Murphy Mondays

10 January 2019

Murphy Mondays
by Jane Smith
Review by Michelle Shaw
Published by DriverWorks Ink
$13.95 978-1-927570-45-6

If you live in or around Saskatoon the chances are that you have already seen or heard about Murphy, the lovable brown and white English Springer Spaniel who spreads a little magic wherever he goes. Murphy is a St John Ambulance (SJA) Therapy Dog who regularly visits Royal University Hospital’s (RUH) Emergency Room as well as other care facilities around the city. He also sometimes visits the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Polytechnic and the Saskatoon airport.

Murphy holds the distinction of being the first SJA Therapy Dog to visit an emergency room in Canada. He was such a success at RUH and made such a significant difference to patients and staff that the program has since been expanded in Saskatoon, as well as emergency rooms in other parts of Canada. He was also one of the SJA dogs who visited the injured Humboldt Bronco hockey players and their families in hospital after their bus accident in April 2018.

Murphy and his handler/owner Jane Smith moved to Saskatoon from Nova Scotia in 2014. Jane’s youngest daughter Sarah George was the first to suggest that Murphy would make a good therapy dog. After extensive training, Jane and Murphy began visiting Royal University Hospital Emergency Room in Saskatoon in the fall of 2015. Today Murphy and Jane regularly visit children and adult patients and their families in the RUH Emergency Room and the visits have also proved hugely beneficial to the staff. The days Murphy visits have become known as Murphy Mondays.

The book gave me such a feeling of hope and happiness, especially because it’s based on a true story. Although it is primarily a children’s book, I think it’s a real collector’s item for adults and children alike. Most of the illustrations are drawn by Alberta-based illustrator Wendi Nordell, but the book also contains photographs of Murphy, Jane, RUH and some of the staff there. It’s a snapshot in time of a Saskatoon experience that is changing lives for the better.

Jane Smith is a retired school teacher and her expertise is clearly seen in her careful age appropriate explanations and word choice. There are also discussion questions at the back of the book and a fun lesson in handwashing, something that the children she visits are encouraged to do before and after being with Murphy. Jane is donating her proceeds of the book to the RUH Foundation (RUH Emergency Department) and the St John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program.


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