CHOCTAW, Okla. — Kristi Graham burst into tears the first time she saw the emaciated dog she was getting ready to rescue — a large German shepherd who weighed only 38 pounds.
But now, thanks to expert veterinary care from BluePearl Veterinary Partners, plus the generosity of Becky and Barry Switzer and many contributors from around the country, the 2-year-old dog weighs more than 80 pounds and couldn’t be happier or friendlier.
“Before Murphy was treated at BluePearl her future was bleak, she was lifeless, hungry, sick, grumpy, and now she’s a completely different dog,” said Graham, who is a school teacher. “Now she’s full of life, she loves everyone she meets and she’s just amazing. We love her so much.”
Murphy was in an Oklahoma animal shelter earlier this year and likely to be euthanized when the Pets & People Humane Society in Yukon stepped in to rescue her. The group put out an appeal to its members and friends, looking for a permanent home.
That’s where the Switzers stepped in. Both are animal lovers and both are well-known for coaching. Barry Switzer coached the University of Oklahoma and the Dallas Cowboys to football championships, and Becky Switzer led Oklahoma to multiple conference championships in gymnastics.
The Switzers couldn’t take in another German shepherd. “Barry and I have six already so we really didn’t have room for another one,” Becky Switzer said. But she posted the news about Murphy on her Facebook page. Graham read it and decided she might want to adopt the dog.
Graham went to visit Murphy at Pets & People and “I just bawled,” after seeing how thin she was. She said she was told the dog previously had been neglected. When asked if she still wanted to adopt such an emaciated dog, Graham said, “Well I have to now, I can’t just leave her.”
She welcomed Murphy to her family, which includes her husband Jeremiah and their daughter, who is 9, and sons, who are 7 and 3.
But something was wrong. Murphy always stayed hungry and never put on weight. She had persistent diarrhea. And then late one night in March, “she started swaying back and forth and just collapsed,” Graham said.
When Graham went to her primary veterinary clinic the next day, the staff found Murphy was severely anemic. “They said the only place that could help her right now is BluePearl. They have the blood to give her a blood transfusion.”
As a specialty and emergency hospital, BluePearl is prepared for veterinary emergencies, and had the equipment and staff to properly diagnose complicated medical problems in pets.
At BluePearl in Oklahoma City, Murphy not only got a blood transfusion but also careful monitoring and other support. A test revealed Murphy has exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, or EPI, a condition in which the pancreas does not make enough enzymes to digest food.
Now Murphy gets supplemental enzymes which allow her to digest food and gain weight. She is loved by the whole family, even the Graham’s other dog Molly, a three-legged German shepherd mix.
“Murphy’s transformation has been incredible, and it’s wonderful to see she’s in a great home getting the love and care she deserves,” said Dr. Jeff Studer, medical director for BluePearl’s Oklahoma hospitals.
Graham said she’s grateful to the Switzers, who began a gofundme campaign to pay for the cost of Murphy’s care and promoted it on social media. “Their role with Murphy has been pure love, pure support… I couldn’t have done that without them,” Graham said.