A most beloved Murphy family member is gone. Fiona was our “Sweet Fi(Fee)” We adopted this little then-feisty Cairne Terrier on 7/7/7. As we were driving her home, Rick, Conor and I were tossing potential names around. I thought “Lucky” would be an appropriate name, but as the boys groaned, that turned out not to be an option. So, I came up with Fiona. Not the Fiona from Shrek, but the name of Conor Larkin’s mother in Leon Uris’ novel, Trinity. You see our Conor was named after Uris’ Irish hero, Conor. So how perfect. (Re-reading Trinity recently, I realized that the mother’s name was actually Finola…oops.) Either way, the name suited her.

As Fi turned a year old, we came very close to losing her to a liver disease, that resulted in a long hospital stay and 13 years of multiple meds. To make the unpleasant task of giving (and receiving) daily meds, Rick discovered “Hammy”. Rolling the pills into a piece of thinly sliced ham became a much anticipated pre-dinner treat for Fi. Those meds kept her healthy for 13 years!

To Fiona, Rick and I were her mom and dad, but Conor was her litter mate. You could literally name the story of Fiona’s life, ‘A Boy and his Dog’. Fi was his buddy, and he was hers. Our massive Pachysandra patch was her playpen where she would sit for hours, most times sniffing around for mice. The sight and sound of the hose made her chase the water spray with such joy, and the mere sight of a squirrel made that short-legged little pup run! I always wondered what she would do if she ever caught up to that pesky squirrel.

Our little sweetie was right there by our sides in joyous times and tough times. Even as she was slowing down with arthritis (the hose and the neighborhood bunny were no longer cool), and multiple underlying issues, she was there…just so happy to see you come through the door or oh so eager to take a R I D E.

Last Saturday, sipping my morning coffee with Fi at my side, she looked at me with her head cocked in a strange way. Something was very wrong. A seizure, a stroke of some kind. It was her time.

I can’t remember the last time we cried so hard. Our hearts are broken.

It’s been a few days, and our river house is so quiet. So many dear friends and family have been there for us, and remind us of just how “lucky” we were to have her in our family for as long as we did.

We love you Fiona.

Nora xo


  1. Cea on August 17, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    Our “ Fiona” was Humphrey Bogart ( Bogey) and, interestingly, they looked very similar… terrier breed. Bogey was a rescue who was ill, from the moment we found him until he ultimately died at 15 of liver cancer. He had so many gut issues. When he would arch his back in pain, I would lie next to him and chant “ Om” which always relaxed him. That look in his eyes, the day the movers came to take us to our new house, was” it’s time…. I’m bleeding out.” That was 16 yrs. ago and we have since put 4 more dogs down but Bogey and I are still so close in my heart. After he left us, I came home and was such a mess. I called a friend who is a renowned Animal Communicator and could barely breathe. She asked me “ where are you and what do you see?” I was inside of our enclosed patio and saw a Cardinal on my flowers. She said” Bogey wants me to tell you that everytime you see a Cardinal from this time forward, it is him, looking in on you, telling you how much he loves you. He was so sick and so tired… he had to leave and rest.” She also said that our fur angels come into our lives to help us get thru our journeys
    and when their jobs are done and they know we are safe, they leave. Every time I see a Cardinal, I tell Bogey thank you for visiting…. how much I love him and I know…. we will be together again….

  2. Casey Devine on August 17, 2021 at 1:19 pm

    Tearing up and crying for you and your family and for all the pets we’ve loved and lost over the years. So hard, but it will get a little easier to bear over time. I still cry over the loss of some favorites, but not every day now. Let the tears roll and be gentle with yourselves.

    • Mary on August 17, 2021 at 11:48 pm

      I love that dog. I remember the day. And that scrappy litter. It’s hard. She was special.😢❤️ Xomary

  3. Barbara Truell on August 17, 2021 at 1:52 pm

    Nora, this was a wonderful tribute to little Fiona and I’m sure it was difficult to write. The unbridled happiness dogs have just to see us walk through the door never ceases to amaze me. They are certainly God’s little bundles of love. My heart aches for you all as I know that pain but I also know, that after some time, the pain turns into happy memories that you will remember with a smile. Fiona was luck to have you all!

  4. Lisa on August 17, 2021 at 2:13 pm

    So very sorry for your loss.

