San Diego

Clear the Shelters: From Shelter Dog to Social Media Stardom

Two years ago, a military family came to NBC 7’s Clear the Shelter event looking for a dog to fill the void left behind after one of their dogs died.

The dog they ended up adopting added an unexpected joy to their lives.

Murphy the mastiff came to the animal shelter after being rescued from a meat market in Korea. If you have been to the shelter you have seen dogs such as Murphy before. 

They cower in the corner, don't make eye contact, but this sweet boy got a second chance and he is living his best life.

“We went there and they took us to a back kennel and told us to sit and not make any sudden movements," Christy Culligan said.

Timid and afraid, that was the dog the Culligans met two years ago. What Murphy did next made them realize immediately that he was the dog for them.

“He came up to me and put his nose right on my face,” she said. “That was it. That was the final thing."

Christy and her husband Jason Culligan were still getting over the loss of one of their dogs. 

“You are giving a lost dog a new home," Jason Culligan said.

"Yeah and you are paying it forward in the memory of the dog that you lost,” Christy Culligan said.

Murphy, however, was not what they thought they were looking for. When the Culligans got him, they couldn’t even touch him. Today, Murphy is a completely different dog, thirsty for human interaction and willing to flex his big dog muscles to protect his smaller friends.

“We have a pug mix that is 18 and he is so protective of her, and then we have a Chihuahua that tries to boss him around,”  Christy Culligan said. “I couldn't imagine our world without him.”

Murphy has gone from a rescue pup to an Instagram celebrity of sorts. He keeps more than 3,000 followers updated on his journey.

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