LOWDOWN Winter 2014 page 20

Murphy, the Unlucky Basset Hound

Some years ago, we adopted a little mongrel named Pipo. He was thrown out of a car and had no home, so he came to live with us.

He was such a sweet dog we wanted to reward him with a friend, so we went to Kortrijk (Belgium) to the Eurodogshow to have a look.

When we reached the cage of a basset hound, it was love at first sight! Pipo was sure that a basset was just the fellow to play and share his life with. So we went on a quest to find him a basset of his own.

It was after several telephones calls that we heard of a shop in Bruges that sold the breed. We went to have a look and down the steps came a shy little hound.

He was a lovely boy, just eight weeks old. Nothing could hold us back from bringing this little darling home. We decided to call him Murphy, not knowing his name would be so characteristic of his life.

The same evening we got him home, he started to cough. At 11pm we hurried him to the vet. where he was diagnosed with pneumonia. The vet wanted to put him to sleep there and then because his situation was so bad, but we were determined to give him a chance.

We kept him warm and administered the prescribed antibiotics. While John sat with him on his shoulder - to help him to breathe - for a whole day and night.

Unfortunately, after a couple of days, his health worsened and the vet diagnosed chronic bronchitis.

We didn’t want to loose him, so we tried to help him as much as we could.

‘He was a lovely boy, just eight weeks old. Nothing could hold us back from bringing this little darling home’

He slept with an aroma streamer and we feed him honey with essential oils on a waffle with cream. After a while his breathing started to improve, but we knew it would never be cured.

He soon started to play with Pipo however, and they became great friends, running and swimming together. He was such a sweet and beautiful little boy. Everyone loved him and he loved the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, some weeks later there was another problem. Due to his difficulties breathing, he also developed a heart problem. This sadly meant no more running. A year later, a blocked system - due to an apricot pip - meant he had to undergo an operation. Then, heartbreakingly, a following blockage meant a zipper had to be put in his tummy, while problems using the toilet also meant he had to be castrated.

We kept our fingers crossed that this would be the last of his problems, But unbelievably disaster struck yet again, when Murphy’s jaw locked.

It was very painful for him and once again meant he had to be rushed to the vet. Even after another operation, it continued to happen so vet suggested he wore a type of muzzle.

This was sadly the end of Murphy’s social life, as others presumed he was an aggressive dog. We were devastated.

In the autumn, Murphy came with us and Pipo to Spain. He was really enjoying the trip, until one evening he started to cry.

In the middle of the night the vet discovered the worst. His liver was one big tumour. They couldn’t do anything for him, so we had to let him go.

We were so sad. We returned without Murphy and struggled to comfort Pipo who searched and searched for his friend.

What a disaster. Murphy was only eight years old and we still had so many plans for him. His life ended so quickly and Pipo was once again alone.

We didn’t want Pipo to suffer, so after six months, we found Hastings, a healthy basset from a respected breeder.

Why did I write this story? Because when we buy a dog, we must ensure they are a healthy and from a breeder we trust.

‘We kept our fingers crossed that this would be the last of his problems’

In mainland Europe puppies are routinely smuggled into some countries, most of them sick or too little to be taken from their mother.

By being aware of this situation owners, others can hopefully be spared the sorrow and grief we have felt.

Murphy was a very sick puppy when we bought him. We tried to give him a good life.

Did we succeed? We will never know. In the end, only he can be the judge of that.


Lowdown Winter 2014

first published in LOWDOWN

guest editor Thea King