  5. creekside1978 on August 17, 2021 at 2:38 pm

    What a beloved dog she was! One lucky dog to end up with such love . . .Fiona was your family and she will be forever treasured. We recently lost our little lab mix – at 16 1/2 years. He was found in a dumpster as a tiny pup – screaming his head off! *and this dog was a quiet boy. What a joy he was – smartest dog we ever had. And you are SO right – the house hasn’t been the same – even after three months. At one time we had nine rescue dogs – and now we have just one – and one cat. We miss all of our life dogs every day – it’s just the way it is. I’m so happy your family’s life was so enriched by a tiny fluff of fur . . .

  6. June Fisher on August 17, 2021 at 2:50 pm

    Nora. They bring such joy and tender feelings. When they leave, the lessons we’ve learned from them stay. We are kinder. We’ve learned how deep that unconditional love reaches. It prepares us to love again and appreciate how precious our time with them is. Right now the hurt is real. Sob your heart out. It will love again. The next angel awaits. In time, Fiona’s memory will always make you grateful that she gave you so much.

  7. teddeegrace on August 17, 2021 at 3:44 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Please accept my condolences. Losing a pet is such a painful experience. She sounds as if she was such a wonderful part of your family.

  8. Linda Koterba on August 17, 2021 at 4:08 pm

    Dear Nora,
    Animals have a way of teaching us about loving, loyalty, joy and friendship. Those memories you have about Fiona will never be lost because she occupies a special place in your heart.
    Linda K.

  9. Jane W. on August 17, 2021 at 4:34 pm

    Losing our fur babies is never easy. I hope all the happy memories you have of her give you comfort. She was as cute as a button!❤️

  10. Crystal on August 17, 2021 at 4:37 pm

    Oh so very sorry for your loss of sweet Fi. I know this pain too well. I have no words of wisdom, or even comfort. The path of grief is a solitary walk, even if you are surrounded by others. We walk it at our own pace and never quite reach the end. But we do rediscover peace along the way. Rest Fiona, no more discomfort.

  11. romanticgardener on August 17, 2021 at 4:44 pm

    I am so sorry you lost your sweet Fiona. Animals occupy a special place in our hearts. They are amazing. They give so much, and ask for so little. Please consider adopting another animal. It would never be a replacement for Fiona, but would be the next best thing – for you and for the animal.

  12. Christine Parker on August 17, 2021 at 5:08 pm

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. Losing a fur baby is literally heartbreaking. Our “girls” crossed rainbow bridge within a year of each other, in between my in laws passed, devastating time for our family. They were with us for every holiday, every day trip to Long Island, Connecticut or New Jersey. Nikki ate a whole pecan pie 2 days before Thanksgiving while with us on one of those day trips shopping. I still laugh, then tears come. Jessie.. our baby girl, guardian of the house from squirrels.. she had some personality. Nora, they leave paw prints on our hearts, memories that will stay with us till we see them on the other side of the rainbow, you will walk with her again. Until then, she remains in your heart. Sending you hugs and prayers.. 💔🌈🐶

  13. Renee on August 17, 2021 at 5:28 pm

    It is so very hard. We are coming up on the second anniversary of losing our beloved little pup. She had congestive heart failure (like my dad – he used to laugh about it!). We did the same thing with a bit of ham to wrap the pills in. There is just nothing like the love of a dog! My heart hurts for you because I know how sad and hard it is.

  14. Kathy on August 17, 2021 at 5:28 pm

    I understand this kind of special love and also the great loss..we lost our beloved Sugar three years ago and my heart still aches for her! I wrote this quote on my kitchen chalk board then and it still remains there today..”Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.” I’m so sorry for your loss. Kathy

  15. Mary Jo Marcely on August 17, 2021 at 5:42 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to your special girl. Sending you all a giant hug ♥️

  16. Gayle on August 17, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    We have a hospice vet coming tonight at 7:30 for our sweet boy. I feel your pain, I can’t imagine home with him.

  17. Kathy Bunge on August 17, 2021 at 6:27 pm

    Oh, Nora, this is such a beautiful tribute to your dear Fiona! I always loved her name as when I first started my collection of English Mantle Dogs, I named each one & one of my early favorites was Fiona!! So your little Fi always had a special place in my heart. I am sending you & your family hugs & so much love at this sad time. I hope when the hurt subsides, you will be comforted by all the special memories you have of her. Please take care.

