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Downtown Murphy Brown

A day in the life of Downtown Murphy Brown.

img_6160Up at 5:00, she stumbled down the hall for her morning kisses, still toasty warm from sleeping with her sister, Pebbles and her kitty, ShortBus.

Mom calls out, “Dishes!” Four giant heads pop up and one little fluffy orange one. Breakfast comes early on the day of a Gabriel’s Angels visit, but there are always four baby carrots for dessert. Murph’ waits by the door of her room to be served.

Fed, watered and potted, we make it to the groomer for a 7 am appointment, and Tracy, our groomer calls about 2 hours later and tells us that although Murphy put herself in the tub for her bath, sat for her ear cleaning, the trimming of her britches and mani-pedi (or is it pedi-pedi?), she was NOT allowing the dryer anywhere near her behind and was really stressing over it!

I shot down to the salon and as soon as I got there, Murphy settled and let Tracy finish her up. Evidently she even tried tethering Murph’ to the grooming table, but that’s just carting practice for a mastiff. She can drag the huge apparatus all over the room, and did.

Personally, I think it was the snorting, yapping pug stressing her out.

Home again and time to roll, I pulled out her purple “Go Bag”, topped it off with a bag of baby carrots, two sanitized slobber towels, brushes, trading cards, activities and books on dogs, one purple Gabriel’s Angels vest (size XXXL) and her fancy collar. Murphy hopped in the back of the car, ready to rock a few sad kids’ worlds.

We arrived at the protective custody group home and the teens greeted her with squeals and hugs. Forgetting to read the name that is embroidered on her vest, they said, “Micah’s here!” “No, it’s Pebbles!” “Oh, look at how tall she is…and those big sad eyes!  It’s Downtown Murphy Brown!”

Jess was laying in a big chair, hiding her head, and Murphy targeted her immediately, snuffling through her curls and gently kissing her nose. Jess was on the floor giggling within a minute, arms around Murphy.

“Miss Mary, can I please have whisper time with Murphy? I’ve been really stressed all day.” Permission granted, the other teens backed away and Jess stretched out next to Murphy, tears welling in her beautiful brown eyes, lifted Murphy’s soft ear and whispered what was hurting her so badly. Murphy listened quietly and then pulled her head back, looked Jess dead in the eye and licked every tear from her cheeks until she was rolling on the floor laughing SO hard!

You could almost see Murphy dusting off her paws and saying, “Next!”

Kate asked, “Miss Mary, do you have carrots and could I give her one?” Out comes a quart bag of organic baby carrots, and Kate, who was once frightened of my giants, to the point of perching on the back of the sofa, sat in front of Murphy, gave her the “sit” command (and remembered to say please, as I always do) and put her entire hand in Murphy’s mouth with her “treat”.  I reminded her that 2 months ago she never would have dared that! “I’m not afraid anymore, Miss Mary! I’m safe with Murphy. She would never hurt me! She LOVES me!” (Inside, I’m beaming. Outside I’m agreeing and complimenting her.). “Can I have a slobber towel, please?”  She extended a very slimy hand to me with a giant smile.  I suggested she might want to quickly go “wash her paws” instead this time.

A round of treats, carrots, stories, quizzes and questions and after petting and massaging soft striped fur with their loving hands, Ariel stepped up and said, “Miss Mary, this is my last day here because I turned 18. Can I have Murphy for a little while? I’m really gonna miss her…and Micah and Pebbles, too!” Ariel lay next to Murphy, taking multiple selfies of her face next to Murphy’s to keep. With her head in Murphy’s soft fur, she gently scratched my giant’s chest. Murph’ went over on her back, and the next thing I heard was Ariel’s whisper, “Miss Mary, she’s SNORING! I made her go to sleep! I think she feels safe, too.”

Good luck in the world, sweet Ariel. May you always feel as safe as you do next to my loving Mastiffs.

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Posted by on January 13, 2017 in Angels Have Pawz, Muddy Pawz

 

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Chuckwagon

Feeding the dogs is always such an adventure when you have four English Mastiffs. I yell, “Dishes!” And they follow me as I pick up their feed bowls. Two giant-sized for growing girls, a medium for His Royal Highness, Micah and a smaller one for dainty Nala…dainty being 160 pounds.

I line up the bowls and pour in kibble, canned rabbit, warm water, all in proportionate measures to the individual’s needs, and stir as they tap-dance behind me.

Feeding order is: Micah, Pebbles and Murphy with Nala bringing up the rear, swaying her head back and forth, moaning and dancing. (SO cute!)

Dishes

Dishes

Well, the other day I wasn’t focusing and grabbed the puppies’ bowls first and started down the hall. “BOWWOWF!!!

The sound would have stopped a herd of stampeding bison, and it certainly stopped me!

Quickly, I retraced my steps, set the girls’ dishes on the counter and slipped Micah’s bowl into his food stand as he bored holes through me with an indignant stare that said, “One more slip like that and you’re out of a job, wench!”

