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The Fourth Child - Murphy Lai


Our fourth child "Murphy"- a Jack Russell,
entered our lives about three years ago. A
small bundle who delivered both happiness
and chaos into our lives. We set about
welcoming him into our home and began
organising our lives around his busy schedule.

We had developed certain routines around
this little ball of energy, one of them
preventing his escape from our house. It
started to seem like somewhat of a
fixation for Murphy to escape, and at
every opportunity that came his way
he tried to bail out for freedom!

One morning Murphy had success. In a
brief moment when our backs were turned,
he successfully escaped from our house
via the open garage door. You could
almost imagine him chanting
"Freedom, freedom, freedom" as he took
off down the drive way at an impressive
rate of knots.

Murphy escaped directly into the pathway
of an oncoming car. Poor little fellow
was bowled over, and lay at the side
of the road yelping in pain. We raced
to his aid, discovered he was quite
badly hurt, and then loaded him into
the family car.(AKA doggy ambulance!)
First stop local vet, Murphy's GP, who
advised us to take him to nearby Murdoch
University-- the specialists. I began
to cringe at this. I could already
smell the money leaving my pocket.

We all set off to Murdoch, Murphy being
nursed gently in the back seat. Arrived
at the D.A.E (Doggy Accident and Emergency)

Murphy was quickly seen by the on duty
specialist who came to me to deliver the
news. Murphy has broken his hip. He may
require surgery. The other specialist
explained all the options shortly.
Why is that they always come to the father?

In front of my family, the doggy specialist
gave us the options regarding what he could
do for Murphy. These options were followed
directly by the prices. There were only two.
The first of these options cost only $50.00.
This involved Murphy receiving a painless,
but fatal overdose of anaesthetic, putting
him to sleep. The second procedure would
cost $4,500.00 and would involve Murphy
receiving a metal ball and socket joint
to replace his badly damaged hip.

I was ready to decide. I decided that
the best option was to pay the $50.00
and released poor Murphy into the great
doggy heaven in the sky. Then I happened
to take a quick glance around the room.
There were my other children. Red and
puffy eyed, the odd tear trailing a silent
path down a flushed cheek. My wife, tissue
in hand, nervously dabbing at her own red
eyes, trying to hold it together for the
children. Then there was the doggy specialist,
gentle look of concern for the children,
slightly mocking glare for
me.

My family stared at me with red, pleading,
expectant eyes. How much of a bastard do
I feel? Here they were waiting for me to
make the decision to save poor Murph's life.
And I was standing there, not because I was
heartless or a tight wad, or at least that
was what I kept telling myself, but because
I was a realistic. It was all right to only
spend the $50.00 and put Murphy out
of his misery.

The red eyes and tear stained cheeks
start to work their magic. Soon I had
tears running down my own face. Not
from the emotion created by the suffering
of my poor little dog, or by the tear
soaked faces of my family, but from
the realization that there was no
way I was leaving this surgery without
a $4,500.00 debt on my credit card.
Not without my children never speaking
to me again, or my wife deciding we no
longer have a sex life. The fear of
this reality outweighed the reality
of my hefty credit card
debt.

I gave the go ahead for the operation.
The doggy specialist smiled at me.
( I was sure it's more of a leer!)
Murphy was on his way to theatre for
the implantation of his new ball
and socket hip! I was on my way to bankruptcy!!

Several hours later we learnt that
Murphy was fine and his metal hip
was in place. Super Murphy-the Bionic
Dog had made it.

Super Murphy is back home and running
around in a fashion that would make,
Steve Austin, the Bionic Man, very proud.
Mean while I am still crying, and still
holding the credit card bill. Little Murphy
would want to make sure he lives a
long time I can tell you!!

By Andrew Lai