Teaching assistant and third-year PhD student in rhetoric and composition, Sara Strasser, got her dog from a rescue network. Strasser's dog name is Murphy and he is Great Pyrenees and golden retriever mix. Sara Strasser // Photo Provided
'Doofy' dog brings humor to teaching assistant
Editor's note: Teacher's Pet is a Ball State Daily News series featuring university faculty/staff and their pets. If you have any suggestions as to who we should feature next, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t be alarmed if you think you see a lion walking around campus. It’s probably just Murphy.
“I got him from a rescue network,” said Sara Strasser, a teaching assistant and third-year Ph.D. student in rhetoric and composition.
“They were all just giant little fluff balls in there, but he had the coolest color patterns on him, so I was like, ‘Ooh, I want that one,’" Strasser said.
Murphy is a Great Pyrenees and golden retriever mix, who usually walks Strasser around Ball State.
This large, fluffy dog has lived up to his reputation and also has a pretty strong personality.
“I tell people that his philosophy in life is, ‘If you can pet me, you can play with me.' Everyone’s always like, ‘Oh, he’s fluffy. He should be a cuddler.’ But no,” Strasser said. “He only wants to play all the time.”
Murphy is also a very stubborn pup. The two-year-old has found out how to use his size as an advantage.
“He’s very stubborn. If he doesn’t want to do something, he just falls down on the ground,” she said. “He knows he’s big enough that you can’t move him. So he’s got that independent streak to him.”
The only time he really does his ‘I’ve fallen and can’t get up’ routine is when he has to take a bath. Strasser said the job usually takes two people.
Murphy is also a big believer in playtime, but only on his time.
“He likes [exercise] when he wants to do it,” she said. “He loves playing fetch but he only does it so many times and then he’s like, ‘That’s enough.’ Sometimes I throw it and he looks at me like, “Really?’”
Strenuous exercise is also a no-go.
“Murphy doesn’t run. He kind of lopes, a gallopy-looking loaf, or prances because he’s got tiny feet for a big dog," she said. “He also thinks he’s a hunter. He’s not. Because he doesn’t run. There’s no way he could catch a squirrel.”
One of Strasser’s favorite stories about Murphy involves misplaced keys and a corn dog.
“I brought him to campus one night. And I left my keys in here and the door automatically locks," she said. "There was nobody else here and my office mate was gone. All I had was a corn dog. That’s all I had. I don’t know why. So I had to call campus security and ask them to come unlock my office because my dog was locked in there. And he kept barking so I was feeding him corn dogs under the door so he wouldn’t bark.”
This boisterous ball of fur may be stubborn and hard to handle, but Strasser wouldn’t have it any other way.
“He’s a total goofball. I often refer to him as like a doofus. Like he’s my big doofy dog," she said. “But I wanted a big, lazy, doofy dog and that’s what I got.”