Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Goodbye to Murmur

? - January 9, 2020

Miss Murmur somehow came to be lost and alone in the extreme heat of a southern California desert.  I
have no idea how she came to be there, where she came from or for how long she wandered alone.  Fortunately she was found and taken to a shelter in Bakersfield.  She was adopted by a family, but was immediately returned to the shelter - why? because the family learned she "WASN'T PERFECT" - she had a heart murmur.  When she was returned she was placed in the 'euthanasia wing' and scheduled to have her life ended.  A wonderful employee at the Kern County shelter saw something special in her and called Cindy Marabito, the founding director of Reunion Rescue in San Francisco, California and Austin, Texas to ask for help in trying to save the dog.

As I viewed the long lists of new puppies online over a Valentine's Day weekend, I saw an ad titled "SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP THIS DARLING GIRL".  Looking at the photo of a sadly pathetic dog who obviously needed someone to love her, I called immediately; the timing of my decision turned out to be critical.  During my lengthy interview Ms. Marabito had suggested the perfect name for this special dog, "MURMUR".  I've been told in the past I have always adopted dogs nobody else wanted - it's true, I've always preferred adopting a dog who needed me most.

Reunion Rescue went to work immediately from Texas to get Murmur out in time.  People were waiting outside the shelter to save her on the Monday morning she was due to be euthanized  - just a day and a half after my call.  She was taken in briefly by a volunteer family who kept her with them until Murmur's transport to me in the Bay Area was arranged.  When all the volunteers had been gathered, Murmur's journey began.  When she finally arrived, she was so ill and frightened she had to be laid down on the sidewalk in front of my home.  The marvelous couple who brought her the final miles of the trip and I spoke briefly and they left with my permanent gratitude and thanks.  I took her up in my arms, carried her into the house, up the stairs, and placed her on her very own brand new comforter on the floor next to my bed.  She collapsed into a deep, safe sleep and never again left my side.  I have always felt terrible Murmur suffered through so much fear, trauma, and then rejection.  I can only say the family that deemed her unworthy and imperfect, had no idea how truly perfect and wonderful Murmur was.

The shelter employee, Ms. Marabito, and I were not the only ones who found Miss Murmur special.  The group of volunteers who transported her to me were so moved and inspired by Murmur and her story that they formed their own special animal transport group THE STREETS OF BAKERSFIELD, and since Murmur's first transport in February, 2009, they have transported more than 5,000 rescued animals to their new "forever homes".  THE STREETS OF BAKERSFIELD still exists and continues to transport rescued animals to their new homes - a continuously stellar and dedicated group of volunteers.

Almost two years after I adopted Murmur we moved half way across the country to a tiny rural village of slightly more than 100 people where Murmur found new dog and human friends, as well as the love of lots of open space.  I knew she needed her own special companion and after some local searching I mentioned to Ms. Marabito I was looking for a companion for Murmur, she said "I HAVE THE PERFECT DOG FOR YOU AND MISS MURMUR!" - she was right.

Mr Hub's adoption was secured, but he had been through terrible traumas; he is one of approximately 200 surviving dogs from a dramatic rescue operation amidst hundreds of others tragically discovered dead or missing.  After some months of recovery, veterinary care, evaluations, etc..., and the gathering of wonderful transport volunteers, Hub began his journey from Texas.  He landed by private plane in a tiny nearby airport thanks to a wonderful young couple.  An excited volunteer from my own little town drove us on the last leg of the transport back home - she was completely overwhelmed learning how many thousands of people volunteer nationwide every single day to help animals get to their new families.

Upon entering his new home for the first time, there was none of the usual posturing between newly introduced dogs for Hub.  Instead, Murmur welcomed him inside with a huge smile, kissed him immediately all over his face, and said "WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG TO GET HERE?  WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU!  WELCOME HOME - I'M YOUR NEW DOG MOM, MISS MURMUR!!!!!"

It was a mutual love fest for eleven years.  And even though her muzzle had turned mostly white, Murmur continued to be beautifully enthusiastic in her love and joy at being alive, safe, and part of a family.  She woke up smiling with kisses for Hub and me, then she was ready to hustle and bustle as "head of our household", with places to go, things to do, and people to see.  She was always a very "paws on" mom to her beloved baby, Hub - he couldn't get away with a thing!  She still had her comforter and Hub has his "comforter cave".  The two of them were busy at work day and night watching over me, as well as the birds, bunnies, squirrels, deer, and neighboring dogs surrounding our home.

Murmur was always at my side - keeping watch and knowing she was safe with me.  She never lost her fear of being without water, so the water bowl was always full.  Without Murmur and Hub, my life would have been less joyful, without as much laughter, and without their constant companionship.  All my dogs have always been my family, my mentors, my guardians, and my teachers.  Each day Murmur inspired me to be a better and stronger person, to be thankful, and reminded me life is worth living.  I am so fortunate - she brought Hub and me happiness and inspiration every day.

Murmur's story was one of brave survival despite fear, loneliness, and deprivation of basic necessities for life in the dangers of extreme desert heat.  And her story was one of total rejection for no good reason - her loving, "imperfect" heart kept beating strongly all her life.  Hers was perhaps not the most dramatic rescue story, but it was an ordeal that was traumatic enough.  The point being, that every lost dog, unwanted dog, elderly or imperfect dog, dog in a shelter, dog needing to be "re-homed", or dog headed toward euthanasia, is a dog that if given the chance to live and be happy, can make a positive difference in this world and in others' lives.

My much loved Murmur made a difference not just in the lives of Hub and me, but to the lives of thousands of people and other animals in her own quiet way.  By inspiring all those who helped rescue and transport her to see and respect her absolutely perfect and generous heart, those individuals have continued to carry that love forward to many others.  Miss Murmur's single rescue has inspired me, Reunion Rescue that continues its' outstanding daily dedication to rescuing, sheltering, and finding safe and loving homes for animals in need,  and so many others who have since that day in February, 2009, volunteered to help more than 5,000 rescued animals and families find life and joy together.  My joyfully resilient and perfect Miss Murmur was living proof of the potential every rescued animal has to bring love, hope, and purpose into others' lives and our world.
We love you dear Miss Murmur.  Hub and I know you are now watching over us from amidst the stars.