‘Catching Murphy’: The Wild, Wonderful Tale Of A Dog On The Lam

Sep 14, 2018

In early 2016, a collective sigh of relief could be heard from the town of Waterbury when Murphy the Dog was caught and returned to its owners. For a year and a half, the community pulled together in an effort to find this amazing golden retriever. His odyssey is now an e-book called Catching Murphy, written by long-time Associated Press reporter Wilson Ring.

Ring recently sat down with VPR's Bob Kinzel to explain how, instead of covering this story, he became a key part of it.

"Fate happens sometimes," Ring said.

"It was Dec. 7, 2014. I looked out the back window of my house in Waterbury and there is this golden retirever. And I knew there was a golden retriever missing. He had been on Front Porch Forum regularly. And I immediately knew that that was the dog I was seeing."

Murphy's odyssey began in June, 2014 when a car crash involving his owner, Krisin Campbell of Morristown, occurred in Stowe. When Campbell opened the car door, the dog took off.

"It's not unusual for dogs to go missing after a traumatic event," Ring noted. "But when they do go missing, usually after a few days they will, for whatever reason, want to come in from the cold and allow themselves to be caught."

Alas, not Murphy.

As the community of Waterbury pulled together to find the wandering pooch, numerous sightings were reported. "You could say he wasn't really lost because we knew, sort of, where he was," Ring said. "It's just, you couldn't catch him."

A trap was created and placed in Ring's back field and Murphy was caught. But he chewed his way through the wire of the trap and got out. Another time, the door to the trap froze open.

But in February 2016, Murphy was in the trap again. He was removed from it, and became a family pet once again.

Broadcast live on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.