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: