First story in a children’s series featuring our new puppies, Murphy and Maggie.
Murphy was a newborn puppy lying in a cozy heap full of floppy ears and tails. The babies couldn’t see or hear yet but they could smell their mom. All they did, all day and night, was drink their mother’s milk, sleep, whimper, and squirm around amongst their brothers and sisters.
For three weeks the puppies grew and now they could see and hear. They started to chew everything because it felt good on their new baby teeth. Brothers and sisters rolled over and over chewing on ears and legs and tails. They yipped and yelped when baby teeth bit too hard. The puppies still slept most of the time. Murphy loved to burrow right into the middle of the sleeping pile where it was warm and he could feel heartbeats and soft breathing. He felt so safe in his big family.
Then one day his sister, Carley, stood up, yawned and stared at Murphy. “Why are you so different?” she asked.
Murphy stopped chewing on the rug and stared back, “What do you mean, different?”
“You aren’t smooth and golden like mom and the rest of us. You’re black and white and fuzzy.”
“I am?” Murphy rolled over on his back and looked at his belly, sticking all four legs up in the air. “I’m not the same as you? I feel the same.”
“I was just curious, that’s all,” and Carley wandered away to wrestle with Riley.
Murphy started to notice how smooth and golden all his brothers and sisters were. He nosed at his front legs, turned his head to look at his sides, tried to sit and look at his tail but ended up rolling over onto his back. His fuzzy coat was black and white like Carley said. Why hadn’t he noticed before? What did it mean? Wasn’t he part of the family? Didn’t he really belong? Murphy stopped playing as much with his brothers and sisters. He sat back and watched them instead. He didn’t like being different. When everyone was tired and curled up in a pile he didn’t push into the middle any more. He felt sad and alone.
Murphy wandered up to his mom and touched her nose, “Mom, why am I different?”
“Why would you think you’re different?” she asked as she licked his ears.
“I’m black and white and fuzzy. The rest of you are smooth and golden. Don’t I belong with you?” Murphy looked into her kind brown eyes.
“Yes you do! Murphy, you’re lucky. You look just like your daddy. He is a very handsome fellow! Now off you go and stop worrying.”
As days went by the puppies grew and grew. They started crunching on mom’s food and drinking less milk. Their sight was clearer and their hearing sharper. They were curious because they could see and hear more things every day. The puppies explored farther and farther out into their big room. Mom took longer trips away from her babies until one day she stayed away. She knew they didn’t need her any more. The puppies cried and cried but soon were having so much fun wrestling and chewing that they forgot to cry. They were ready for new homes.
Different people began visiting the puppies and one by one Murphy’s brothers and sisters were carried away by smiling families. Murphy still sat off to one side, feeling like he didn’t belong. He looked so sad that the visiting people didn’t try to play with him. They just left him alone. They chose the playful, bouncy, golden puppies.
After a while Murphy and Riley were the only two puppies left. Riley followed Murphy around and they cuddled when they slept like they used to. They wrestled and chewed and somersaulted. But when another visitor came to see them, Murphy crept off by himself again. He knew who the visitor would chose – the beautiful, golden Riley. But to Murphy’s surprise the new visitor came right up to him without even looking at Riley.
The young man kneeled and gently stroked Murphy. He picked him up, cuddled the fuzzy black and white fur to his cheek, and said, “I want this puppy as a gift for my Mom. Our old dog died a few months ago and she misses him so much. I know she’ll love this little guy!”
Murphy licked the man’s cheek. He couldn’t believe that he had been chosen. He trembled with excitement and fear as he rode to his new home. The young man drove up a long lane and parked the car beside a white house surrounded by a big yard and open fields.
“Look at all the room you’ll have to run in little guy!” the young man said as he gathered Murphy in his arms and walked up to the old farmhouse. Opening the door he called out, “Mom don’t look! I have a surprise for you!”
Murphy kept still and looked around. What if she didn’t like him? What if he was too different and she’d rather have a sleek, golden puppy?
“A surprise? For me? What are you up to?” a woman stood in the middle of the kitchen with her hands over her eyes, laughing.
“Here’s your surprise Mom,” and the young man put Murphy into her arms.
She hugged the little bundle gently, letting him lick her nose and cheek. “He is the most beautiful puppy I have ever seen! Thank you so much!” and she softly kissed the side of his fuzzy face. “We will have such adventures on the farm!”
Murphy looked into her happy face and felt the love in her arms. He was home.