Scoober Murphy (born mid-1990s, died August 12, 2009)

Here lies tribute to one of the best dog’s ever.   She enriched my life in numerous, immeasurable ways.  I owe it to the enduring beauty of her spirited companionship to recount and memorialize her contributions in meaningful fashion.  To those of you who knew her—you know I’m just scratching the surface here.  Below lies the obituary I wrote upon her passing.  And embedded below is the presentation of pics of her.

Scoober was a throw-away dog.  Her name wasn’t Scoober then, it was “Miss Ariel.”  Her previous owner, an elderly woman, perceived her to be a dainty lady-like dog, requiring a title as part of her name.   When she proved incapable of being that dainty dog, she was sent to the Missoula Humane Society Shelter in late 1998, around the age of 4.   The rap on Miss Ariel, the reason posted for her being given up, was that she “upchucked” too much.

We never knew exactly when she was born……..but, having known the dog for 10 plus years, I’d offer that yes, she has been known to upchuck……but almost always as a byproduct of her zest and vigor for life and its pleasures (e.g. after drinking a lot of cold water on top of a warm meal).    And if once or twice a month is too much, well it was a good enough reason for her to find a better life.

Scoober spent 4 months in the Missoula shelter, during which she became slightly standoffish; she didn’t take to folks who were just being friendly.  She was waiting for that someone who would “be there” for her.   And that person came along, on March 2d, 1999.

Scoober and Mike were a perfect match.  The beer drinking dog meets the beer sharing Murphy.

The story of how Scoober came to Mike is one that some of you may have heard, but if you’d indulge me the telling, I’ll tell it for those who haven’t heard it.   The winter/spring of 1999, I was assigned to 18th Airborne Corps as a G2 (Intel) Planner and we had two major exercises in the works over that time.   I was working long hours and spending some weeks away from home, so I had sent Missy, my 10 year old Cocker (at that time), to Mike’s to winter in Whitefish.  At the end of her two month visit, Mike had to take her in to get a health certificate, in order for her to fly back to North Carolina with me, at the end of my February leave/ski trip.  The vet in Whitefish had seen Mike with Missy and knew him to be a good, thoughtful, conscientious owner.  Then when she found out that Missy wasn’t his, and that he had no dog of his own, she told Mike that he needed his own dog again…..and she knew of a Cocker at the Missoula shelter that had been there for a while.

So, the day after Missy and I left for North Carolina, Mike drove down to Missoula….and Scoober warily greeted him.   On that 3 hour ride home, she began to believe that she truly could trust the one who rested his hand gently on her back.   And the rest is, as we say, history.

Scoober always knew how to attend to her personal comfort.  She loved the outdoors—the snow, the earth, the streams, and the creatures that surrounded us.  On a hot day, she knew how to dig that top layer of topsoil away, to get to the cooler and softer layer.   If that happened to be in a garden area, well, she was always more of a Scoober than a Miss Ariel, at heart anyway.

She also knew that a mountain stream is best for wading/lying in when you need to cool off quickly.  She and Lady have shared that technique on a daily basis for over three years.

Scoober also wasn’t above taking the last piece of Roast Beef, if you left it at her level when you went to open a bottle of wine.  She just knew that when the Creator provided, you don’t question it, you just act and eat that beef.   ‘Tis better to ask forgiveness than to wait for permission, right?    And she seemed to know that Mike would laugh it off and would love her anyway.   She had confidence in her eyes.

Scoober was a great friend and companion.  She was a good pack mate to lots of younger dogs.   She was very tolerant of others…..and never seemed to feel like her honored place in the pack was threatened.   She let kids pull on her ears, sit on her back, take things away from her…..and never so much as showed her teeth.   She also shared her knowledge.    She showed Suzy (Tim, Stacy Murphy & girls’ dog) how to navigate stairs when she was a puppy.     She tolerated Rosie’s aggressive playfulness for years.    And she did her best to provide food for the pack.  Even this summer she found and brought home two dead ground squirrels to share with the pack.  She was so proud of herself, I let Mike take them away from her.

Scoober found a great home, she lived a fantastically rich decade with Mike, and she was a wonderful example for many.   She was always there for me, with a sweet spirit, an enthusiastic “let’s go” attitude, and a keen sense for what is most important in life.   Eat and drink well, with gusto, rest when you can, and get plenty of exercise.   And never ever trust anyone in a UPS truck or on a motorcycle with a full-face helmet.

We won’t ever forget her.  She was, like Missy before her, a tie that bound Mike and I together.  She bonded very deeply, very quickly with Mike……and over time she approved of me being a part of their pack, eventually bonding very deeply with me too.   For those of you who remember seeing her and Mike together in 1999 or 2000, you remember how aggressively she would go about getting in the truck with Mike.   She had seen some tough days……but at that point, she knew how good life could be, and was going to fight to do her part to stay with him who had improved her quality of life.  She was fiercely loyal and very grateful.  You could see it in her eyes and in her behavior.

Over the years, Scoober saw me frequently and we both had a mutual affection for each other.  We both seemed to know that our best days were always in each other’s presence.  It was always a grand time when she and Mike were visiting at my house or when I was visiting theirs.   So it was a logical, culmination of sorts, when I retired and joined them…….bringing the terrorist Rosie with me.    Rosie very quickly latched on to Mike……and Scoober quite naturally bonded with me to avoid Rosie.

I give Scoober due credit for doing her part in making the last decade, one full of love and fun.   And I am eternally grateful to our Creator for sending Scoober our way.  She brought out the best in at least Mike and I……and she showed a number of dogs how to live well—e.g.  “C’mon Suzy, here’s how you do stairs.”

There will never be another like her. Her soulful eyes could melt the hardest heart.

Remembering Scoober

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