A Year Without Him
It hardly seems like a year since Morgan left us. On February 12th at 3 am in the morning, while lying next to me in bed, he took his last breath. I have thought about him every day since.
Some evenings when I go to sleep, I recall that night. He was having difficulty breathing so we had given him a sedative that we got from our vet. It brought him some comfort. The way he looked at me with his glossy eyes, I knew he was saying good-bye. I felt he was thanking me for our amazing life we had together. I gently stroked his head, over and over again, telling him how much I loved him and thanked him for all our adventures.
Morgan had such a rough start. He came to us aggressive, anxious, and undernourished. Without a doubt, because he was abused, raising him was more challenging than my first two Goldens. But as Auntie Mame says, “Life is a banquet and most poor bastards are starving to death.” We may have gotten off to a rocky start, but our life was definitely a banquet.
I mean what other dog can say he swam in San Francisco Bay with a backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Pacific Ocean in Malibu, the Gulf of Mexico in Naples, Rehoboth Beach on the Atlantic while a school of porpoise leaped by, Maine, Cape Cod, and lastly, our own Buttermilk Bay?
What other dog can claim to have hiked on the Pacific Crest Trail in Palm Springs and Franklin Canyon Park in Beverly Hills, overlooking the ocean? Or visited Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge or camped in Acadia National Park? And because he was my service animal, he was allowed to take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up to Mt. San Jacinto State Park, 8400 feet above the desert floor and hiked even higher.
Mt. San Jacinto State Park was our oasis in the hot months, enabling Morgan and I to escape the heat. The desert floor roasts at 110 degrees, but within twenty minutes we were on the tram to the top where the temperature was a comfortable 75 degrees. We’ve been there during each and every month, in rain, snow, sleet and hail. In the winter, if snow had fallen the previous night, we could be the first people in the park the next day. Morgan loved running and rolling in the snow. I dressed him in silly winter hats and took pictures.
But there were other silly hats that he wore: the big “Mad Hatter” green St. Patrick’s Day hat, the brown Pilgrim’s hat, the black top hat that he donned for the Opera in the Ball Park, the red, white, and blue Uncle Sam’s hat for the Fourth of July, and the red floppy Santa hats that he sported for his pictures with Santa. (See below for those pictures.)
Throughout his life he taught me so many things. First, and foremost, he taught me how to be more patient. Having an abused dog takes extra time to learn the basic socialization skills. I had a refresher course on compassion. My heart reached out to him each time I thought about the abuse he endured before coming into my life. There was the constant forgiving him for his mistakes and for mine. Trusting that we were both doing the best we could.
And of course, I’ll always remember that day at the private trainer’s shop, when I had to decide if I wanted to commit to the work that an aggressive Golden would demand. I looked down at Morgan sitting by my side. He gazed up at me with his sweet face. I reached down and petted his head and determined: yes, I would set aside my hearing problems and my other health concerns and pledged to give Morgan the life all young dogs deserve.
Morgan gave me a lifetime of adventures and memories that I will never forget. Most of all, I miss touching him and telling him he was the prettiest boy in the whole world.;
❤️❤️hard to believe he’s been gone for an entire year. My thoughts & hugs are with you guys.
Thank you so much Sara. It’s difficult for me to believe it as well. Thanjk you for caring and for all your support and love. It means a lot to me.
Oh Dan, this made me cry. Your love for sweet Morgan will never end. He had such a great life with you and you with him. These anniversaries are bittersweet, but take away the happy and loving memories you have with him ❤️
Thank you, Joni, for your kind and caring words. And for all your support and love. Morgan will always be the prettiest boy in the world for me. I carry him in my heart.
Beautiful memories of Morgan and all the LOVE you gave each other. ❤️
Thank you so much Sherry for your kind words. Morgan lives on in my heart forever.
A beautiful story of love.
Thank you Rick. You know how important our dogs are. It’s always nice to hear from you. Be well. Miss you. Hugs all around.
Beautiful life and love.
Thank you Mary Jo. We sure had an amazing life together.
Another lovely tribute to Morgan❣️
Thank you so much Luis. It was an amazing life. Hope all is well with you.
