The Sutherland family dog speaks


(As told by Miss Murphy)

Miss Murphy here, with things to share about my family.

I must first tell you that I have grown very old. Maybe a bit confused. The sun sets heavy on my brittle bones. When the day is done, I bow to it. I may not be able to tell my stories many more days.

My dear boy Cort has had quite a time of it. I know that after many months of getting medicine put into his arm, everyone had high hopes that he would be a kid again. It has not worked out that way.

It seemed that after the medicine stopped, he stopped getting better. It was only after a brief time had passed that he was as sick as ever.

Wishful thinking. If I had a year, or seven, back for every time I have heard Miss Judie say that she wished doctors close by could treat Lyme Disease, I would be a pup again. But quite often I think that being a pup is highly overrated. I would jump on every innocent soul who stopped by for a visit, saying, “Look at me! Ain’t I cute?” Ah, what a foolish way to behave!

Anyway, after much worry and many days of writing letters and talking to people on that machine on her desk, Miss Judie woke Cort up one morning and said, “I have good news! We are going to see a doctor in Pennsylvania who will help you!”

Now, I do not pretend to know where Pennsylvania is, but I do know this: My humans left early one day and did not get home until after I had taken many, many naps. They were tired. Miss Judie got on that machine and had a few happy things to say to people.

Cort did not seem so happy, but it seems that he is trying hard to pretend that he is. He takes all the medicine that Miss Judie dishes out to him every single day. Sometimes he lets out a really big sigh, but he does what is asked of him.

Boy and his dog. There are days that he does not say much to me or to anyone else. He is tired. I think that he is old like me. He is wishing to say, some days, “just leave me alone, please.” But he does not say it out loud. I only know this because he is my boy and I have been his dog my whole life.

His bones ache, just as mine do. I stay under the shade trees when I am outside. When I am inside, I now have a special bed to rest my weary bones. Miss Judie said it is made especially for old dogs. I looked at her with my sad-eyed look and tried to say, “Oh, gee, thanks.” It was not a very nice thing to say to me, but the bed is appreciated.

I know that Miss Judie and Caroline wish that Cort would get in the swimming pool and splash and act like pups with them. He might, one day soon. We just never know when we will have one of those young pup days. They just wash over you and surprise you, and it is then that you wish to chase groundhogs and splash in mud puddles.

I am wishing a young pup day would come along. For all of us.

Good day,

Miss Murphy,

English Shepherd Esq.

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.