Schnauzer?

More on Murphy

A Hole in our Hearts

Lessons From Our Pets

I thought it might be a neat idea to occasionally run a photo of Murphy (now that I know how to do it), perhaps as a reminder of the little dog who did so much to help us survive years of untold legal mayhem.

If, through these words and pictures, someone else might come to understand how much a special pet can mean--particularly in troubled times--that would be great, too.

For now, here is a photo of Murphy as a puppy, and I think this is the first shot we took of her, on her first day at home.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That last pic looks like something out of a puppy calender! :)