Puppy Love

Tinker Bell began her life neglected and living in a crate on someone’s front porch. For the last seven years, she has lived in the lap of luxury.

Weatherford residents Nadeen and Kenneth Murphree gave the now 8-year-old Chihuahua her forever home in 2007, and the little rescued dog became a rescuer of people.

Tinker Bell is a therapy dog and a much-loved four-legged ambassador for Parker County.

She is a fixture at every nursing home, hospital, school, charity and social event, but her favorite place to visit is Holland Lake Nursing Center in Weatherford.

“She has her favorite friends there,” Nadeen says. “You just open the door and she knows where to go. There are people who don’t have anything to do with other people at all, but when they see Tinker Bell, they start laughing and talking. She just turns their personality on. One man at Holland wouldn’t even talk to his own family, but he would talk to Tinker Bell. When he died, the family asked us to bring her to his graveside service.”

Tinker Bell goes where she’s needed, Nadeen says.

“I’ve lost count of the nursing homes. We go to all of the local ones, plus Dublin, Stephenville, Fort Worth and regularly to Holland Lake because we have so many family members and friends there. If a friend is in a nursing home or a hospital, we go if they call. For some, she’s all they have to look forward to.”

For all of these public appearances, Tinker Bell has to look her best. She has her own personal seamstress. Not counting her T-shirts, she has 75 outfits custom-made by Weatherford resident Barbara Rumfield.

Of course she needs fancy wheels, especially for costume contests. Tinker Bell has nine vehicles, including two wagons, an ambulance, a Jeep, a pumpkin, a sleigh, a Hummer, a Batmobile and a St. Patrick’s Day car. “She’s never entered a contest she hasn’t won,” Nadeen says.

Tinker Bell dresses as “little mini Minnie Pearl” every year for the historic Shaw-Kemp Open House. Nadeen dresses as “Big Minnie Pearl.”
She’s the Salvation Army bell ringer every year in Weatherford, and she wears the official vest. She dresses as “Mrs. Claws” at Christmas events and has special outfits for the Parker County Peach Festival, to name a few of her civic contributions.

Tinker Bell rarely meets a human she doesn’t love, but she hates anything with four legs, with the exception of horses. “Animals have no place in her world,” Nadeen says.
Nadeen says it’s a good thing she’s retired because the “dog-child” takes up all of her time.

“If there’s something going on in Parker County, Tinker Bell is there. If someone is sick, she’s there. And she brings happiness wherever she goes.”