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Tag: one eyed dog

Survivor: One-eyed dog keeps looking forward

kennedyIn December 2008, Robert Kennedy spotted a blue towel in the weeds of  Murphey Candler Park in DeKalb County, outside of Atlanta.

Upon closer inspection, he found a dog underneath it, one whose head had been badly beaten. An investigation would later determine the dog, named Austin at the time, had been bashed in the head twice with a sledgehammer. His owner, Joe Waters would later be arrested.

The case led to international headlines, and an outpouring of support.

Today, Murphy, as he was renamed — after the park — belongs officially to Kennedy. The 9-year-old Australian shepherd mix has only one eye, and a dented head, but he’s managed to teach Kennedy volumes.

As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution put it, “Murphy is far more focused on what lies ahead, not what is behind him.”

“I hope if I ever have any challenges, I can recover like him,” Kennedy said. “I take my cues from Murphy, and he has forgotten all about it.”

Kennedy, who found Murphy on his 60th birthday, took him to the closest veterinarian he could find. Stephen Pope, the medical director at VCA Pets Are People Too in Dunwoody, performed surgery to repair the skull and jaw fractures and to remove the damaged left eye. Eight days and $10,000 worth of care later, Murphy was released into Kennedy’s custody.

The dog suffered no long-term neurological damage and behaves much like any other dog, compensating only with the occasional cocked head to use his good eye. Under Kennedy’s care, Murphy’s weight has gone from 38 to 53 pounds.

Kennedy set up a trust fund for the dog’s care after offers to help poured in from 30 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. He raised $38,000 — money that will last throughout Murphy’s life and then go to nonprofit pet rescue groups.

The dog’s previous owner was convicted of a felony and two misdemeanors. He says he thought his pet had been poisoned and was attempting to mercifully kill it. He was sentenced to one year in jail.

Immediately after the ruling, a prosecutor presented Kennedy with notarized papers, declaring Murphy was his.

“He couldn’t be happier with life,” Kennedy said. “My wish for everybody is to have room in their heart to take a dog into their home and know that kind of happiness.”

(Photo: Vino Wong /Atlanta Journal-Constitution)