Murphy the Labradoodle

posted March 7th, 2016 by
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Murphy the Labradoodle

MurphyStory and Photos by Holly Clay

 

Murphy is a 2-year-old Labradoodle with a whole lot of love to give.

Not only IS HE SPECTACULARLY ADORABLE, but Murphy can say something about himself that most dogs cannot. In fact, Murphy might even have a longer list of accomplishments than most humans. So what makes Murphy so different from most other pets out there? Murphy is not only a therapy dog with A New Leash on Life and a Certified Canine Good Citizen, but he also shines in the classroom where he volunteers his doggie time with children. If that did not make you feel a little self-conscious about your own life, then just know Murphy also has great hair.

In the winter of 2013, Stephanie Summers and her husband decided they wanted a family pet. Unfortunately, Stephanie suffers from severe allergies. While her husband started his research on dog breeds, a coworker suggested a Goldendoodle—specifically an F1b (Goldendoodle crossed with a Standard Poodle). The Summers heeded the advice of their friend and adopted Murphy on Jan. 20, 2013. Murphy is their first pet and obviously a good one!

So how did Murphy get involved with therapy work? His mom Stephanie was kind enough to explain the entire process of becoming certified. Let me tell you, it does not sound like an easy task to become a certified therapy dog and Canine Good Citizen.

“My husband and I both have hearts for volunteering,” Stephanie says. “Since Murphy is a ‘people-dog,’ it seemed like a natural fit to involve him in our volunteer efforts. At a very young age we started taking him to Jessie Cantwell, a trainer at Ranchwood Veterinary Hospital. We began with puppy socialization and then advanced to basic manners and obedience. In addition, we did extensive socialization training at parks, children’s festivals, playgrounds and dog-friendly businesses. Finally, we completed the six-week required therapy dog program through A New Leash on Life.”

As you can guess, Murphy successfully passed the required exams and became a certified therapy dog and Canine Good Citizen. However, Murphy’s work was not finished there.  Once he became officially certified, he moved his skills and volunteer efforts into the classroom at a local elementary school.

Through A New Leash on Life, Murphy and his parents have partnered with South Lake Elementary (Moore Public Schools). They currently visit the school several times each week, where he volunteers as a reading buddy and works in the special education classrooms. Murphy visits are also being used to motivate and reward good behavior. It is evident the children have a special bond with Murphy. In fact, Murphy will be starting his own club this February in the special education classrooms, called “Murphy’s Kindness Club.” The goal is to teach students the importance of kindness and how they can spread kindness each day.

Although Murphy is very popular throughout the school, the largest impact has been with the students in the special ed classrooms. These students have become attached to Murphy.

“I have seen students go from struggling in spelling, to earning a perfect score simply because Murphy came to visit for the spelling test. It’s incredible to see students who typically struggle with anxiety excel in Murphy’s presence. Everyone loves Murphy Days, even the teachers!” says Kara Evans, special education teacher.

The smiling faces say it all! It is as if a celebrity is present when Murphy enters the school. The kids yell his name and reach out to touch the fluffy dog as he happily gives kisses to them all. Murphy seems to enjoy the attention just as much as the children do. He is also given an extensive amount of treats, which he certainly does not mind either. Every job has its perks, and it seems Murphy has found the perfect job for him.

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