Devoted Dog, Stabbed, Stays By Slain Owner’s Side

Her owner succumbed to the vicious knife attack, but Shammy managed to hang on, staying by Virginia McLaughlin’s side until help arrived.

Shammy was adopted on St. Patrick's Day several years ago. Her name was short for "Shamrock." (Photos: Courtesy of McLaughlin family.)
Shammy was adopted on St. Patrick’s Day several years ago. Her name was short for “Shamrock.” (Photos: Courtesy of McLaughlin family.)


Virginia McLaughlin adopted Shammy (short for Shamrock) on St. Patrick’s Day a few years ago. And by all accounts, in particular, the most recent, she was very lucky to have had such a special, little dog.

McLaughlin, 68, was found stabbed to death a couple of weeks ago inside her Northeast Philadelphia home. Shammy, also stabbed, had been by her side the entire time, which police estimate at about 36 hours. The little shih tzu, however, managed to survive.

The man who killed McLaughlin — Lawrence Carty, 60, also of Northeast Philadelphia — was found at the scene, as well. It was a murder-suicide. He had been a friend of McLaughlin’s. The stabbing occurred after a recent argument after which McLaughlin decided to end their friendship, a neighbor reported to

McLaughlin’s four sons have found Shammy’s survival to be a small bit of happy in the midst of such sadness.

“Our mother loved only one man in her entire adult life – our father, Tom,” her son, Doug, told a gathering of hundreds of people last week at his mother’s funeral Mass at Our Lady of Calvary Church on Knights Road in Northeast Philadelphia. Her life was forever altered when her husband died of a sudden heart attack in 1999. He was 52.

She loved dogs throughout her life, her sons said. Before Shammy, she had Lambchop, Rosie and Carrie — all rescues.

After police found them, neighbors rushed Shammy to VCA Knightswood Animal Hospital on Knights Road.

Shammy had been stabbed behind her right front leg, but the blade had penetrated her chest. Once stabilized at VCA Knightswood Animal Hospital, she was taken to the Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center for more advanced care.

Lauren Deahl, who operated on Shammy, said the dog had a deep gash in her right chest, broken ribs and a bruised lung.

“She was very critical,” said Deahl. “Without treatment, within a few hours she would have passed away.”

Days later, after a little recovery time, McLaughlin’s son, Doug, brought Shammy home.

“It was very emotional, but a happy ending for Shammy,” Doug said.

“My brother, Tom, asked how he can pay the bill and they said all services were free,” Doug reported, referring to Knightswood and VSEC, which is affiliated with the Lend-a-Paw Foundation charity.

Shammy will now live with Tom in Key West, FL.

“That dog meant the world to my mom,” Tom, 40, said.

3 thoughts on “Devoted Dog, Stabbed, Stays By Slain Owner’s Side

  1. What a horrific ending for Virginia !! It was apparent that she was a lovely and caring Lady as she raised four loving and caring son’s … took in pets in need and didn’t deserve to die as she did… I am so glad her son’s saw that Shammy has a forever home!!! The VCA Knightswood is to be commended for saving this devoted little dog’s life!!

  2. This was a very sad story but I am happy the son is gonna take care of the little dog now and I am sure his Mom is looking down from Heaven and happy that he is taking good care of her baby now. Heartbreaking story.

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