Archived Story

‘Cardinal Charlie’: Charlie and Murphy share a fondness for popcorn

Published 10:00pm Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Recently I made my first visit out to the nice Timbers of Cass County nursing home since I went to the grand opening.

gillI went there to see a good friend and reader of my columns, who was now a patient.

I was really surprised as I was walking down the hall when, out of nowhere, came a beautiful large golden retriever dog.

He came up to me asking to be petted.

He seemed to be so gentle for such a large dog.

Going down the halls I kept noticing many familiar names of friends and readers of mine on the room numbers.

We had an enjoyable visit with our friend and while there, I had another meeting with my new friend, Murphy, which is the name of the dog I first met.

At the door of our friend’s room was a lady with a service cart of bags of popcorn and she asked if we would like some.

I think the lady must have been psychic to know old Charlie is a popcorn freak!

Traveling with this nice lady was, guess who? Yes, it was Murphy, my new friend.

He came into the room and waited patiently for me to open my bag, then proceeded to let me know he also likes popcorn.

Who could turn down this beautiful dog, though his mistress said Murphy, quit your begging.

So I shared some until the lady said come and he immediately took her command.

As we were leaving, I saw this lady leaving also down the hall ahead of us and Murphy was between the lady and us.

She turned around and said come on, Murphy, Ma Ma’s going home.

I was so taken aback by this dog and his owner.

So later, I called the administrator and asked if I could talk to Murphy’s owner.

Her name is Cheri Nowicki, the activity director there.

She told me Murphy is 8 years old and she has had him for six years.

When she first started bringing him to The Timbers he weighed 104 pounds, then 109 and when he got up to 113 pounds, she had to tell the residents to let up on his treats.

She said she got him from a dog pound in Muskegon by using

She has had him at other nursing homes.

Murphy is so smart he knows where patients keep their treats and he goes right to those drawers.

Oh, by the way, my stay was somewhat longer, as I had to stop for a short visit and a hello to eight other friends and my readers.

Over the years, this 81-year-old man has made many visits to friends in nursing homes, and I’m proud to say The Timbers of Cass County has to be the nicest and most elegant facility to which I’ve seen.

I think the decor with the old Round Oak stoves and the old photographs, plus and beautiful artwork and carpeting are great.

Dowagiac should be very proud to have this in our city.

I know I am.

“Cardinal Charlie” Gill writes a nostalgic weekly column about growing up in the Grand Old City. E-mail him at

By using this website’s user-contribution features, including comments, photo galleries, or any other feature, you agree to abide by the terms of use. Please read this agreement in its entirety because it contains useful information that will help you better understand the rules and general "good manners" that are expected when contributing content to this website.

Editor's Picks