In the heartrending story of Murray and his three Weimaraner siblings, their journey began on Dead Dog Beach, a notorious stretch of sand in Puerto Rico where unwanted dogs are callously discarded. These innocent pups, just a few weeks old at the time, were already showing signs of distemper, a devastating infection that attacks a dog’s nervous system.
Christina Beckles, the founder and president of The Sato Project, a charitable organization dedicated to rescuing stray dogs in Puerto Rico, recounted the harrowing experience. “I held Murray on the examination table, cradling him close, when I noticed a click in his jaw—a symptom of distemper,” she revealed. “At that point, there was no known cure. Seizures and brain damage often follow.”
In a heartbreaking decision, Murray’s life was initially deemed to be beyond saving, prompting Beckles and the veterinarian to contemplate euthanasia as a compassionate option. However, when the moment arrived, the vet had a change of heart.
Beckles recounted the scene, saying, “She carried him to the table, and he wagged his tail, but she couldn’t.”
Murray’s chances of survival were slim, as one of his sisters had already succumbed to the illness. According to Cathy Meeks, a board-certified veterinarian at BluePearl Veterinary Hospital in Tampa,
Florida, around 80 percent of puppies infected with distemper do not survive. Vaccination is the best preventive measure, but Murray and his siblings had not received any vaccinations during their time as strays.
Despite his lingering health issues, including mild seizures and a misshapen skull caused by the distemper, Murray responded positively to treatment. Mackenzie Gallant, Murray’s adoptive mother, shared that his once symmetrical face now bore a slight crookedness, with his skull appearing somewhat flattened.
Due to gum disease and tooth decay, a significant number of Murray’s teeth had to be extracted, leaving his tongue partially exposed. However, none of these physical imperfections mattered to Gallant and her family, which consisted of her parents, Kristina and Dennis,
her siblings Wesley and Eli, two rescue dogs named Pili and Fox, and their cat, Daphne. They welcomed Murray into their foster care in November 2013, and by the following month, just before Christmas, they officially adopted him as a cherished member of their family.
“He’s my favorite dog,” Gallant affectionately declared. “I adore him. He sleeps in my room every night.”
In 2016, when Gallant left for college, she still maintained a strong connection with Murray, often communicating with him through FaceTime. She explained, “It was difficult leaving all of my animals, but Murray holds a special place in my heart.”
Even now, Murray continues to sleep in Gallant’s bedroom, and they frequently engage in virtual visits. Gallant added, “He still comes into my room when I’m at school, with his own pillow and blanket. He understands the words too. When you tell Murray it’s bedtime, he eagerly rushes up to my room.”
Whenever she is at home, Gallant devotes as much time as possible to Murray, relishing their favorite activity—taking long walks with Fox and Pili. Gallant shared, “He absolutely loves going on hikes. It’s the highlight of our day, for all three of our pets. When we ask, ‘Do you want to go for a walk?’ everyone starts running. If one of my dogs starts howling, Murray joins in.”
Gallant continued, “He’s thriving and always exudes happiness. He adores both dogs and people alike.”
Despite the passage of four years since Murray’s rescue, Beckles fondly remembers him and is overjoyed that he found the perfect home. She noted that Murray “seems different from the others,” but not in a negative sense. He still enjoys hiking and going for walks, receiving the same love and care as the rest of the dogs.
Beckles concluded, “Kristina and her family, from the very beginning, have been exceptional. I couldn’t have asked for a better place for him.”