I actually apologized to my dog. The shame. The guilt…unbearable.

Fed the other three and went slinking outside to sit with the cat, Mister Baggins whom I swear was clearing his throat and tapping his Rolex.

Alright!!! Here’s your flaked, wild-caught albacore! Just don’t LOOK at me like that!  Yeah…he gets fed before the dogs.  Cats, ya know?

Such is life at Casa de Muddy Pawz…

Copyright 2016

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2016 in Muddy Pawz

 

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Traveling with Giants

Traveling with Giants

Rather eventful drive home from the groomer with Murph’ and Micah in my new VW Sassbox. Loaded both dogs in the back seat, and yes, they fit just fine. Except Murphy was being a seat hog and his Highness was NOT amused. Micah saw a vacant passenger seat in front, stepped between the seats onto it and sat down. (I got SHOTGUN!!!).  image.jpeg

Mind you, I’m DRIVING while this is happening. I tried to get the seatbelt around him at a stoplight, but he’s so huge that I couldn’t reach it around his giant chest. This was my, “Oh, screw it!” moment. So I just drove…verrry slowly… from downtown Scottsdale to just south of LGO with a 5 year old very, VERY large male mastiff in the passenger seat and the diva stretched out in the rear. We may have caused a few accidents, and I definitely have slobber in my hair and over the right lens of my sunglasses. Finally, his royal majesty put his front feet on the floor, butt in the seat and chin on the dashboard for the remainder of the drive home. Nice view. We made it.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph and all the Saints and minions…thank you.

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Posted by on December 16, 2015 in Muddy Pawz, Uncategorized

 

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Downtown Murphy Brown – A Natural

Murphy had her third visit with the Gabriel’s Angels kids last night. So proud of my baby girl.

A teen mom set her 10 month old baby boy in front of Murphy’s face on the floor. Murphy snuffled the little guy and gave him a quick little kiss and the baby started giggling and patting Murphy’s head. Within moments, he was in peals of baby laughter that came right from his very toes as Murph’ inspected where that crazy sound came from. He laughed so hard that he fell over backward into his mother’s hands. A second baby came out for mandatory mastiff toe-kissing, and then a toddler had to get his Murphy-hugs in and do a little brushing on her soft coat.

Great start to an even greater night. A couple of the kids had tough weeks with scary, stressful things happening in their lives and immediately asked for Murphy-time. They snuggled up to my big baby girl on the floor and told her about their fears and trials.

We talked about the core behaviors of affiliation and confidence, giving each child a turn at expressing what their most important affiliations were and what either made them confident or what they were confident about in their lives.

One teen sat apart from the rest, quietly writing in her journal the entire visit with her back to the group. I noted that she was the same one who helped her ailing father after a bathtub fall a few weeks ago.

With 15 minutes left, I let Murphy go where she “felt” on a loose leash. She targeted the quiet one and I followed her, noting tears pouring down the teen’s face. She had been crying so long that she had tracks of salty tears on her cheeks. Murphy got right up in her face and looked her straight in the eyes. The teen set the journal and pen aside, and Murphy began kissing her tears away. The girl slid to the floor with Murphy nuzzling her neck and then, to my surprise, my 180 pound mastiff turned and sat in the girl’s lap! I said, “Oh, no! Do you want me to move her? She must be crushing your legs!” The teen shook her head vehemently, threw her arms around Murphy’s chest and hugged her even tighter, burying her face in the purple vest and pouring out the pain. Finally, Murphy laid down across the girl’s lap, head resting on one knee and the rest of her long body sprawled across the carpet. The other teens stood back and literally admired what was happening. They “got it”. Murphy was taking her pain away, and they watched quietly as something very special took place in front of them. When Murphy stood, I asked, “Did she help?” and the girl responded with an assured nod and a huge smile.

At 8:00 on the nose, Murphy stood up and began her goodbyes to each of the children. Karen, Murphy and I walked out the door leaving a miracle behind.

Pam Gaber would have been proud.

Copyright Mary Watson 2015

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Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Muddy Pawz

 

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Dear Daddy:

We did pee an poo in da frunt an bak yahdz.  We did play berry hard an drank fresh bigdog wadder.  We did play summore an den Misser John came but he tuk a looooong tyme fore he kleent da poooull bekuz he needed lossa puppy bref an picherz furst.  We bited his eerbuds but he juss lafft.

Miss Emily comed ober wif Annabelly an her fren in a beeg strollur.  Miss Emily theenks we are soooooo soff!  We did pee summore an pood for her.

Den Misser John got dun wiff da pooul but he wunt leaf cuz he needed more puppy breff an more picherz…for a loooong tyme.

Mommy finks we played so hard dat we shud sleep but we ar in ower hows now an we are still playeen.