As always, your reverie about Morgan speaks to my heart and the huge chunk of it my Tiffany still embraces. Thank you Dan.
You’re so welcome Stephen. Thank you. They never leave our hearts.
I follow your adventures with Morgan for years…we met because of him and mourned when it was time to let our golden go over Rainbow bridge. But the memories we carry inside of us will always be there…they enriched our lives
Thank you for your caring and kind words, Susan. They stay in our hearts and minds forever.
Morgan was Awesome Golden ! Hard to believe a year has gone by . So very Happy u have Franklin to love and care for and share adventures !! Morgan would be very Happy ur not sad!!Love and Hugs sent to
Thank you for those kind and caring words Barb. Sometimes it seems like it was just last week. Franklin has sure been a huge help. If my memory serves me – didn’t you recently lose a Golden as well? I seem to remember that.
I miss the sweet handsome boy Morgan as well. You all went on wonderful adventures.
So glad Franklin came into your life so quickly as he did. Seems like he’s doing fabulous with you as well.
Thanjk you so much June. I know you miss him. He touched so many of us with his smile. We sure had amazing life. It’s good that Franklin is here. he’s a very sweet boy and we are quite in love with him.
Beautiful, Dan, I certainly could feel the love you two shared thru your writing. Our last golden passed in June, and I hope Roxy Jo & Morgan met up to exchange little hats❤
Thank you, Allyson for your sweet message. I especially like the little hats part. Sorry for your loss of sweet Roxy Jo. They stay in our hearts forever.
You gave Morgan a life that was amazing when no one else would have.Most dogs aren’t enriched with a person who has what you were able to give him.So many humans haven’t had the adventures and experiences Morgan had.You gave him the very best of life and he passed away with the person who loved him.In your bed with you came peace and love.It showed in his eyes and I wish every dog could have the comfort you gave him in the end.Morgan gave you all his love and gratitude and you gave him the most wonderful life he may never have had.
God bless you Tanya
Thank you, Tanya, for those kind and caring and thoughtful words. It means a lot to me. It’s true, Morgan turned out to be a gift. He was a blessing. It might not have seemed that way in the beginning but I knew on the day when he first leaned his head on my shoulder that he loved me and was glad he was with me. He’ll live forever in my heart.
Such a beautiful and touching story. Morgan came into your life at just the perfect time for both of you. I know you gave him a wonderful and very loved life. Our Goldens teach us so many things. Most of those things will never leave our hearts. Unconditional love is the best gift of all. It is hard to lose our babies. I struggle and cry every day even though my Angel Lukie has been gone 4 years. The pawprints he left on my heart and soul will never fade. Thank you for sharing Morgan with us. Thank you for sharing this story with us. Love to you all.❤
Thank you Regina for your kind and caring and thoughtful message. I loved sharing Morgan with everyone. His smile touched us all. Sorry for your loss of Angel Lukie. They never leave our hearts or minds. I’d love to see a picture of your sweet boy.
What a beautiful tribute to Morgan. A beautiful example of what a little patience and love can do.
Thank you Lisa for caring and your kind words. Morgan will live on in my heart forever.
Wonderful article Dan! Morgan will always hold a special place in your heart.
Thank you Lynn. Our Golden connection will always be there. Looking forward to a life with Clover.
The Best of times that you shared with Morgan will be his best friend gifts to you. And I want to thank you for sharing Morgan with us. I know how much a family is whole with a Golden to touch our hearts and give us love. We miss each of our girl Goldens; Blondie, Jasmine and Amber yet they live on for each of the uniqueness they brought to give us love and travels together. Such angels.
Thank you for your kind words and for caring. I loved sharing Morgan with everyone. His smile touched so many. I understand about their uniqueness. Each one of my boys brought joy into my life in a different way. Just as your girls brought love into yours.
Morgan knew he was safe truly loved uncondionally loved & his eyes always showed this. I have loved each & every story posted about yr sweet boy & only wish I knew him from the beginning. I am grateful for yr stories then & now about yr adventures with Franklin. I miss Morgan as much as I miss each of my darlings. My girl Soohie will be gone 2 yrs this late Feb & my precioys George just this past Dec. I’m thankful for my Remy we’ve had for just a year & will turn 2 late Feb. The love of a dog is precious❤️❤️❤️
Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words Ann. They mean a lot to me. Loving a Golden is a blessing. Loving more than 1 is more blessings. We’re so lucky. Wish I knew your Goldies. maybe you could share pictures? BTW – My next book is called “Rescuing Morgan.” The story of how he joined our family. You’ll get a chance to know him from the beginning.
