My Life Pets


We had to say goodbye to Murray yesterday.


We adopted him when he was about six months old. We went through obedience school with him and taught him all the usual tricks — sit, stay, shake. He was a quick learner, but he also just had a great temperament. He learned how to walk on a leash by my side while I gave him treats. I remember how gross they were! Cubes of cheese and slices of cold hotdogs. Mmmm. We had a little baggie with us and I would reward him as we went. He loved it.

Walking Murray

Before Murray, I never knew that a dog wouldn’t just run away if given the chance. We had a dog when I was a kid and he escaped all the time but Murray would stick close to home. When we moved into this house, there was no gate between the front and back yard. There was a fence, but no actual gate. We assumed we would need to fix it immediately, but Murray never tried to leave.

Murray at Christmas

Murray with Eleanor as a New Baby

He used to get car sick. Two blocks! We couldn’t take him anywhere! We had to give him doggy anxiety medicine before long car trips up to Wisconsin, but once there he was so happy. Jumping in the lake, hopping on the boat, exploring the woods with the kids.

On the Boat with Murray

Eleanor in the Woods with Murray

This is hard. We didn’t see it coming. He started having accidents and he hadn’t been eating much for a few days. Thinking he might be sick, we made an appointment with the vet and took him the next day. We thought that if something was wrong, that we could take care of him. We didn’t know he was dying. He didn’t even seem sick.

Spleen cancer. Multiple tumors, and internal bleeding.

We didn’t take him to the vet thinking that we would be putting him down that same day. He was 9 years old — we thought we had more time with him.

Murray and the Toy Doggy

Murray, Brandon, Eleanor

Murray in the Snow

He was so good with the kids! Following them around, always a pal at their side. Murray came first — our trial run with caring for a dog before we were ready to have kids. So when the kids did come along, he was a champ through the baby stage. The most patient dog while they pulled on his tail and grabbed at his ears during the toddler years. A best friend to each of them as they grew. I know he was getting older, and you see the years pass so quickly with kids because you can watch them grow and change, but Murray was just Murray. It sort of seemed like he’d be with us forever. Our schmoopy pupperton. Our furry Murray.

Eleanor and Murray

Christmas Murray with the Kids

A Boy and His Dog in the Woods

We loved you and we’re going to miss you so much, Murray. You were the best dog.


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  • Chelsea
    October 12, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear this. :(

  • Monica
    October 12, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your sweet Murray. Pets are unconditional love. Hugs to you and your family.

  • Kristin
    October 12, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    So so sorry for your loss — it’s so hard when they can’t tell you when it hurts.

  • Jennyg
    October 12, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    So sorry for your loss. He was well loved. And what beautiful memories. Take care.

  • Jeannine
    October 12, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    What a handsome guy and good friend he was. I’m really sorry for your loss. It’s so hard to say good bye to these special family members. :-( Take care.

  • Mary
    October 12, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    I’m so sorry. I know how much this hurts. It’s awful coming home & they aren’t there to greet you. And the house feels so sad. I am so so sorry you & your family have to go through this.

  • crownmeDeb
    October 12, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    What a wonderful life you gave Murray. I am so sorry for the loss of this special family member.

  • lauralou
    October 12, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    I’m so sorry for you loss. Our dogs give so much to our hearts. When we had to say goodbye to our last pre-kids dog we found “The Tenth Good Thing About Barney” by Judith Viorst really helpful for our kids (and us, too).

  • Lilian
    October 12, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    Tearing up as I read about sweet Murray. My fav pic is the one of him sticking out his tongue with the kids all dressed up in the same outfit. Pets bring us so much joy. RIP Murray.

  • Kristin
    October 12, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    I’m so very sorry. It hurts so much to say goodbye to our beloved pets. And even more so when it is so unexpected.

  • Priscilla Lynch
    October 12, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Crying. So sorry.

  • Arli
    October 12, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    Losing a pet is soooooo hard. My condolences to all your family. RIP Murray.

  • Stacy Campbell
    October 12, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    Ugly crying at work now. So so sorry for your loss. What a sweet boy!

  • Indigo Lattice
    October 12, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. He was definitely well loved.

  • Brooke
    October 12, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    I’m so sorry and weeping now. The pajama photo did me in. What a sweet doggie.

  • LP
    October 12, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear this. My 10.5 year old border collie died of the same thing a few years ago and I had to put him down the same day he showed his first symptom. He wouldn’t have made it through the night with the internal bleeding. One good thing is that we didn’t have to see our dogs suffer with a long, drawn out illness. On the other hand, the sudden, unexpected goodbye was so unfair. I feel your pain and wish you comfort.

