The Appraiser’s Diary: Toothless Murray

Rachel G. HoffmanDuring the last week of November, I found myself near the Foothills Animal Shelter in Golden, Colorado. I had no plans to see any dogs up for adoption that day but decided to walk through. It was very nostalgic for me. As a child, I remember going to the local shelter to adopt several dogs throughout my childhood that turned into wonderful family members. The display of hopeful dogs ended in the ‘senior’ department that was empty except for a tiny toy poodle in a plaid coat. He had a note on his cage that he was 11 years old and had no teeth – not one. He looked brave, sweet, and hopeful.


    I found myself going back up the front of the shelter to inquire about the senior toothless dog in the window. When I asked, the volunteers at the front were elated that I was interested in him. They told me he has come in stray and they held him for several weeks waiting for an owner to claim him. He had long hair, and they thought perhaps his owner passed away which is what often happens with older small dogs. We went into the bonding room. I sat on the floor with Murray who wagged his tail and was content to be curled up on my lap. I thought about what a survivor he was. The sheer fact that he survived on the streets considering his delicate size. Smaller than a cantaloupe and his legs reminding me of spaghetti noodles, Murray immediately was so relieved to be in someone’s arms. I wondered considering his size and having not one tooth that if I didn’t adopt him if someone would.


image2    I walked back up to the front desk and said that I would like to take Murray home. He was content to sit in my purse while I filled out the paperwork and paid the special $25.00 adoption fee for a senior dog. What a bargain! Murray has been right at home helping in the antique doll shop on South Broadway and is on his way to being a BFF with my other adopted senior dog, Peyton. When I am at home, and I get the feeling that someone is staring at me, it’s always Murray. He stares at me with intense gratitude as if he knew his situation and he can’t believe his good fortune.


    Murray is like adopting an antique into your home. He came with a ‘patina,’ and a strong personality – much like a beautiful piece of old silver or a European chest. Having something in your home with a history and time-worn charm is gratifying. In this season of giving and receiving, I urge you to shop locally for yourself and for others. You may not know it but there are many antique and vintage shops that are brimming with Murray’s, and many of them might only cost you just $25.00.


image1To learn more about Rachel Hoffman’s appraisal practice, visit To visit Murray, come on into Turn of the Century Antiques on South Broadway in Denver during open house. Merry Christmas!

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