It’s been a while since I wrote anything about my springer spaniel Murphy. Well, seeing as it is International Dog Day today, I think I will talk about the work that Murphy has done as my study supervisor!
These last few weeks – last few months rather – have been a struggle. A great majority of my time was spent writing my final dissertation for my Master’s degree in Griffith College. I thought I knew what I was in for. By God, was I wrong. I did not anticipate the long evenings, the lack of sleep, the stress in making sure that every topic was covered, every word was spelt correctly, all the added extras were added. I’d go to bed at about midnight, get up at about six, trying to balance work and my final big project for graduating Griffith College with a Master’s. Put it simply, I was very stressed.
I was close to cracking, but thankfully, I didn’t. And that is down to Murphy.
In the last few weeks, before I was due to submit my dissertation, I returned to Monaghan. My parents were away to Lanzarote for the first time since the pandemic and I was minding Murphy. My sister works at Supervalu and her times vary so she couldn’t be around all the time. So I had to balance work, my dissertation and taking care of Murphy.
It was as if Murphy knew that I was stressed. He knew when I needed him. Sometimes, if I was working on my laptop, he’d just climb up beside me, put his head on my lap and settle for a snooze. Just his presence, eased my mind a little bit. His presence gave me a little bit of comfort.
In the early mornings, before I had to start work, Murphy and I would go out for long walks around Monaghan town. As soon as I said ‘Shall we go for a walk?’, he’d be down the stairs and at the back door, ready to be leashed up and go out.
I will say that the early morning walks with Murphy really helped my head. To be out in the crisp, clear air, at a time of the day, when the town was still quiet and only beginning to wake up was really good. It was a time when I could hear my thoughts more clearly and just relax even if it was just for a little while. Murphy was very good at distracting me, by pulling me down the paths and sniffing everything around him. He knew that my mind needed to be taken off the dissertation in the morning time at least!
But I will admit, there were times when I got so stressed that even poor Murphy got on my nerves. There was one incident, where I was working on the blasted dissertation in my bedroom. Murphy was sitting on my bed, as normal. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, Murphy started barking loudly. I jumped at the unexpected noise and I just lost it. I had gotten into a good trail of thought and Murphy had inadvertently interrupted. He barked louder and I screamed at him. I yelled him ‘Shut up! Shut up! Just shut up Murphy!’
As my screaming subsided, I looked at Murphy in horror at what I’d done and I just burst into tears. I couldn’t believe what I had just done. I had shouted at Murphy for something that was in a dog’s nature to do. I didn’t mean to yell at him. I was so stressed at having to finish this assignment, anything could have set me off.
It took a really long time for me to stop crying. I just howled and howled. My sister Shona, comforted me and said that Murphy knew that I didn’t mean it. As she said, Murphy came up and rubbed his head against my legs. This actually made me cry even harder. I just felt so bad. This is how much the stress had gotten to me.
Like I said, it took a while for the tears to dry. When I finally calmed down, I cuddled Murphy for a long time and told him I was sorry, I didn’t mean to shout. He allowed me to pamper him and hug him. I think that was his way of saying that he forgave me.
A couple of days later, I had finished and submitted my dissertation at long, long, long, last. I was so relieved to finally be finished. Once I knew that it had been submitted and sent off, I said the magic words to Murphy: ‘Shall we go for a walk?’ Within a few minutes, we were off!
I have to say that I’m so glad that I went back to Monaghan for the last couple of weeks that I needed to get my dissertation finished. Being with Murphy certainly helped me keep my sanity, most of the time anyway! If I didn’t have Murphy, I actually don’t think I’d be able to have finished my assignment on time. He is the best study support ever. I love him so much.