Dan, this is a beautiful tribute in memory of your beloved Morgan. He became a sweet Service Golden Retriever because of all the time, effort and unconditional love you invested in his life.We will always treasure his visit to Rehoboth Beach and the bittersweet good-bye as you left for Massachusetts. As we all know our time with our beloved animals is never long enough. Thank you for writing about Morgan’s adventures with you.
Thank you Carole for your kind words and for caring. I’m so glad you got to meet Morgan. I’m happy I got to share Morgan with so many people. I’m happy we got to meet you. It was a special visit.
This tribute to your precious Morgan is beyond beautiful. I read it 4 times. Most of all……thank you for loving him. He knew you loved him, but he loved you more. I am confident that you will be reunited with him one day and you will see him again.
Thank you, Donna, for your kind and caring words. I do think Morgan knew I loved him. I know he loved me deeply. I’m so glad I got to raise him.
What a lovely tribute to your Morgan I can’t believe it’s been a year and he is still missed you never forget all your dogs that have passed on and I’m sure he is watching over you all so big hugs and lots of love Sally xxx
Thank You Sally for your kind words and caring. It means a lot to me. He touched so many people with his smile. Morgan lives on in our hearts.
This is SO BEAUTIFUL and brought tears to my eyes and my heart actually hurts for you and your loss of BEAUTIFUL MORGAN! I didn’t experience what you went through but I could feel it with every word that I read about your life with Morgan. See, I am a great animal lover of all kinds and have deep compassion and empathay for ALL ANIMALS! I presently have a Golden, named Brady, who I LOVE AND ADORE emmensely and dread the inevitable. He is my first Golden as I have always had German Shepherds and Brady was a totally different experience. I treasure every moment of every day with him as he is getting older and not looking forward to the good by part of this chapter in our lives together. So I know exactly how your heart feels and I am right there with you. Thank you for writing such an informative article that I will treasur and add to the memory of Morgan.
Thank you Mary Ann for your thoughtful and kind and caring and loving message. We love Shepherds. My Goldens have always gotten along with them. I think it’s their intelligence and loyalty. Just keep telling Brady thank you and that you love him. I too am an all animal lover and I thank my three previous Goldens for teaching me that.
Thank you for sharing your one year Angelversary with us. Your tribute to him is so beautiful. It’s so hard. I’ve lost so many over the years and remember each one with so much love.
You are most welcome Barbara. Thank you for your kind words. Each o my boys hold a special place in my heart.
Thanks for this touching tribute to Morgan. Your love for him and its expression here has touched my heart. You both had a wonderful life together. It was meant to be.
Thank you so much Felix. You know how important they are to me. You’ve known them all so far and will get to know Franklin eventually. I thought raising Morgan would be easier. But I think it made us closer. It was meant to me.
Dan, Morgan was truly amazing. Thank you for sharing him. It’s so hard to lose them. I still miss my Samson…hugs, my friend…
You’re very welcome, Lisa. Thank you so much for caring. Sorry for your loss of Samson. They never leave our hearts.
Very sweet story, Dan. Hope Franklin gives as much as Morgan did. Have a glorious summer!
Thank you Casey. Franklin is helping us heal. Be well my friend.
Dan what a beautiful article.
Thank you Tom. Appreciate it. Means a lot to me.
I didn’t know the whole story of his life, thankful Morgan came into your life. He sure had some great adventures. I am crying tears for his loss and for the wonderful life you gave him ❤️
Thank you Gloria for your kind words. Franklin had a rough start but he had a sweet loving side that showed early on. He was my best friend and a gift and blessing. I was so blessed with his.
What a great story & what a great person you are to save this poor Golden who was treated unfairly & you brought him back to life from a prior suffering experience! You are one in a million & Morgan sure appreciated both of you in his life!