  18. Diane on August 17, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your beautiful Fiona. Dogs become so much a part of our lives it is very painful to say goodbye. We were blessed to be caretakers of four Cairn terriers. The first one was caught in a muskrat trap at age five. I cried for days. Our other Cairns lived for 10, 12 and 13 years. It is never long enough. My friend once said if you were offered the choice of a million dollars or your dog living as long as you, what would you choose. That is of course a foolish question. I hope you find it in your heart to give another dog a loving home. It will be good for both of you.

  19. Karen B. on August 17, 2021 at 8:13 pm

    I’m so sorry for you and family. There’s nothing better than a furry family member. Your little Fiona sounds like she was the best.

  20. Ruth Gardner Lamere on August 17, 2021 at 10:08 pm

    Oh, Nora, I am sorry beyond words for the loss of your sweet little Fiona. What a happy life she had with your lovely family. I cannot imagine your house without a little canine pal, or two, and I am sure, in time, you will feel the same again. I am thinking of you three with love and understanding. Been there too many sad times. (P.S. Just as an aside: The “new” four month old Cavalier King Charles puppy that now resides with my family, in addition to “Archie,” our four year old Cavalier, was SUPPOSED to be named “Fiona,” (my initial choice right after she was born) but because she and her littermates were born on Good Friday she became “Jelly Bean,” but we call her “Jelly.” Not as elegant as Fiona, but appropriate for this little feisty bundle of fur.

  21. Susan N. on August 18, 2021 at 8:29 am

    Nora, I am so sorry for the loss of your precious Fiona. My fur baby is also a Cairn, named Lucy, and she is the absolute sweetest dog I have ever met. I can only imagine how difficult it was to say goodbye to your little angel. In time, I hope you and your family become Cairn caretakers again, they bring so much joy to everyone they meet!

  22. Martha Spiegel on August 18, 2021 at 5:44 pm

    I’m so very sorry for your loss Nora. She sounds like a special little lady. We lost two of our wonderful dogs a couple of years ago – it is heartbreaking. I think of them everyday and it brings comfort. We have 2 new pups who certainly will never replace but do bring joy. My heart goes out to you.

  23. Alice Genzlinger on August 18, 2021 at 9:04 pm

    I believe Fiona is in heaven running around chasing bunnies and squirrels. Did you know there are horses in heaven? The Bible says so! So if there are horses in heaven I know my Nikki is there waiting for me and my Moses and Humble Pie. My heart breaks for you. I still get teary-eyed just thinking of them.

  24. Cindy Sloan on August 19, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    I so know what you are going through. Our Sophie was a black lab/golden retriever mix. We had her for 14 and a half years,(long time for a larger dog) She was such a smart,loyal loving dog.-great with our grandkids, When they were little and they were crawling all over her,when she had enough,she very gently just walked away…never ever nipped even at the end when she was in pain. Last year,the end of July,we knew it was time. i think she would have stayed with us,no matter what.We were her people! But we didn’t want her in pain. My husband,two of our grandchildren and I helped her cross the Rainbow Bridge. She was cremated,buried in a flower garden with a special stone made for her and a cross that Liam,,our grandson made. We had a celebration of her life. i have had lots of pets in my life,but never have i grieved so strongly,so much. I had not been petless in,well never…I ached for another. We eventually did get another dog,a yellow lab,Zoey. She has helped to ease the ache in our hearts over losing Sophie. She is her own unique personality,makes me laugh,sits like a person and wants to hold your hand with her paw.The one important way that she is just like Sophie,so loving! But Sophie will always be in our hearts. Blessings to you and your family.

  25. Donna M Solomons on August 20, 2021 at 7:06 am

    What a beautiful tribute to a special dog. So sorry for your loss Nora – Fi will truly be missed. xoxo

  26. Faith on September 19, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    Such a big loss – they have such big personalities. Very sorry , she looked so sweet.

  27. Dorothy cogswell on April 18, 2022 at 3:47 pm

    Last August we lost our 4 legged baby Bordeaux we’ve not recovered yet probably never will. I know how horrible this is

  28. Louise on September 6, 2022 at 12:57 pm

    My deepest condolences extend to you and your family. Losing a pet is extremely difficult. 💔🥲

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