The last thing I want is to bring a negative vibe to a festive time of year, but because so many of my readers are heavily invested in Morgan’s well-being, I wanted to let you know that we had to set him free this morning. It was the best gift we could have given him, but couldn’t compare with the gift he gave us; the gift of himself.
It was plain that although we did what we could to support him in his battle with lymphoma, that it was not going to enable him to stay with us any longer. His quality of life took a nose-dive these past couple of days and we are not so selfish that we would keep him hanging around to defer the pain of his exit.
On December 24th I was sitting next to him on the patio and he slammed my hand with his beefy paw the way he does, but hadn’t for some time. The slam means, “please ________”. This please, along with the look he gave me said, “Please let me go.”
Morgan stayed to see family and friends for Christmas, enjoyed the extra attention and love showered on him, and his last supper consisted of banana with peanut butter and our Christmas ham, which he thought was heavenly.
In this context, there are two kinds of people in this world; those who love dogs, and those who don’t. There are people who read this blog who have never met Morgan but poured their hearts out with love, shed tears for him and offered free medicine and healing.
As incomprehensible as it seems to those who have melded our soul with that of a dog, or if you’re really lucky—many dogs—there are those in this world who see dogs, cats, and other animals as domesticated creatures with a purpose. I’ve had this conversation with people before and they are usually from a farm.
They feel that when animals are no longer able to fulfill their purpose they are relatively unemotionally discarded. If they get sick, it’s their time to go. They don’t spend much on vets to help prolong their life—and certainly not oncologists or fancy urns. They think that’s insane. They can come across as hard-hearted, but they aren’t—they simply can’t empathize with an experience they’ve never had. Their programming is in place.
I feel sorry for anyone who has never loved a dog. There is no substitute in my opinion, and I’ve lost two previously over the years; an Alaskan Malamute and another Golden Retriever; a rescue dog, who I named after the angel Gabriel. Dogs are the ultimate life lesson and we would do well to emulate them.
Dogs come into the world and live every day in joy if given a half decent life. They don’t plan ahead, they don’t feel remorse for the past. They simply live in the moment and give every moment their best.
They don’t complain, even when in pain, and adapt to any situation and usually even new owners.
They love unconditionally. Even abused dogs love their masters while at the same time fearing them. They forgive and forget.
Anyone reading this is probably an animal lover, and understands that dogs are to be revered. A dog is NEVER “just a dog”, is it?
And yes… for childless couples their pets often ARE their children and there is no difference except in the minds of some people who have never experienced that connection. Children and pets are both innocent, dependent, and full of joy when they come into our lives.
Either all conscious beings on this planet and throughout the Universe are One or we are not. There is no half way.
I’ve lived in two neighbourhoods now where dogs and dog-people rule. Dogs are valued members of the community and have their own social circles. They have friends of both sexes and some just “click” on sight.
We spend whatever it takes to heal their ills. Walks are twice daily, vet visits are routine. We may not know the neighbours’ names but we sure know the names of their dogs.
When we bring a pet home we take on the responsibility for their welfare. We pledge an oath to care for them as best we can, to nurse them when they’re hurt, to feed them good food and water, to play with them, exercize and love them and make them feel safe. Caring for them gives us purpose.
They need purpose, too. Teaching them things and demanding obedience are part of that. Dogs rely on the alpha leader of the pack to make the right decisions for the safety of all.
Morgan took his guard dog duties very seriously, brought in the mail or the newspaper in exchange for a baby carrot, and learned to dive to the bottom of our 8-foot pool to ‘rescue’ a baby doll, and later, a toy.
We doggie-people love to buy our pets toys, collars and leashes, beds and sometimes a cute little hat, sweater or some boots to protect their fuzzy feet from ice-balls.
We take them boating, camping, dining al fresco, to friends’ homes, and share our swimming pools with them. We take them to the spa for a shampoo, pedicure, and perhaps a bow or a bandana. We buy them Christmas gifts and celebrate their birthdays. They are part of the family and every bit as important as human relatives.
I have friends who made their rottweilers ring-bearers at their wedding, and one who took her little pocket dog to see Santa this year. Crazy? Maybe so—but we recognize the value of “man’s best friend” and live our lives accordingly and are so much richer for it.
Research shows that people with a dog live a little longer than those without. Petting a dog (or cat) provides stress-reduction and relaxation similar to meditation.
Many dogs make the rounds at nursing homes as therapy for the elderly. Dogs can bring peace to an otherwise turbulent and fearful world.
Have you ever wondered if it’s a coincidence that DOG spelled backwards is GOD?
Morgan was everything to us. He was our teacher and our student. He healed us, and we often healed him. He even healed other people. Our life revolved around our ‘son’.
He did the long walks to our old haunts, went swimming at the lake and looked out the window at the spectacular scenery of the Superstition Mountains all the way home for the first and last time.
These past 36 hours he dragged himself outside to take care of business, then collapsed on the ground, his hind legs unable to support him. He never made a mess in the house. He was selfless, and if he could muster it, did what we asked. Many times had to be carried—all 83 pounds of him.
We fed him by hand whatever he would eat and brought his water dish to him afterward.
That is no life for anyone—much less a dog. As soon as the veterinary hospital opened after the holiday, we were there and our vet moved her scheduled surgery to accommodate us.
Morgan is a very special soul. Our vet wouldn’t have been in tears, otherwise. She’s known Morgan for almost nine years and she loved him the moment she met him. They had a special bond, despite her having (at last count) 14 dogs of her own because she couldn’t bear to euthanize them.
To everyone who shared suggestions to beat lymphoma and sent love and healing energies and prayers—thank you. It helped, but we can only do so much.
It was Morgan’s time, after bravely battling his cancer for nearly 18 months, and now he’s home. In joy. In love. In Light. And soon to reconnect with us. He has ‘slipped the surly bonds of Earth’, in high flight. His soul is soaring through the ethers.
I don’t know if I could even accept that he is gone if I hadn’t held his limp body in my arms one last time.
Here is a photo my mother took with her iPad a few minutes ago in a “photography lesson” from my other half. Incredible. I wanted to stay at the vet’s long enough for Morgan’s soul to leave his body, and here it is, right here with us. Normally my hubby the photographer would have said that was lens flare, but he asked me if I saw what was in the photo before I said anything. He knew. He grew tremendously from this painful experience.
Kudos to anyone who is battling pet cancers or other illnesses on behalf of their beloved friends. You are healing angels. Morgan was OUR healing angel, and no one who knew him would be able to say, “He’s just a dog.”