All Things Basset: My Love of this Disobediant, Loveable, Food-Obsessed Breed


My beloved Murph Murph


With immense sadness I helped my sweetest baby Murphy travel to the Rainbow Bridge at 9:15 am this morning.  She was 16 years old in May and I had her from the time she was 4 months.  I got her when I was a poor graduate student living in a rented room at the top of a 4 story house.  I accompanied a friend to the humane society in Philadelphia and I saw this little girl and when I went in her cage, she peed on my foot.  Love at first sight. It was one of the most irrational decisions I've ever made (yes, I was kicked out of my housing immediately) but one that brought me 16 years of friendship from this quiet little girl. She loved food more than anything else and despite being virtually untrainable in any practical things she would drop to the floor and roll over playing dead in a heartbeat when she heard "bang, bang" because she knew a treat would always follow.  She just always tolerated McDuff - he was so loud, such a big personality that she withdrew a little into the background once he came.  As my dear sister (who I hope is now nestling close with Murph at the Bridge until I get there) used to say "It took McDuff coming to make Murphy look like a good dog."  Now with her brother McDuff, her Aunt Margaret, her cat friends Fetlock and Ugly, she waits at the Bridge for me to come and play some Bang Bang with her.  It's been such a horrible year of loss for me and now I say goodbye to one of my oldest friends.  Farewell, sweetest little Murph Girl. Bang Bang.



Mom to Murphy ATB, McDuff ATB and Morrisey

Murphy and Fetlock when both were young and healthy, 1992


Murph 2004


My Murph:

Her eyes were bright and curious until the end. I felt so guilty as I looked into her eyes and saw her asking , what’s happening, and then why?  Her back legs gave out and she couldn’t walk but everything else was fine. She liked to sit in the sun, always sat in the kitchen when I was cooking, still caught “drops” easily.  If only her back legs had kept up.


One of our favorite games was hide and seek in the woods. We’d go for a hike and then she’d get a little ahead and I’d duck behind a tree and just wait.  After a few minutes she’d realize I wasn’t with her and she’d flee back along the trail. She’d pass me as I hid behind the tree and just as she was starting to run harder and panic, I’d step out and call her name and she’d be so happy that I was there. She loved our rambles.  So did I.


When she was much younger and we lived in DC I’d take her to rock creek park where there was a great dammed up stream. I’d stand on the bridge/dam and throw a tennis back into the stream. Murph would go fetch it and swim back with it in her mouth. 


When McDuff came in 1997 she was fine for about a month.  When she realized he wasn’t leaving, she got really sick.  The vets couldn’t figure out what was wrong – she had intense fur loss, lethargy, and they started to talk about “decisions”.  Well, they never did figure out what was wrong but I know it was jealousy.  And after a month or so, she got over it, got better and got on with her life. 


She had a lot of heart.  I hope she’s with Margaret somewhere with lots of grass and maybe a wood to ramble in.


I love you Murph. I’m so sorry I had to do this.




Video of two year old Morrisey pepping up a 16 year old Murphy


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Ode to McDuff, the big Kahuna

Email Written from Mickey to Margaret on Feb. 22, 2006


I'm so broken hearted and yet I also can't believe he's gone. I keep waiting for the dog door to slam and see him bumbling through it.

Mickey Mericle wrote:

Date: Tue, 21 Feb 2006 08:13:17 -0800 (PST)
From: Mickey Mericle
Subject: McDuff Shaped Hole in the World This Morning
To: Discussion list for Basset Hound fanciers

At 9:15 am this morning, my beloved big, strong, disobediant, horny, loveable, counter-cruising, levitating, computer eating, rain hating, grooming-loving, brother-to-Murphy&Morrisey, McDuffy, who I called Cockroach because he survived emphysema, pneumo-thorax, snail bait poisoning, chocolate poisoning, peach pit blockage, eating a complete laptop, loss of his eyes and - I thought- cancer, went to wait for me at the Bridge.

In 3 short days, the bladder cancer I hoped he'd beat, returned with a vengeance. He was seemingly fine Friday, I went on a weekend trip and he was with my parents, but when I returned Sunday night he was lethargic and looked like he was constipated. I took him to the vet Monday afternoon, hoping it was just another peach pit type event, but it was the cancer, blocking his colon and his urethra.

The vet catheterized him so he would be comfortable and I took him home for a last night. We ate some ice cream and cottage cheese together, we went to the dog park where he could barely play with The Ball (long time L'ers may remember The Ball story), walked around the neighborhood to say goodbye to some friends, we did a lot of videotaping and I cried for about 12 hours straight. He slept restlessly last night curled up beside me and I was up with him most of the night.

This morning, another visit to the dog park. Then, wrapped in his blanket with The Ball between his paws, and my arms around him, he was gone.

I hope God (and Gretchen L. who I know will watch out for him) remembers to scratch his armpit, throw The Ball, stick out a leg so McDuff can happily hump, let him sit on the couch, give him every day with sunshine, and give him lots of hills and green grass to roam through, until I get there and take over.

In his 8.5 years with me, he survived so many things, it never occurred to me he wouldn't beat the cancer and live to a ripe old age of 18 or 20 or 40.... I always said McDuff was my heart, walking around on four legs. Today my heart died.


Murphy, Morrisey and The Great Duffinator, ATB Feb.21, 2006

Visit the photo gallery to see some of the funny Duffy pix.