When Murdock was rescued in the summer of 2014 from a dog fighting operation, he had visible scars, a torn ear, and a damaged left eye. Still, when Murdock sees people, his face breaks into a bright, goofy smile. Despite having been abused and most likely used as a bait dog—a defenseless dog who is repeatedly attacked in order to test the fighting skills of other dogs—Murdock showers his handlers and volunteers at Last Hope Animal Rescue with love and kisses. What he wants most of all is a home and a family to call his own.
After he was saved from the ring, where his teeth had been filed down to render him incapable of defending himself and where his mouth was probably also taped shut, Murdock was held as evidence in an ongoing animal cruelty case, meaning that for eight months, he was housed in isolation and was unable to have contact with the volunteers at the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter, where he was then living. After the case was settled and his owner was jailed, Murdock was able to experience kindness for the first time. He bonded immediately with the staff and volunteers at Hempstead, who still visit him and maintain the Facebook page Adopt Murdock. After he was unable to find a home at Hempstead, Murdock was transferred to Last Hope, where he lives today. He is estimated to be about eight years old.
In the words of Last Hope volunteer John Esposito, Murdock is “a very spiritual animal.” Few souls, he suggests, are able to endure what Murdock did and go on to be gentle-hearted, but Murdock truly is one of a kind. Sometimes, says Esposito, he watches as Murdock stares into the distance, and he wonders what goes through the dog’s mind as he looks out at the world. At these times, he’ll talk softly to Murdock; “I want him to feel like nothing bad is going to happen to him,” explains the volunteer, and Murdock responds to his kindness by laying down and welcoming a scratch or a hug.
What makes Murdock so special is his abounding love; BarkPost’s Zoe Costello met him while he was at Hempstead and played with him on the lawn. Thinking about Murdock’s past, she burst into tears, only to have Murdock lick them away. “He plopped down in my lap like a giant sausage and just started giving me the same affection and attention I was giving him earlier,” says Costello, adding “There’s light and loving energy that emanates out of him.” Her mind returns often to Murdock and his sweet disposition: “He deserves so much love,” she says.
One of Murdock’s favorite pastimes is rolling around outside on his back; according to Esposito, “he can wiggle around 10 feet or more” upside down on the grass. He also loves playing with plush toys, ripping their stuffing out, and rolling about with his rope toys. All Murdock needs to be blissfully happy, says the volunteer, is to relax in the shade; “before I go in to get him, I like to lay out a blanket under a tree, fill up a bowl of fresh water, and get a toy ready,” notes Esposito.
Putting Murdock back into his metal kennel, where he’s lived behind bars for more than a year, is always painful. Murdock is tender and sweet and grows quite attached to those who care for him. He doesn’t like when the time comes for him to go back inside and his friends to go home; when he knows a volunteer wants to take him back, he plops down on the ground in protestation. He looks after them each time they leave. From Murdock, Esposito explains that he’s learned that love can conquer cruelty.
Murdock takes life in at a leisurely pace and relishes nothing more than lounging about with people who love him. He enjoys laying in the sun and receiving belly rubs, and in turn, he will make the perfect companion animal to a person or family looking for a friend. Because of the trauma he’s endured, Murdock needs to be in a home without other pets, a place where he can live out the rest of his life without fear. Murdock is still looking for his special person to play with during the day and to snuggle at night, someone who won’t mind his soft, sweet snoring as he drifts off to sleep. “None of us will rest until we get Murdock the home he deserves,” concludes Esposito.
If you think you might be the person for Murdock, or if you know someone who is, please spread the word and share his story. Murdock is waiting for his forever at Last Hope Animal Rescue at 3300 Beltagh Avenue in Wantagh, NY. You can contact the rescue at 631-425-1884 or [email protected]. Last Hope is an amazing volunteer-based organization dedicating to helping animals in need. Please consider donating here.