  • Sarah
    October 12, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    I’m so sorry for your lost. We had to say goodbye last week very unexpectedly too. It’s horrible. May peace and love flow. ❤️

  • Valorie
    October 12, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    Lovely tribute to your Murray. I understand because tomorrow marks 4 weeks since we said goodbye to our 17 year old Bichon. There are so many first’s, as we learn this new dance without them under our feet. Be at peace that you gave him the best life he could have ever had.

  • Sarah Jane
    October 12, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss

  • Geneviève Thiffault
    October 12, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    If our words can bring you and your family any kind of comfort, then I want to tell you that I am sincerely sorry for your lost. Murray really seemed to be the perfect dog for kids (he even wore costumes!) and he was definitely lucky to be a member of such a loving family. Pets may be small in size, but they take up a lot of space in our hearts.

  • Christina slocum
    October 12, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    I’m so sorry for you and your family. Saying goodbye to Murray and pet family members leaves broken hearts and an empty place in the home. He had a loving and wonderful life belonging to your caring family. Thinking of you all.

  • Calypso in the Country
    October 12, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Your photos captured his personality and that pajama one made me smile. He looked like the sweetest dog and I am sure he knew how much he was loved.
    Take care,

  • Danielle
    October 12, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    I loved all the wonderful photos of Murray and I’m so sorry for your loss. We lost our Airedale a few years ago and you’re never prepared for it, even when you know it might be coming. You’ll always wish for more time. What we found comforting was knowing we gave her a happy life, and our best efforts, and constantly talking about all our happy memories of her. Just like you’re doing with Murray. One day at a time :)

  • Carla Hanzal
    October 12, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    Thank you for sharing…He must have been a wonderful dog, and was clearly loved and loved in return.

  • Danielle
    October 12, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    I’m so very sorry! What a sweetie he was. Wishing you all peace at this difficult time.

  • julieandken
    October 12, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    I’m so very sorry you lost your fur baby. He was well loved and I’m sure had the best doggie life. My husband took our lab to the vet for what we thought was a rotten tooth, but turned out to be oral cancer. The tumors had proliforated in his throat. He never came home that night and we were all devastated. Hand in there, it gets better.

  • Angela N
    October 12, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    I am so sorry. I am crying for you because I know how hard it is to say goodbye to a fur baby. They are our family. ❤️

  • Kim
    October 12, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Oh no, I’m so sorry. I’m sure you’re brokenhearted. What a sweet pup. Hugs to you all.

  • Mary M.
    October 12, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    There was a quote on the spine of a Real Simple magazine that’s always stuck with me “a dog’s only fault is that they don’t live long enough.” Thinking of you and your family as you walk through this stage of life.

  • Nole
    October 12, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Nicole.

  • Fabienne
    October 12, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    I’m so sorry. :’-(
    I’ve been through this as well before.
    Your post is beautiful though!

  • Shannon
    October 13, 2017 at 12:11 am

    So sad for your family. Thank you for sharing those tidbits about Murray. I hate to think what you and your family feels right now. From these glimpses you’ve shared, he sounds like an irreplaceable friend and we should all be so lucky to experience a dog who doesn’t want to leave. He was lucky to have had such a full house of love.

  • Stephanie
    October 13, 2017 at 12:27 am

    What a lovely tribute to Murray. In tears. So very sorry for your loss.

  • miss boots
    October 13, 2017 at 1:36 am

    Heartfelt condolences. He looks like a beautiful dog.

  • barbara
    October 13, 2017 at 3:45 am

    So sorry for your loss. I know what’s you are going through. It’s so hurting. <3

  • hmmmm....
    October 13, 2017 at 6:15 am

    So very sorry for your unexpected loss. Dogs are wonderful and they love us so much, you were very blessed to have him. I love that you have so many pictures of him with your family, he will always be a part of you! Much love to you. <3

  • Lee
    October 13, 2017 at 7:00 am

    A beautiful testimony of your family’s love for Murray. A dog’s love is always so unconditional– you can’t help but be left with a gaping hole and a broken heart. Our furry baby is 14 and this story has been a heartfelt reminder that I’m to savor every day with her. ♥

  • goosefairy
    October 13, 2017 at 7:16 am

    Oh I am so sorry. How awful to have it happen like that, with no real warning; no way to come to terms with it until it’s too late. I’ve had many many cats but only two dogs (as an adult – as a kid we always had a dog and a cat, minimum). It’s really hard losing them but, I’ve got to say, I was really gutted when I lost my first dog. Dogs are really special. My heart goes out to you all.

