A decade later with Charlie Murphy

Charlie Bear

Last month marked a couple noteworthy anniversaries for our household. It was 10 years ago last July that we first packed up our lives (and our cat) in Venice, California and drove 2300 miles across country to begin anew in Ann Arbor, Michigan. And a few weeks after that, we found ourselves standing outside a Petco signing “Planned Pethood” adoption papers for a potbellied puppy, now the elder member of our tail-wagging household.

HPIM0490Here are some fun, fab and totally random facts about our old man, Charlie Murphy:

  • He was the runt of his litter, and the last to be adopted.
  • He is named after Charlie Murphy, Eddie Murphy’s brother, made infamous through the Rick James skits on the Chappelle Show.
  • His nickname is “Koko” because when he was a puppy he had gorilla eyes and lived with a cat
  • He is obsessed with tennis balls
  • He is obsessed with tennis balls
  • He is obsessed with tennis balls
  • He’s driven across country twice, from Michigan to Southern California and then back to Michigan again.
  • He loves to sit in the snow.
  • He’s had three ACL surgeries.
  • He’s the smallest and weakest of our four dogs and his only recourse when another dog steals his shit is to hump them.

IMG_3385Charlie’s adoption papers from the rescue group said “Springer Spaniel mix.” Several years later, our handy dandy DNA test told us that he is the quintessential mutt:

  • 25% Labrador Retriever
  • 25% German Shepherd
  • 25% Beagle
  • 25% American Eskimo Dog

How’s that for a breed mix?!

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 10.00.46 PMOf course, none of that really matters. Because all you need to know is . . . he’s obsessed with tennis balls.


Things I LOVE about Charlie Murphy:

  • He loves to go for car rides
  • He’s the perfect size: 40 lbs.
  • He has floppy velvet ears
  • He does the most amazing head tilt when you say “car” or “ball” or “walk”
  • He’s a go anywhere, do anything with anyone dog (parks, busy streets, snowstorms, off leash, on leash, friends, family, any other dog–he goes with the flow)
  • As long as he has a tennis ball, and you occasionally throw it for him, he appears content
  • He randomly turns into a playful pup just when you think he’s getting crusty and old
  • He loves to do zoomies in the basement while I workout and stretch
  • The white around his muzzle makes it look like he’s been munching on powdered donuts


More Farm Pics II 010Things I DO NOT LOVE about Charlie Murphy:

  • He is not food motivated
  • He screams like a wild banshee when you take another dog somewhere instead of him
  • He is not a fan of giving things up when you ask him to “leave it” or “drop it”
  • He shits 3-4 different times on a walk, requiring you to bring multiple poop bags with you
  • He sheds like a mother f!@#$%
  • He has selective hearing
  • He does not look where’s he’s going when you throw his tennis ball
  • He is obsessed with tennis balls

Come and get my stickCharlie is an everywoman’s dog. We frequently like to joke with him, “If only we’d stopped after you, Charlie.” I’m sure the three of us (me, my husband and Charlie) would be happily tooling around the country in an RV, hiking in national parks, stopping wherever we felt like it and throwing those goddamned dirty tennis balls from Yosemite to the Florida Keys without a care in the world.

Joe and Puppies 003




Colorado-Utah Border Rest-stop




About emily douglas

Emily Douglas authors The Unexamined Dog blog and writes regularly about "pit bull" advocacy, humane education and the parallels between the education field and the dog world. Emily and her dog, Peaches volunteer as a registered therapy dog team in the Southeast Michigan area, where their visits are affectionately known as Peach Therapy.
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5 Responses to A decade later with Charlie Murphy

  1. Karen Peer says:

    Love Charlie Murphy’s story! Sweet boy.

  2. Happy Birthday to Charlie! He seems like quite a handful – but totally worth it, right??

  3. barbara Malatesta says:

    New to your blog, Emily. So enjoying your writing. Touches my heart , puts a smile on my face and often an out loud laugh! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Gabi says:

    Aww, what a great story. He sounds pretty similar to our “old guy,” we always joke about what if we had stopped with him (now we’re three more dogs, a cat and about 50 fosters later…).

    I do feel the need to comment about the rope toy poop… I have a friend whose dog almost died from ingesting rope toy pieces and got an obstruction because it wrapped around his intestines. He had to have major emergency surgery. I’m sure you pay attention well but maybe even for anyone else who might be reading this just be careful with rope toys!

    Happy birthdayish to Charlie 🙂

  5. Randi Woods says:

    Your tribute to Charlie and his 10 years with you gave me a wide smile this afternoon. Hey Charlie, I’m throwing you a tennis ball from CA.

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