Losing a friend is like losing a part of you, especially when you’ve dedicated a large portion of your life to ensuring their happiness, keeping them safe, and tolerating their snoring as you snuggle in bed.
That being said, it is a heady and powerful thing to be able to share that grief with over 100-thousand people who have also grown to love that sweet face. (And can only fantasize about how velvety that fur is.) We count ourselves as only a few of the thousands who are shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Murphy, the original Instagram Velvet Burrito, after an unexpected case of bloat.
I am devastated to let you all know that Murphy died unexpectedly last night from what the veterinarian thinks was a sudden case of bloat (a disorder where the GI spontaneously twists up causing a quick and immediate death); he was 7 and a half years old. We have declined a necropsy. I will write more later when I've calmed down. Thank you all for all the support you've shown us when we were dealing with the #BurritoWrangling issues, and if you are a new follower please don't ask me about his back story now, you can access the whole thing via the #BurritoWrangling tag (posts are numbered). Murphy had a wonderful life after his dad and I rescued him, and now he is no longer suffering from his debilitating anxiety and fear #RIPVelvetBurrito
Emma Schachner, an assistant professor of anatomy at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine and resounding advocate of positive reinforcement-based dog training, adopted Murphy alongside his human dad in 2010. She moved to Baton Rouge four years later, and adopted Velvet Burrito #2, a.k.a. Mila the Sausage-Shark.
The pair seemed to get along prior to Mila’s adoption, though at unpredictable moments Murphy would become uncomfortable and attack her. Their mom, refusing to give up on Murphy despite his behavioral issues, worked with an animal behaviorist and trainer, and ultimately became one herself.
She discovered that Murphy had both anxiety and resource guarding issues, and did everything possible over the years to keep them both as happy and anxiety-free as possible. Murphy had his moments of weakness, but made great strides in training. Mila was a puppy simply pleased to have a wrestling partner. When Murphy’s dad moved to Montana for work, supervising and training the pups became a second full-time job.
Unfortunately, after much effort and many cans of tripe food, she discovered the dogs could not coexist without palpable anxiety (or having to live in separate rooms). It was then that she made the heartbreakingly difficult decision to let Murphy live with his dad in Montana.
The pups flourished apart, and The Velvet Burritos’ thousands of Instagram followers still received updates on Murphy so many miles away. The dogs were confident and virtually stress-free, and the family was surrounded by support and well-wishes. They spent one year apart before Murphy passed, and it’s had an extraordinary effect on many of his fans.
Facebooker and Velvet Burrito-lover Catherine Stirton managed to put it perfectly into words:
We all loved Murphy and all his antics. Thank you mom for loving him too, unconditionally. He was special and thankfully he had special parents who loved him and understood his quirks. I’m so sorry for your loss….our loss.
We’ll miss the Bean Burrito with all our hearts. R.I.P., Murphy. Our thoughts are with his humans in their time of grief.
You can keep up with Mila’s adventures at @TheVelvetBurritos.