Sturgis/Murphy/Asher was 8 months old when he was surrendered to WIN. Pat Simrell did a great job getting him WURLed to New Jersey. This little guy had been harassing the youngest of the three kids in his family and it was decided that he be placed in adult home. We met him in New Jersey for the first time and he was full of wheaten kisses and enthusiasm.

Murphy gave Zoe a real run for her money when he learned and excelled at her personal game of loony circles run in the back yard. The first two days he was here he was a little slow of foot, but soon developed speed and stamina and could outrun and outdo Zoe at her own game. We began to teach him basic obedience commands and used a clicker to keep him interested. He loved to learn and loved his training sessions. Learning some boundaries to his behavior helped him mature and control his impulsive behaviors.

This little guy was the happiest dog in the world. He loved to play with squeaky toys and we sent several on his way with him. We have learned that he has become a great companion to his new owners. They couldn’t wait to take him shopping for toys. He was renamed Asher, which means blessed or lucky in Hebrew. He was indeed both blessed and lucky to have had Pat Simrell as his champion.
More good luck and good wishes to a wonderful WIN puppy from his foster home in NJ.

Jean Kuhn

Asher Update – July 2003
As I write this, Asher is lying sound asleep, sprawled next to me, all four paws in the air. I watch him sleep peacefully, calmly, trusting in his surroundings, and I simply smile. Asher is a true WIN success story! Over a year ago (May 2002), he joined my mom, our 12-year-old Wheaten, Winnifred T. Everlasting (“Winnie”), and myself as the newest member of our family.

With generous and loving help from both our local Wheaten-lover, Betsy Geertson, those who keep WIN running, and those who transported, fostered, and loved Sturgis/Murphy he found his way to our home and into our hearts. As Winnie has aged she has become “little miss independent”! I longed for a dog that would be my constant companion, keeping me company on my days homebound due to chronic illness.
In the midst of one of my worst relapses since becoming sick five years ago, Betsy Geertson called to say a puppy named Sturgis was available for adoption. We were first on the list to adopt an 8-month old bundle of energy! I was so sick; I couldn’t imagine how we could handle another dog at that time. My mom however, took a HUGE leap of faith. She printed Sturgis’ pictures off of the web. We spoke with Jean Kuhn, his foster mom, who had renamed him Murphy, and she approved us to be his new family.

When I felt sad or unbearably miserable, I would just hold the 8 ½” x 11” piece of paper with teeny-tiny black-and-white pictures printed off of the web of Murphy. I would imagine the life and joy of a new puppy—and pray that I would be able to enjoy and love him! I also knew he needed a new name…one to capture the essence of this new dog, his new life, and the symbolic nature of bringing a puppy in to my life at such a time of sickness.

On May 6, 2002, despite how miserable I felt, I was determined to meet Murphy as soon as possible! So, Mom, Winnie, and I drove to meet Murphy on “neutral” territory. As soon as I saw him, I knew his name must be Asher—I was sure immediately. Both physically and spiritually the name fit perfectly. Asher means “lucky, blessed and happy” in Hebrew—and this was one happy dog! And lucky and blessed on his journey all the way through the WIN process—lucky to be alive sharing his love rather than in a shelter or worse. The little bit of ash colored hair on his beard gave physical meaning to the name too. Not only was he lucky and blessed but so were we…something we had yet to learn in even more depth!

So, we brought our new Wheaten home—Asher Noam (meaning “sweet friend” in Hebrew). He was perfect already. After so much moving around and transferring (as well as whatever may have happened before he made it to WIN), Asher was full of anxiety—he gulped his food as if he may never get fed again and suffered separation anxiety if we were not in his sight at all times. We called him our “vilde chai”—wild child in Hebrew—because he was so full of energy. Thankfully, he was less wild than he might have been due to Jean Kuhn’s vigilance and commitment to training him during his stay with her.

Now after a year here with us, Asher knows he is here to stay. He is crazy about any toy that squeaks, grunts or rattles or that he can “un-stuff.” He loves to play, go on “Wheaten tears,” go for rides, and catch the water as it shoots out of the sprinkler. We look at him and wonder how anyone could have given up such a handsome, loving, affectionate, energetic, silly dog!

In the past year Asher has brought me continuous joy, hope, love and companionship. He was truly the perfect dog for us. No matter how sick I am feeling he can always make me smile or laugh or comfort me with his kisses and companionship. Asher Noam is my blessing, my sweet friend, my cuddle-bug, my love-bug, my vilde chai. I hope that we are a blessing to him too.

We are indebted to WIN and to Betsy and to Jean—who’s loving hearts make sure that the gifts that dogs like Asher hold are not lost. Asher and I say THANK YOU! And, now he is curled up next to my bed, still sound asleep…aaah to have that life! And so I say goodnight to my little blessing, Asher, until I wake tomorrow morning to enthusiastic kisses.

Emily Steffensmeier