Life With a Springer Spaniel – Settling In and Chewing Up

Now that we finally had our beautiful puppy, it was time to learn how to adapt to having a dog in the house permanently.

Murphy on his first night in the house, aged 9 weeks. Credit: Carmel Gallagher

It wasn’t like we never had any experience with dogs – neighbours all around us had them. I was friends with a very friendly Welsh Corgi named Charlie. I called him my ‘Orange Friend’ because his red fur matched the color of my hair! He would come into our back garden and the two of us would play fetch all the time, and on occasion, he would come into the house and get some food. I was devastated when I learned that he had passed away from cancer a few years later.

I was thrilled when we got Murphy. Back when I first met him, he was so small, I could easily pick him up in both hands. As he was only a few weeks old at the time, we had to lay newspapers all over the floor until he was trained to go to the toilet outside! That was a long and slow process; we always had to keep an eye on wherever Murphy wandered off, just in case he decided to do his business in a corner! Sometimes we weren’t quick enough and we had to get out the plastic bags and the mop to clean up his mess. At least he made it up to us with some cuddles!

Murphy resting on the kitchen table! (Credit: Eidhne Gallagher)

Furniture became another story. In the first few weeks, Murphy was obsessed with gnawing on the legs of the table. He was teething and liked the feeling of hard things, so we understood why he was doing it. As the weeks progressed, he moved from chewing on furniture to climbing on it!

I’ll never forget the day when my little sister came home after sitting her first Junior Cert exam. Being nice, I made her toasted sandwich. We went upstairs for a minute, and when we came back down, Murphy was up on the kitchen table, eating the sandwich! That was the day that we discovered that he had mastered the art of climbing onto chairs and tables! We always have to keep the chairs firmly close to the tables after that!

Of course, when Murphy mastered the art of climbing the stairs, that was when things became a real challenge! Our parents were always on at me and my sister to keep our bedroom doors closed, otherwise Murphy would go in and grab something and (more than likely) rip it to shreads. There were many times that we would forget and Murphy would find a way into our rooms and find something.

Ususally this wasn’t too bad, he would normally just find old socks or a slipper that lost its partner ages ago and we would just let him tear them up. They were of no use to us anymore!

But then one day, he found an old red teddy bear, that I’d won at a funfair years back. In all honesty, I’d forgotten about it until Murphy came trotting downstairs, bear in his mouth. Mum said to me that he just refused to unhand it so in the end, she let him have it. I didn’t mind too much, if Murphy liked it, he could have it.

Now, we expected him to rip it to shreds right away, but surprisingly he was slow. He would spend a few nights with it, sniffing it and having it by his side when he settled down to go to sleep on the chair. That’s another thing about Murphy, he never liked his dog’s basket. He only settled on the couch or on a chair. Maybe it was because that he was able to smell us humans off of it, I’m not sure.

In the end though, I came downstairs one day, to find stuffing all over the floor and the red teddy bear reduced to a lifeless rag. That was the end of cuddly toys for Murphy for a long time! His feeling for stuffed toys would change (slightly) when he got older but that’s another story!

Murphy settling down to sleep with the red teddy that would end up destroyed some time later. (Credit: Eidhne Gallagher)

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