  • Rebekah Martin
    October 13, 2017 at 7:26 am

    I’m so, so sorry for your loss. What a pretty puppy and what good memories you have of him.

  • Amelia
    October 13, 2017 at 8:00 am

    What a sweet boy. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  • sarah
    October 13, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Tears. I’m so very sorry. Murray clearly was the very best of companions; he was lucky to have you, and you to have him. All of your photos here are wonderful–ordinary shots of ordinary life that was extraordinary because of the lovely relationship you all had with Murray–but my favorite by far is that first one, where he’s got that perfect ecstatic/contented closed-eye smile while one of the kids pets him so nicely. My thoughts are with you all during this difficult time.

  • Laura
    October 13, 2017 at 9:26 am

    My condolences to you and your family. Losing a beloved pet is so difficult.

  • Maggie
    October 13, 2017 at 9:32 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I can only imagine the heartbreak you must be feeling. *hugs*

  • Britt Lauren
    October 13, 2017 at 9:34 am

    It hurts so much. Sorry for your loss. Dogs are such a blessing.

  • nancyjean9
    October 13, 2017 at 9:43 am

    No words can express the loss of a furry family member. 100 years with them would never be enough. I’m so sorry for this huge loss. Just know that Murray will always be with you.

  • Cylinda Mathews
    October 13, 2017 at 10:21 am

    I’m so sorry. The loss of a pet is like losing family because they are family. My heart goes out to you. We lost our baby last July and the house still feels hollow without his presence. Hugs!

  • Bethany Kerns
    October 13, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    I am so sorry, Nicole. These beautiful pictures break my heart. Much love to you and your family.

  • joannyr
    October 13, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    you provided a wonderful life for your dog Murray these things do not go unnoticed by our Creator and from our natural world for the love spills over all around you. words cannot express your loss of this beautiful dog – but know that he is probably looking down from some dog heaven and saying thank you from his heart,
    it is hard for me to write this for my dog passed on recently from cancer and from the medication that the vet give him actually caused kidney failure. I looked up the food on the internet for dogs almost all of them are inferior food products sure to make our pets sick. with cancer and other diseases. I now know better but . I wonder why the veterinarian industry does not boycott these food products they are making our pets sick..

  • Teresa
    October 13, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    So sorry for your loss…we, too, lost a dog at 9 from spleen cancer…first symptom I noticed was her gums were very pale..within a couple days of her fading fast we ended up at the emergency room and were told she was bleeding internally. We chose to put her to sleep that night…what a shock.

  • Jennifer C
    October 13, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    What a sweet tribute! I can tell he was much loved and will be greatly missed. So sorry for your loss. :(

  • Kim Burdett
    October 13, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    I’m so sorry, Nicole. He was a beautiful dog and he obviously was so so loved by your family. Lucky him and lucky you to have each other. <3

    • boston reader
      October 13, 2017 at 5:22 pm

      What a beautiful tribute to Murray.

  • Lisa
    October 13, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a furry family member is so painful.

  • Carol
    October 13, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    I’m so sorry, loosing a pet is very hard. My thoughts are with you. Much love. X

    October 13, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    I’m sorry to hear of your loss. Pets, dogs are the best. He will always be with you in your hearts.

  • Joana
    October 13, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Lovely post in memory of a friend, kiss from Portugal

  • Pikaeva
    October 13, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    I am very sorry, Nicole.

  • Jessibee
    October 13, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    I’m so sorry Nicole. I remember when you first got him. It’s so painful to lose those furry ones. They are heartbreakers all. Crying for you guys and remembering my own. <3

  • Celeste
    October 13, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    So sorry, Nicole. Losing a pet is the worst; especially one as sweet as Murray! <3

  • Christine
    October 13, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    October 9th was the one year anniversary since we had to put our dog Ginger down. It’s tough, I know, but we were so lucky to have her in our household, as I can see you were. A vet once said to me, animals don’t care about the quantity of life, they care about the quality. We found that comforting. Murray obviously had a wonderful life with your family! Missing my pooch too, thanks so much for sharing all the wonderful pictures and Murray with us.

  • Deborah Raney
    October 13, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    You honored his life beautifully with your sweet words.

  • Beth
    October 13, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    So sorry for your loss. I lost a pup after only two years when she was hit and killed by a car. No death of a beloved pet is easy, but when you are not ready for it, it is different than when you are prepared.

  • AnnW
    October 13, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    A beautiful tribute to a valued family member. The kids have benefited a lot from Murray. We had to put our 16 year old lab down on Mother’s Day. She had been weaker, and then collapsed several times. She was bleeding into her pericardium from a tumor in her heart. It was hard to decide to do it in a 30 minute period of time. You always hope for more time. Maybe get another dog in the spring. Let the kids pick her out. Maybe you could frame his dog tags with a photo of him.