We wacht Nanny Nala an Beegg Bro Micah play, too.  It was mazeen!  Nanny Nala wuz bahkeen an Beeg Micah was jumpeen an dey wuz runneen an ebertheen!  We got a lil bit askaret.  Dey wuz bahkeen an groeleen an runneen in surklez, Daddy!  Nanny Nala wuz trine to play wif us, too but her feetz are reel beeg, an we sed uh-uh-no-way.

Now dey are resteen an Mommy is pikkeen up alla ower poo.  Dat is FUN!  We mayd LOTS!

We miss yoo, Daddy.  We are goeen to tayk a nap now.

Luv,

Pebbles an Murphy

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Posted by on September 23, 2013 in Muddy Pawz, Uncategorized

 

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Giant Angel Lands at Girls Ranch

Micah

Micah

As I close the car door and snap on Micah’s purple Gabriel’s Angels vest, I notice the window blinds separate, revealing big brown eyes and hear, “Micah’s here!  Micah’s here!”   I smile.  Little Sammy bursts through the front door, diapered and bare-footed with his mom on his heels and runs to Micah with his arms outstretched.  Sammy is two years old and has spent over a year seeing Micah every two weeks like clockwork.  He can’t tell time, but his teen mommy says that he has been camping at the window all afternoon, waiting for Micah.  He reaches up and wraps his arms around my 200-pound therapy dog’s giant neck, gives him a huge hug, turns on a dime and runs to the house, announcing that Micah has arrived as only Sammy can.

We have some changes this week!  We visit a group home under protective custody with abused, abandoned and at-risk children.  Normally we have about a dozen teen girls, give or take, a smattering of toddlers and a few infants, not counting the ones waiting to be born.  It’s not all teen moms.  We have had girls from “juvie”, some abused or self-abuse cases and occasionally an abandoned child.  This week one of the children has been released, one has turned 18 and has gone to live with a family member and we see three new faces and a brand new six-pound baby.

I introduce Micah to the new girls as Sammy pats the bag I’m carrying, asking for a brush.  Two of the girls are perched atop the back of the sofa like baby birds, eyes wide, staring at the behemoth that has entered the room.  As I explain the history of the breed, focusing on how the mastiff has protected their families and kept them safe for thousands of years, the girls relax a little.  “Safe” is something they crave. But they are NOT getting down or touching him!  “Keep that big dog away from me!”

Micah is already seeking out the infants who are scattered around the room in their car seats or carriers.  He’s kissing baby toes, and the toddlers are following him with their brushes.  The girls watch in amazement as the toddlers lie on top of the “gentle giant” and run their Matchbox trucks along his brindle stripes. Micah doesn’t move a muscle, even when a one-inch dump truck runs over his head and down his nose.

I pull the treats out and announce that we’re going to play “hide the treat”.  I give each of the girls a treat and have them hide it in their hand…toddlers included.  Micah goes to each child (Sammy FIRST!) and they hold out both fists and let Micah discover which hand contains the treat.  The “baby birds” slide down to the seat of the sofa and hold trembling fists out to “the big giant head”.  I show them by example how to hold their palms flat when he spots the right one.  I stand next to them and give Micah a treat first and coax them to respond.  The hand opens, Micah gently takes the tiny treat, barely brushing their palm with his lips, and they are amazed!  “Miss!  He’s so GENTLE!”  The free hand comes up as I encourage them to touch his satin-soft ear.  “Miss!  He’s so soft!”  Their body language changes and they unwind and slip to the floor as I hand them a brush and they begin their relationship with the biggest Gabriel’s Angel.

They have just overcome two huge barriers that are ingrained in their behavior patterns.  They have overcome fear and they have begun to trust.  Many of these children have lived in fear most of their lives.

I show them how I lay next to Micah on the floor at home, as if he’s a giant teddy bear.   One by one they take their turn cuddling their newfound friend.  One of the girls says, “Miss, I think Micah’s thirsty.  He’s panting.  May I give him some water, Miss?”  I thank her for being empathetic and noticing Micah’s discomfort.  She pours his bottled water into his bowl and she smiles as he tries to take it directly from the bottle.  She gets one of the towels that I carry and gently wipes his face when he’s finished.   I thank her for being so compassionate and loving to Micah.

I remind the children that dogs’ memories are often connected to their sense of smell, and they hold those memories all their lives.  I tell them if Micah sees them somewhere 5 years from now, he will recognize them as family.

Time’s up and Micah gets a hug from each of the children as we leave (each teen making SURE he gets their scent in his nose good and proper).  The mother of the newborn holds tiny infant up to Micah’s face so he will smell and remember her baby.

Once again I load my sleepy fur-baby in the back of my car, slide in next to him and hug him myself.  Good job, Micah!

Copyright 2013 by Mary Watson

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2013 in Angels Have Pawz, Muddy Pawz

 

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The Biggest Angel

Images of a Gentle Giant

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2013 in Muddy Pawz

 

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