I fell in love with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels when I was working at a dog kennel in college. Two little Cavaliers came in and stole my heart with their sweet, soulful eyes, and gentle demeanor. I knew it was the breed I wanted to have one day. They are expensive little dogs on the mainland (for good reason... they are awesome!), but when I got to Hawaii they were pretty much out of the question. (Dogs in Hawaii sell for outrageous prices-- even mixed breeds sell for a thousand dollars sometimes. It's pretty sad actually... people act as if they are a commodity or product instead of a living creature.)
After college and finishing my Master's degree, I got married and the military moved us to Hawaii. We didn't have a dog before we moved, and we weren't even sure we were going to get one. Fast forward about 8 months, and I am really missing my family's animals. My degree is in Art Education, and that's a job that's just not going to be available on the island because so many of the schools in Hawaii are under funded and don't even have Art or Music programs. I'm spending most of my days at home arranging things in our new place and trying to work on a little artwork to get up the nerve to sell a few things. Kent, my husband, is gone most of the time working. His job calls for some super long hours and a lot of time away, so I was getting super lonely. I wouldn't even think of paying any of the exorbitant prices for the purebred dogs here when they probably came from puppy mills and there were so many others that needed to be rescued. I started to look around online-- Craigslist, shelters, the Humane Society, and then the SPCA. I wasn't finding anything that really felt like the right match.
One Wednesday morning, I was feeling particularly lonely and miserable. All kinds of things were going through my mind. Why was I on this stupid island anyway when all I ever do is spend time alone? How do I even make friends? My neighbors don't talk to me when I smile at them and say hello, and the few wives of the men Kent works with are at entirely different points in their lives from me. How am I ever going to meet people? I just wish I was home. All of a sudden I just felt the need to get out of my lonely little townhouse and do something to cheer my pathetic self up. I wondered, what always makes me happy and makes me feel loved. It was then that I decided on a whim that Wednesday morning to go to a place I had never been, the Oahu SPCA. I wanted to just go look around at the dogs on the off chance that one might seem like the right fit... plus dogs always make me happy, so I made the drive and walked inside.
All of the dogs I saw were in need of a loving home, and I wanted to help them all. My neighborhood has rules against pit bulls and pit mixes, so I knew they were out of the question. As I walked by the kennels in that bare bones shelter my heart went out to all of these poor creatures that were so down on their luck. Kennel after kennel had a pit mix or maybe one that was too timid to be adopted out or one that wasn't medically ready to go to a permanent home. By the time I was nearing the back of the shelter, I was feeling like I was destined to be alone on this rock in the ocean... I wasn't even going to find a dog that was right to keep me company.
Then I turned the corner, and I saw a beautiful little Cavalier. I walked as fast as I could to the kennel he was in, and he came to the side where I was standing and put his sweet little nose through the chain link and looked at me with the most loving eyes I had ever seen. It was over. My heart was his. I could not believe that this perfect little Cavalier was in this place. Was this a miracle or some kind of terrible joke to toy with my already fragile emotions? I told the girl showing me around that I loved Cavaliers and that I would love to put in an application for him. She looked down a little and said that there were already close to twenty applications filled out to take him home but I was welcome to fill one out because they try to do "best match" instead of first come first serve. I couldn't help but feel my heart sink just a little, but I wanted that little dog so badly. I filled out the application.
The application was very long and detailed, and I filled it out with every detail that I thought would let them know how much this little guy would mean to me. When I finished, I turned it in and felt like I might be sick. I knew I would give him a wonderful home, but would they see it that way?
I walked out the door and to my car. I immediately called my mom and told her to pray and to tell everyone in my family to pray. There had to be a reason I woke up that Wednesday morning, randomly went to a shelter, and saw the four-legged companion of my dreams. My whole family said they would, and I sent up a prayer myself. I told God I knew it might seem trivial to pray about getting a dog, but I felt I really needed that kind of love and companionship in my life. (Not to knock my sweet husband in any way... he's always there for me, but when he has to go away for work, I'm completely alone)
A few hours later my phone rings with an unfamiliar number. It was a woman from the shelter telling me that she thought I would be perfect for little "Napoleon." (That was the temporary name given to him.) I finally breathed again for the first time in hours, and I told her I would love to come and get him. We arranged for a pick-up the following Saturday, and I was overcome with excitement.
On Saturday, Kent and I got up and headed to the SPCA. We did all the paperwork, and they came out with my sweet little buddy.
I took this picture with my phone right after they brought him out.
When we got home, he gave me one of his sweet smiles, and I knew things were going to start looking up.
Over the next few weeks and months we went on hikes and walks and to the dog park often, and things really began to change for me.
Murphy made himself right at home.
We both started making friends in the neighborhood, especially at the dog park. It was amazing to me how many more people talk to you when you are walking an adorable little dog. I no longer went for days without face to face human contact when Kent was away. I was able to meet people and have good conversations. It was wonderful. I made at least a couple really good friends through going to the dog park with my little Murphy, which had an amazing effect on my attitude towards everything else. While this may not be my ideal place to live, it's no longer the absolute worst, and I no longer feel so lonely and empty. It may sound silly to some, but I honestly believe Murphy was an answer to my prayers. His presence has changed my attitude and helped me in so many ways. He is always there for me, his eyes are always full of love, and I am never alone. I couldn't ask for a better companion, so call it what you want... I just call it my little miracle.
Soon I'll share Duke's "tail" and many more... Stay tuned...