Cheyeanne Murphy’s dogs may not have literally saved her life, but she believes they have kept her from going down a dark path and have made her life much more worthwhile.
Cheyeanne’s mother died about ten years ago. She was a young and seemingly healthy woman who was diagnosed with cancer one day and died a few months later.
“When my mom got diagnosed, I was definitely on a different path in life,” Cheyeanne says. “I had a business that required me to work far too many hours.” I was living someone else’s dream that wasn’t mine, and I thought I had to because that’s what I’d been taught my entire life: make money. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer, I realised how quickly life can change in a single day. You are not promised a specific amount of time. You are not assured anything.”
She says, “It sometimes comes across as horrible to people, but I always say my mom’s death was the best thing and the worst thing that ever happened to me, because it forced a very young me to live extremely presently.”
And so, with the support of her beloved dogs – Cash (now gone) and subsequently Notorious and Shady – Cheyeanne eventually found her way out of the dark place she was in and began learning to live again.
“I changed careers. I relocated. I ended a long-term relationship. And I spent a full year ‘deconstructing the onion,’ determining who I was as a person, what I wanted out of life, and where I wanted my life to go. I wanted to be happy and to make other people happy. And I honestly believe that with every fibre of my being.”
“They had this little tiny dog, not more than a year old, running around in the snow with no use of her back legs, and she was just doing flips and circles and making this high-pitched squeal, and I just fell in love.” I’ve never seen a dog with greater zeal and firepower.”
After her mom died, Cheyeanne’s first rescue pet was Notorious, who also happened to be her first pet with a disability. Her sister sent her a link to the puppy on Facebook, and she fell in love at first sight.
Cheyeanne was first hesitant to accept the dog because she had never worked with special needs animals before. She was aware that this pet had limited use of her hind legs and bladder control, yet she couldn’t take her mind off the dog. So she applied for adoption and received her child a few months later.
Notorious, a new dog, has arrived in Spokane, Washington. Even though she’s probably nine or ten years old, Notorious is still happy and energetic, and she enjoys running 5Ks in her wheelchair.
“She’s barreling down the hill as soon as I let her off the leash, and she’s got no fear of anything.” So she takes the initiative, and I simply follow. “She has no idea she’s disabled, and I’m not going to tell her,” Cheyeanne chuckles.
Shady, Cheyeanne’s other dog, was similarly love at first sight, albeit in a different way. Most shelter pets require time to adjust to their new owners and lives, but Shady understood how to trust and love everyone right away, and she took to Cheyeanne right away. Cheyeanne, for one, was eager to adopt another “unadoptable” rescue, but the adorable Shady didn’t seem like the right fit at first.
“When I first saw Shady, she was really adorable. I told the people at the rescue, ‘I don’t need to adopt this dog.’ She was a hug and a love, and her little white tail was wagging. This dog will find a home. This is not a difficult dog to find. And they informed me, regrettably, that she’s a special needs dog, and she’ll be more difficult to adopt because people prefer animals that have a purpose.”
After being hit by a car and losing both of her eyes, Shady’s previous owners submitted her to a veterinarian. Vets attempted to reattach the eyes, but only one remained, and Shady has very little vision in that eye. Shady was also classified as a senior dog, which made her less adoptable.
Cheyeanne made the decision to adopt Shady, and she’s delighted she did. “She’s one of the most easygoing dogs I’ve ever had.” She simply adjusted to everything. She adores men, women, children, dogs, and cats. She’s simply a chameleon. She adores everyone.”
Cheyeanne usually names her dogs after musicians because music is such an important part of her life. Cash is named after Johnny Cash, Notorious after The Notorious B.I.G., and Shady after Slim Shady (Eminem).
“I don’t believe in a linear life, and music has been there for me during those downs, and it’s made me realise that I’m not the only one going through certain things.” Cheyeanne describes it as “one of my everyday staples.” “I named [the dogs] after [music] icons, and I always told them they’d be icons.” It doesn’t matter where you start in life; what counts is where you end up.”
And, without a doubt, these senior dogs are finishing strong by giving Cheyeanne’s life meaning and purpose while also impacting the lives of others.
Of course, as expected, owning disabled rescue dogs has presented its own set of obstacles. Notorious frequently loses bladder control and urinates on the floor. Shady must be continually observed, especially when she is near water, because she can swim but has no sense of direction. Because the two are such a significant responsibility, it’s often difficult to locate dog-sitters when Cheyeanne travels.
However, there are certain perks that make up for the difficulties, including some tiny things you might not have thought of. “They can’t jump on the furniture, which is awesome,” Cheyeanne explains.
Cheyeanne’s faithful companions on many outdoor trips have been Notorious and Shady. They enjoy paddleboarding, hiking, 5k (and even 10k) races (with Shady in a backpack), and other activities. The dogs enjoy meeting new people and witnessing animals.
Most importantly, Notorious and Shady remind Cheyeanne that life is worth living and that the small moments of pleasure are sometimes the most significant.
“These dogs, they wake up every single day happy, and it dug me out of a really dark place to see them wake up and be happy,” says Cheyeanne. “They offered me something positive to focus on. They have every reason to be angry with the world. They have every reason to be upset with people, yet they aren’t. And that inspires me tremendously.”
Cheyeanne hopes that people who read her tale will be inspired to adopt rescue pets, particularly senior or disabled animals.
“They may require a little more effort.” However, everything that is work is worthwhile. Allow them a chance. I guarantee it will make your life better.”