|Murphy as a puppy|
Folks who follow Legal Schnauzer pretty closely might have noticed in recent days that we have a new header. You might say that the header is our "mission statement," a brief summary of what this blog is about.
We recently passed the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, which many churches around the country celebrate with a "Blessing of the Animals" on or near October 4. Francis of Assisi was the patron saint of animals and the environment--and he is one of the most beloved religious figures in history.
It seemed appropriate that the idea to change our blog's header would come in early October. I've never been real pleased with the header we've used since the blog's inception in June 2007. Here is how it read:
One couple's encounter with corrupt judges, slimy lawyers, and incompetent prosecutors in Alabama. . . and how you can avoid being cheated by the vermin who make a mockery of our justice system.
That certainly is accurate. Mrs. Schnauzer and I have encountered "corrupt judges, slimy lawyers, and incompetent prosecutors" and they most definitely are "vermin" who "make a mockery of our justice system."
But there is nothing very hopeful about that header--nothing that indicates maybe we can do something about these problems and the people who cause them. Plus, it sort of makes me sound like a crank. (The fact that I am a crank is beside the point; I don't want to sound like one.)
Perhaps worst of all, the header provides no hint about why the blog is called what it's called. And 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.
|Murphy as a big girl|
Our journey with Murphy started on a blustery day when we drove to a breeder's home in what might be called the "backwoods of the Black Belt," about 15 miles south of Selma, Alabama. That journey continues now, even though we no longer can rub on Murphy's "brick house" of a bod, or play hide and seek with her, or feel her sleeping between us at night.
Legal Schnauzer, in essence, says "a little dog shall lead them." And that's why I think our new header is a major improvement on the old one. Here it is:
The memory of a beloved pet inspires one couple's fight against injustice.
That's short and sweet--and it says exactly what I want it to say. Too bad it took more than four years for me to think of it.
We've written extensively about Murphy, and what she meant to us. Here are just a few of those posts:
Why Legal Schnauzer?
More on Murphy
A Hole In Our Hearts
Lessons From Our Pets
Once I figured out how to convert photo prints into digital images, readers could see pictures of "The Original Legal Schnauzer."
But there is something about Murphy I've never shared with readers--she was a television star. On October 5, 1997, Mrs. Schnauzer and I took Murphy to the Blessing of the Animals at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Homewood, Alabama.
Here is the blessing that the priest gave to Murphy, and the other animals, that day:
Bless O Lord, Murphy, that she may be a faithful companion and a blessing to those who love her.
Murphy lived those words to the fullest, and they still bring tears to my eyes.
After the service that day, we hung around to talk with several people, and rub a lot of furry heads. We were one of the last to leave, and as we were about to get in the car to head home, a crew from a local television station showed up.
The priest asked if we would help recreate Murphy's blessing for the TV cameras. We were happy to do that, of course, and so our girl was featured on the evening news. We've converted our videotape of the program to a digital format, so Murphy now can live on through YouTube.
You can check out the news report below. Murphy is the schnauzer being held by her mom at the beginning and end of the clip. Enjoy.