Today I met Mr. Murphy and his dog Ginger Murphy, an English golden and cocker spaniel mix. I talked with Mr. Murphy — or rather he talked to me — for a half hour mostly about Ginger, how he checks her paws “pads” for stones, how he takes her for daily walks on the UCC campus and she has a “fan club,” how she’s 10 and half or 73/74 in “dog” years — the same age as him.
They say you start to look like your dog, and Mr. Murphy bear a resemblance to Ginger, droopy eyes, wrinkles, and decayed teeth. As he talks to me, Mr. Murphy stands close and as he continues, even closer. By the end of conversation, he is almost at my face. Ginger has collapsed on the sidewalk, eager to rest on this unusually warm and sunny day in Cork.
Mr. Murphy insists that I give Ginger some treats, a few kibbles of dog food and Ginger takes the bits out of my palm with her soft tongue.
This is when I think of Belle, my English Springer Spaniel I left at home for five weeks while I came here to study. Mr. Murphy says that Ginger has many friends, all students who have dogs at home, mostly female — it’s clear Mr. Murphy likes the attention too. Ginger is the center of my attention — as I keep looking down at her as Mr. Murphy gabs away.
“Ginger Murphy,” he says. And her ears perk up, and they walk into the busy day.