For years I have collected tales of Golden heroes. I never tire of learning about a new story that underlies my convictions about the intimate bond that only a dog can have with his or her beloved person.
This story of Golden Murphy is an especially wonderful one, and I am reproducing it here in its entirety as I never know how long links will remain viable. Sometimes, stories online disappear before folks can really take in how special they are.
Pooch stayed vigil over fallen master
By KARENA WALTER, St. Catharine’s Standard, Ontario
Murphy’s owners took a chance on him, and he didn’t disappoint. The golden retriever, who found a home despite a muscular disorder that makes it difficult for him to walk, s being credited with helping to avert a tragedy.
“The possibilities don’t bear thinking about,” said Isobel Condon, whose husband, Bill, was discovered unconscious in the snow last month because Murphy kept vigil by his side. “Had Murphy wandered off that day, nobody would have found Bill for a long time.”
As it was, the couple estimate Bill Condon, 63, had been lying in a snowy field for about 45 minutes before paramedics were alerted. Snowbanks obscured Condon’s body from passersby and the only sign anything was wrong was a dog standing in the middle of a Carlton Street field by Carleton United Church.
The incident happened around 10 a.m. Feb. 22, when Condon walked Murphy into the field by the church, where grass could be seen poking out of the powdery snow. Little did Condon know there was a slick layer of ice beneath. Condon said he went down without warning. He passed out, woke up, passed out again. “I was in a lot of pain. I tried to get up and I think that’s why I passed out. The pain was so severe,” he said.
Inside the church, secretary Fay Jones said cleaning staff were vacuuming, so she didn’t hear anything amiss.
Meanwhile, three-year-old Murphy, no longer held by his leash, didn’t leave Condon’s side, barking and licking his master’s face. The devoted dog waited and waited.
Forty-five minutes later, Sandra MacPherson pulled into the church lot to meet up with a group. Her yellow lab, Bear, started barking. “There was a dog sitting in the field by the snowbank,” MacPherson said. “When I got out of the vehicle, I saw Mr. Condon laying in the snow with Murphy standing guard.”
She ran to Condon, found him unconscious and ran back to the church, where she told the women inside to call 911. They brought out blankets. “He was wet and he was cold. We weren’t going to let him move.” Condon’s clothes were soaked. He had a concussion and was going into shock and had hypothermia.
He is recovering from severe whiplash and pulled muscles in his back and neck, but said it could have been worse without Murphy. “I honestly think I probably would have been more severely hurt and possibly may have died,” he said.
Murphy was adopted by the Condons when he was about six weeks old, but three months later, they noticed he didn’t jump or walk like other dogs. A vet diagnosed him with muscular dystrophy. The breeder offered to take Murphy back because of the disorder, but the Condons wouldn’t dream of it.
“He’s not a piece of furniture or a broken radio,” Bill Condon said. “We couldn’t return him, thank G-d for that.”