Life With a Springer Spaniel – Meeting my Furry Friend

Murphy the Springer Spaniel Credit: Eidhne Gallagher

It’s the question that many children have asked their parents.

‘Can we have a puppy? Please, can we have a puppy?’

Sing-Along Songs with Pongo and Perdita Credit: Disney Wikia

Some lucky children get their wish granted. Other times, they are disappointed.

I was one of the kids who really wished for a dog. Growing up, I adored them. As a toddler, I would religiously watch a Disney Sing-Along-Songs video with the 101 Dalmatians theme. I was envious of any girl my age who would go home to a dog in their family. More than anything I wanted a dog. To be honest, it didn’t matter to me what breed it would be, I just wanted a furry friend of my own.

Growing up, I made do with stuffed animals. The old dalmatian cuddly toys that I played with are still sitting on top of my wardrobe at home. As I went from a child to a teenager, I gradually began to accept that my family would never get a dog. I decided that when the time was right and I was in the right place, I would get a dog of my own.

As it would turn out, I would get a dog far sooner than that.

It was the spring of 2015, and I was halfway through my first year of college at Dublin City University. I was messaging with my little sister and she was telling me that Mum and Dad had a surprise when I came home for the weekend. I thought nothing of it at the time; my mind was focused on my upcoming assignments, the lunch date I had with my friends and my classes later in the day. In all honesty, I assumed that the surprise was in relation to the annual family holiday to Lanzarote.

When I came home on Friday evening, I learned how mistaken I was.

I met my Mum off the bus same as normal. She asked me if I knew what the surprise was, but again, I just shrugged it off. We got home, and I went into the living room to meet my dad and sister.

What I saw made my heart stop.

Murphy, the weekend I first met him, at just 11 weeks old. Credit: Eidhne Gallagher

Rushing around the living room floor was a tiny springer spaniel puppy, yapping and digging his little claws into the furniture. My parents had gotten our family a puppy.

I really couldn’t believe it. After years of begging my mum and dad to get us a dog, they had finally gone and gotten this beautiful little boy. It was unbeliveable.

Murphy learning the concept of football. Credit: Eidhne Gallagher

It turned out, Mum had shown my Dad a post online about springer spaniel puppies that were for sale, nearby. She had jokingly said that we should get one. And my Dad? He readily agreed and next thing we knew, this little guy came home.

To pick him up and hold him for the first time was amazing. That whole evening, I spent my time cuddling him, stroking his little tummy and playing ball games with him. Quickly I learned that he had a great love for squeaky toys!

Now, please don’t get me wrong, he was by far from an angel. A bit of the time, we had to pull him away from the table because he had gotten into the habit of gnawing on the legs. As a puppy, that’s a normal thing, they’re still growing into their teeth, but we didn’t want too much damage down to the furniture!

The one thing that my family disagreed on at the time regarding the newest member was his name. What were we going to call him?

My parents came up with the ridiculous name of Glen. I was horrified. Now, I understand where they were coming from – my mother was from Glencolmkille, a beautiful, isolated part of County Donegal – but nobody in their right mind would name a dog Glen! After that name was rejected, the family had to think of a different name for this little guy. Finally, I thought of a name that fitted him perfectly.

Murphy.

The Donegal GAA captain is called Michael Murphy and my grandmother’s maiden name was Murphy, so something in me told me that this name was the right one for this puppy.

By unanimous vote, the family officially named our dog Murphy. He got his collar and name tag and was now a member of the family.

Six years on, Murphy has grown into a mischievious but very affectionate dog. He loves to go out for long walks, playing with his toys and having a snooze on my bed. He’s become a very loved and cared for member of our family and we cannot imagine life without him.

Living with a springer spaniel has its ups and downs – and here you will find out all about what to expect with a cheeky mutt like mine!

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