READING WITH MURPHY
Murphy is our new library friend. He first entered the library on Halloween. He was in costume, wearing a giant sunflower that encircled his head. My library director, completely smitten, took his trainer's phone number, passed it on to me and I called. This is what happened.
I called Sarah, his trainer, and learned that Murphy is a certified therapy dog. He's been visiting folks at a nursing home and an assisted living facility. Murphy is a big dog, a very big dog; part Newfoundland and part Great Pyrenees and I guess he has to be that big to hold all the love inside. This I knew when Sarah came to the library so Murphy and I could meet in person.
We all agreed he might like Storytime. And so they came, Sarah and Murphy, and the mamas and their babies and the grandparents with their grands and caregivers with their littles. Somehow Murphy knew not to lick the babies. The babies, however, did not mind this big furry face in front of them. What they did was smile wide, laugh and pump their arms up and down; so excited, so in love, knowing a dear friend was before them. The toddlers were happy to look into Murphy's eyes. The preschoolers showed him board books and had an endless supply of hugs and gentle pats. The caregivers and parents and grandparents were thrilled. One of our trustees came to visit - with her camera - and yes, I took a picture of the two of them posing.
Dear Murphy. It is hard to believe that when he was a puppy, he fit in Sarah's palmed hands. She knew right from the beginning that he had qualities about him that were rare. I am so glad she recognized his love of people and decided to go through training.
When I look into Murphy's dark eyes, I wonder Who are you? It gives me such a feeling as if I am seeing a wise soul that chose to come back to this life in the body of a dog. There most certainly is something special about him. I'm not the only one. Sarah tells me that when she is attending events around the community and folks get to chatting and she says that she has a certified therapy dog, the response is "Oh, you mean Murphy." This makes me smile. He is winning hearts.
Well, Murphy was such a hit at Storytime that he has been invited back. Now he comes after school on Thursday afternoons so children can read to him. They also tell him stories and there is lots of cuddling and the room fills up and there is a calm that rests on everyone; children who typically don't play together are putting a puzzle together, a father who came to get a little work done sits in an easy chair instead, his twins on his lap, reading story after story, adults who have never met are becoming friends and Murphy flops onto the floor, happy just to be with everyone.
Dear Murphy. A true friend.