Daring Murdock Finds Her Path to a Loving Home

December 12, 2018


Working for animals is a rewarding and fulfilling job, but sometimes we struggle with the temptation to adopt them all. For Dustin B. and Felicia M., “the struggle” became all too real when they met a blind kitten named Hollyhock. The couple both work for the ASPCA, Dustin as a photographer and Felicia as a veterinarian.

Tough Beginnings 

When Hollyhock was brought into the ASPCA in late May 2018 as a stray, she had severely damaged eyes that, sadly, could not be treated. To prevent further discomfort and pain, veterinarians made the difficult decision to remove both eyes. From the beginning, Felicia was actively involved in Hollyhock’s medical care and soon became quite fond of the tiny, blind kitten.

Murdock on a shoulder

Though Hollyhock began to adjust quickly after surgery, she struggled to catch the right adopter’s eye. Felicia then reached out to her husband and the ASPCA media department to help get some extra promotion for the special kitty. 

A Serendipitous Intervention  

Dustin then went to the ASPCA Adoption Center with the intention of capturing some extra-special photos of Hollyhock, but he soon felt captivated by her. “I was photographing her for the purpose of promoting her for adoptions, but it didn’t take long to see that she was a special kitten,” he tells us.


“After the shoot, I spent the evening processing her images and couldn’t get her out of my mind,” says Dustin. “Little did Felicia know, the media push would be a success, just not in the traditional sense.” 

Luckily for Dustin, it didn’t take much convincing to get his wife on board with the idea of adding another furry friend to their family. She was also already taken by little Hollyhock.


“Felicia and I have a soft spot for special-needs animals, so I was captivated by her from the beginning. I couldn’t imagine a world where she wasn’t part of our family,” Dustin says. “After talking it over, we decided that she would be a perfect fit and adopted her first thing that morning.” 

A Fresh Start 

Given her disability, Dustin and Felicia wanted to give Hollyhock a special name for her new life with them. They renamed her Murdock after a popular superhero who is also blind. “Like her namesake, Murdock is a blind and fearless daredevil, constantly surprising me with her capabilities,” says Dustin. “She takes chances every day to better learn and navigate her environment. The name was chosen to communicate her bold and daring personality.”

murdock resting

Dustin tells us that in her new home, Murdock now has the lay of the land. “She is currently fond of running full sprint throughout the home, darting around and sliding under furniture with purpose,” he says, adding that “she is all over the place in the most wonderful way.”

Murdock, Dustin, and Felicia

When asked what advice they would have for someone considering adopting a special-needs pet, Felicia says that patience is key. “As our first blind kitty, Murdock has taught us a lot regarding the amazing capabilities of special-needs pets. She's a little superhero, herself!”

Murdock, Dustin, and Felicia

It seems that for this tiny, four-legged superhero, resilience and perseverance is key—not to mention, a little help from loving pet parents like Dustin and Felicia.