• Deborah A Allen

Love is black and white

Love is black and white. Or at least it is in our house. Love is also hairy and goes by the name of Murphy. Because for me love is a dog.

Just over a year ago (one year, one month and 12 days to be exact) Benny died. Our lovely grumpy, slightly old sock smelling beagle was gone. Our house was left feeling empty and it felt as if our world was falling apart, I was wondering how I could adjust to my dog less world and I was finding it hard.

There were no walks to go on, I put my camera to one side, put Benny’s memorial online, stopped posting on his social media account, packed away my dog walking coat and my dog walking bag, put toys, bowls and leads in storage, moved furniture to hide the empty places where his beds had been and generally tried to disguise the emptiness he had left, but if I’m honest nothing worked. The summer wore on and both my husband and I were tired, in fact we were becoming more and more exhausted as the weeks went on.

After a couple of months, we had to admit to ourselves that we couldn’t sleep. We were jumping at every night time noise in or outside the house, and it’s amazing how many noises there are at night. Apart from the strange creaks and groans a house makes at night, people wander about at times you would expect everyone to be tucked up in bed, cats fight in neighbour’s gardens knocking things over and dogs bark in back gardens wanting to be heard and let in. We would have happily let a dog in if one had barked at our back door.

We both thought about another dog, we both wished it would just happen, and at the same time we both wanted to turn back the clock and have the comfort of Benny snoring away in his little bed giving us a comforting feeling as if an elderly blind Beagle could protect us from all the evils of the world.

But of course, we both knew turning back the clock is impossible.

Then on July 22nd something happened that would change things for us and help us get over the grief and pain of our loss, it was on July 22nd that Murphy was born.

Of course we had no idea that this wonderful thing had happened. We were still busy trying to adjust to a dog-less world and failing miserably, we went to the cinema, to markets, to museums and each time we came home to an empty house the reality of being dog-less struck us like being soaked by a bucket of cold water. By the second week of August we still couldn’t sleep and in my diary I wrote ‘the last 2 weeks have been so boring and empty there’s no point in writing anything’.. We both knew what would help yet we both felt like traitors even thinking it. Finally, my husband couldn’t take it anymore and he said, ‘please look for a dog.’ He wouldn’t help with the search because he said he couldn’t choose and he still felt like a traitor but he knew we needed a dog. So, I did the looking with some help from my daughter and almost 1 month after he was born I saw Murphy for the first time. After meeting his mum and dad I knew he would be sweet and lovely and I whispered in his ear ‘you and I are going to have great adventures little one’...

Finally, on 14 Sept 2016 Murphy came home and our adventures could begin.

It’s been fun watching Murphy grow and change, watching him discover the world and seeing him learn. He learned that one-day ice won’t hold his weight, he learned that swimming is fun but chasing the ducks is a no no. We sleep well knowing he is watching over us, he sleeps the sleep of an innocent but guards us like a pro.

Our black and white bundle is now a black and white hairball full of energy and mischief who loves to run and dig and swim and be out and about. Once again, our world is filled with early morning walks, late night walks, walks in the rain and the frost as well as walks in the sun, and my dog walking bag once again hangs on a peg in the hall filled with essentials like poo bags, a whistle, wet wipes and treats.

My camera is always fully charged, Murphy must be one of the most photographed dogs in the world and of course he has his own social media page so that I can show off all the photos of our walks and his adventures.

Our lives are once again filled with dog. I know there are people who think having a dog is a bind, that having a dog means having a messy home, no chance of lazy days and no chance at last minute holidays but to me it’s a commitment, just the same as marriage or children it’s about letting someone in to share your life, it’s about finding things you can do together it’s about sharing the love.

So today is Murphy’s birthday the first of many and we will be celebrating because love should always be celebrated no matter what form it takes.

It just so happens that in our house love is black and white and goes by the name of Murphy….

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