  • Aoife
    October 14, 2017 at 3:46 am

    So sorry for your loss. Such a lovely post for Murray and beautiful photos for you to treasure.

  • Kim B.
    October 14, 2017 at 6:07 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss. You’ve written him a beautiful tribute, it’s clear how much you all loved him and he you. I’m so sorry for the loss for you and Brandon and the kids. Thinking of you.

  • MichelleB
    October 14, 2017 at 6:10 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss. What a sweet face and a beautiful tribute.

  • Bre
    October 14, 2017 at 9:35 am

    I’m so sorry. It is incredible how deeply animals love us, and we love them, and how much it hurts when they pass. I’m not sure your religion, but people usually share the “rainbow bridge” poem at this time. I prefer “oblivion bridge” by Coyote Crossing. It’s more physics based. I discovered it four months ago when I arrived home to find my fluffy BFF had passed away.

  • Jennie
    October 14, 2017 at 9:45 am

    I’m so sorry. Hemangiosarcoma just sucks, sucks, sucks. I lost my Emma in April to the same thing. It just sucks. What a beautiful tribute this post is to Murray, though, and you can tell he had a life of love and happiness. Hugs to you and your family as you grieve for him.

  • Elizabeth
    October 14, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. I’ve said goodbye to two dogs, over the years, and I still miss them. This post is a lovely tribute to a much-loved member of the family.

  • Vanessa Bailey
    October 14, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    Good boy Murray.

  • bea
    October 15, 2017 at 6:59 am

    oh no! I’m so so sorry. I’m feeling your loss so acutely. I thought I was facing a similar thing. My older dog, 11.5 years, had her spleen removed just Wednesday. They said we were just in time. Many hugs for you.

  • Stacey Hansen
    October 15, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    I’m so sorry. What a lucky dog to be part of your family.

  • petraraschig
    October 15, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    I’m so sad for you. Cancer is a bitch. What a lovely family you are and a lovely tribute. We lost both our cats to Cancer. Seems everyone does. I cried during this post. Murray was pretty special. Just sending you big love during this very sad time.

  • carmen
    October 15, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss

  • Noni
    October 16, 2017 at 11:32 am

    I’m sorry.

    In 2011, I found a 6 week old pit bull puppy with a bloated belly milling around a Texas parking lot in 105 degree weather. Without a second thought (I saw no one around), I scooped her up, ran inside the store for a collar and puppy food, and high-tailed it to our vet. She was a mess (worms, burned foot pads, eye infection) and wouldn’t have survived another day, according to the vet. We brought her home, named her Maggie, and she was a constant companion to our two young children. Endlessly patient, endlessly kind and loving. One day, two years ago, I noticed that her throat was swollen and her eyes were bloodshot and bulging. We took her to the vet where she was diagnosed with lymphoma at only 4 years old. It’s been 2 years since we all laid on the floor of the vet’s office and whispered into her velvety ears how much we loved her, but I still cry sometimes–as the days have gone by, the sadness has been replaced with laughter and sweet memories recounted.

    One of these days, you’ll think of Murray and smiling will be the first thing you do. Until then, I am with you in your grief.

  • Patricia
    October 16, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    I am so very sad and so very sorry to read of your great loss in sweet Murray. I do know just how you feel – we lost our loving lab, Bo, and I have to say that I felt like I had truly lost a member of our family. Just remind yourself how much love and care you all gave Murray, and he knew he was deeply loved……

  • Sam
    October 16, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    May his memory be a blessing. He was obviously very special to your whole family.

  • Ciara
    October 17, 2017 at 6:12 am

    oh so sorry to hear this, ye must be devastated. What a lucky dog to have had 9 wonderful years with ye.

  • Nicole
    October 17, 2017 at 10:30 am

    I’m so sorry Nicole… I can only imagine how heartbroken you all are to lose your first baby. Sending hugs your way!

  • Lori
    October 19, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    Oh I am so, so sorry you lost this wonderful member of your family. Sending love to you and yours.

  • Sarah
    October 21, 2017 at 4:08 am

    I’m so sorry. I know this pain – I had a similar experience with my 11 year old Husky, who was with me through thick and thin. My heart hurts with you.

  • Donna
    October 25, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    ❤️ How lucky you are to have know the Love of Murray.

  • Becky
    November 1, 2017 at 8:24 am

    My heart is breaking for your family. I’m so so sorry for your loss!

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