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When I tell people who know me in person and in blog world that I got a dog… their response is always the same…

You got a dog? But I thought you didn’t like dogs!”

It is no secret that I’ve always claimed to not be a “dog person.” Quite frankly, I was ridiculously scared of them. I’d been bitten a few times when I was a kid…. and the dogs sensed my fear which just made things worse. When I became a photographer and people were wanting photos with their dogs, I’d comply but reluctantly. People would always say, “but you won’t be scared of my dog… s/he’s better than the others!” Well, they were wrong… I was always frightened.

Mike would often suggest getting a dog, I’d always respond… “I’ll never ever own a dog, EVER!”  I was so not fair to him…

All of that changed when “Bauer” came into our lives. He was a lost boxer roaming through the streets of our neighborhood and Mike brought him in. He said, “Bobbi, don’t be alarmed… there’s a dog in the house.”

“WHAT??!?! ARE YOU CRAZY?!”

…and then the strangest thing happened. I, in an instant, wanted Bauer to be our dog (that wasn’t his real name, but that’s what we called him for the day he was ours). As cheesy as it sounds, seeing him follow Mike around in our home just felt right.

That evening we posted signs around the neighborhood and within an hour, Bauer’s real family called us… “OH! You found Buddy! What a relief!”  How bittersweet that was. It was in that moment that I knew we needed a dog in our lives.

There was only one requirement… our dog needed be a hypoallergenic breed because with our workshops, we have a lot of people in and out of our home, so that was very important to us. We had it narrowed down to a Portuguese Water Dog and a Labradoodle.

I found two dogs that were available in the Midwest (one of them even in Indiana) on a “Doodle Rescue” site. We filled out the verrrry long application and waited to hear back… and waited… and waited. Then I emailed and waited… and waited…. and waited. A month later I re-checked the site and found another doodle available for rescue. We re-submitted our application. We didn’t hear one word from them!  I became very frustrated with that whole process so I started researching local breeders.

After a big of Googling / forum reading I soon found Noble Vestal Labradoodles, located 30 minutes north of us in Noblesville, Ind.  I called and spoke with the owner Kendra and started following their biz page on Facebook. A few months later I saw that she had a three year old stud dog from Colorado named Murphy who needed what they call a “guardian home.”  Mike and I talked it over and off to Noblesville we went to meet him.  I was immediately smitten!  NEVER (really, NEVER!) have I pet, let alone cuddled with a dog. Murphy, however doesn’t take no for an answer. He craaaaaves the attention… I gave it and he took it… 😉 There, she also had a very pregnant dog who climbed into my lap, looked up at me and said “pet me now, I’m irresistible and pregnant.” So I did… I rubbed on that very full belly of puppies. I just knew I’d found the place to find our perfect companion.

I asked lots of questions… “I know we’re his ‘guardian parents,’ but is he really our dog?” Absolutely! she answered.

“Does that mean that when you’re done with him you’ll take him back and sell him to someone else?” Nope. He’ll be 100% yours. (Sidenote… Murphy does on occasion have puppies available so be sure to check out Noble Vestal’s website for more info).

It was a done deal… I was in love with Murphy and wasn’t going to let anyone else be his mom! We went home and started preparing for his arrival (Holy cowabunga there was SO much to do / buy… WHOA!)

A week or two later, he was home with us and we all grew attached to each other in record time. It was as though he were meant to be our dog from the beginning. Mike left town for the first few days he was home (to celebrate his Dad’s birthday with an already-planned fishing trip). As terrible as it sounds was the best thing that could have happened to Murphy and I. The situation forced me to bond with and love him as I couldn’t lean on Mike for support.  From that weekend on, he became a momma’s boy. 😉

Then, about a month later Mike had shoulder surgery.  Murphy just knew exactly what Mike needed which I find fascinating! I remember posting a photo to Instagram of Murphy cuddling on Mike when my friend Gail said, ” It’s like that dog has been a member of your family always.” I couldn’t have agreed more. (and just for good measure, here’s another photo of Murphy after Mike’s surgery)

Now, looking back I can’t believe I haven’t had a dog my entire life. It’s so hard for me to put into words. The amount of joy, contentment and just plain fun that he’s brought into our world is unbelievable. For the first time in my life I get it. I get why people are obsessed their dogs. When we come home after a few hours away and he’s about to go crazy with excitement… there’s no better feeling. Oh how we love this dog!

Though I still wouldn’t necessarily call myself a “dog person”… I’m more of a Murphy Mo person. 😉 That being said, I now respect and understand the relationship and love that people have with their dogs. I’m also now, for the most part, no longer scared of dogs. This is HUGE for me. 😀

Oh, about his name… before Murphy was our dog we’d talk about our future imaginary dog named “Mo” so when he came into our lives it was only natural to give him a middle name. 😉

Last week, for the first time… I busted out the big camera on his cuteness. Three things. 1) I have a whole new respect for dog photographers; they’re hard to photograph! I’d get close to him to snap a photo and he’d want to do is snuggle. 2) Black dogs are especially hard to photograph (especially if you prefer naturally lit photos like we do). Here’s what I learned… Creating a ratio is the best way to get around it (light coming in from one side). 3) I’m about to be crazy dog person and frame these all over my house. Judge me, I dare you! [br] [br]

Murphy has the most beautiful brown eyes!Mike took the one below (that’s my hand)… the very first trick I taught Murphy when he became our dog was to give high fives… on brand! 😉He’s about 60 lbs and 23″ tall… AKA, the perfect size.He’s such a snuggle bug! Murphy’s in what we call “chill-down mode” most of the time… unless he knows you’re ready to throw a ball for him, take him for a car ride, or go for a walk. When we first got Murphy he wasn’t the best runner… he’d rather cuddle than play. To be honest, his run looked more like a bunny hop. We’d throw a ball and he’d look at us like we were crazy. We kept pushing, he kept looking at us like we were crazy. I did a lot of Googling and watching dog training videos… “teach a dog to fetch.” We just knew he had it in him. Then, out of nowhere a couple of months later, it was like a light switched and he turned into Mr. Athletic! Now it’s rare to see him without a ball next to him… you know, just in case you want to play he’s ready for it. 😉 When one of us is snuggling on Murphy he looks over at the other as though he’s saying, “don’t you want in on this?!” Man oh man does he have THE most perfect curls ever?! While I love how handsome he is with all of this hair (it’s nearly 4″ long right now), we think it’ll be better for his active lifestyle for him to have a shorter do… it’s getting warmer out and he can’t play outside for long without needing a break in the shade. His black hair I’m sure isn’t helping matters. But don’t you worry, David Hasselhoff and his long locks will be making another appearance next winter! Murphy, you are SO handsome!
He’s the perfect companion for us. 😀 [br] [br] [br] One more sidenote, I started becoming paranoid that I was posting too many photos of him on Instagram (#murphymo) as he’s just so damn cute and quite irresistible. However, I recently noticed that photos of him get more “likes” than just about anything else I post. So… I’m over it, more Murphy Mo coming your way! 😉

Much love friends!

~bobbi+mike ❗ + ❓ [br] [br]

PS. Today (April 22nd) also happens to be his 4th birthday sooo… Happy birthday stud! 😉

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