I never really understood what it meant to be a “dog lover.” I couldn’t quite understand the lengths that some people would go to for their faithful friends. Grasping the idea that someone would sacrifice so much in the way of cleanliness, money and time just did not click with me. I had wanted a dog since being a small child, but that was not a possibility. So, it wasn’t until my wife and I moved to Texas that we finally made the first addition to our family.
We bought Chase in September of 2007. It was a very big deal for us. While we had gone through a variety of adventures together before arriving at dog ownership, we had no clue what we were in store for. I didn’t care about the warnings and long hours ahead… I just wanted to finally have my own dog. Needless to say, for any dog owners reading this, the first four months proved challenging. In fact, I had no idea how much work would need to go in to owning a dog.
I caught such a bug for dog ownership that I spent the next months pouring through pages and pages of online research about breed types and care tips and… well, you know… everything from becoming an avid Cesar Milan fan to buying the twenty-three different collars that we just had to have! It was both a learning experience and an absolute bonding experience for my Wife and I. It’s as close as I have come to parenthood. This was one cared for Bullmastiff.
In February of the following year, I decided (after much research) that Chase absolutely needed a companion. I read somewhere that getting another male was a good idea. Zaida knew that I had made up my mind and was a good sport about the whole thing.
We knew it all… we had this “dog thing” under control. Having just gone through puppy hood with Chase, we knew exactly what to expect. Were we ever wrong…
Morgan didn’t stroll, he sprinted. It was a startling contrast
to the very careful manner in which Chase went about learning his surroundings. Within a few weeks, his antics reached our patio furniture. Five chairs, four dog beds, over ten pillows and countless towels later, we figured out that supervision was an absolute necessity.
Playful Puppy Syndrome aside… the balance was there. It was great!
In April of 2008, I finally made the dreaded drive that every male dog owner puts off as long as possible. It was time to neuter Chase.
I received a call around lunch that day to let me know that there was an issue. Apparently, Chase had a disease called Renal Dysplasia. I told Zaida what was going on and we headed to the Vet’s office to learn more. We were told that he should be put down, but that we could take the weekend to make a decision. It was the first time that we were faced with the not-so-nice side of pet ownership.
Many tears and hours of research later, we concluded that we should see how he does before putting him down. Diet adjustment, copious quantities of water and very close attention were all on our horizon. Despite the occasional bad spell, Chase has remained pretty stable.
As the months progressed I felt fortunate to have been in a situation to spend an extended amount of time with both of the dogs. Working virtually has it’s benefits… for me it was a treat to have my buddies around while I pursued my dream of business ownership. While Chase is more the type to sleep in a quiet spot, Morgan was always eager to plop down at my feet or on his pillow in the office while I worked. When something great happened, I could always count on him jumping up to give me a congratulatory lick of encouragement.
Morgan’s Office Pillow
Around the first part of the year, Morgan faced his first health issue. In a excited burst of energy he came out of my vehicle wrong and injured his leg. He had damaged his Cranial Cruciate… kind of like an ACL in humans. After visiting with multiple Vets, it was finally concluded that he would need to rest for a while, but that he should heal. Fortunately, within a month and half, he was much better.
Around the middle of April, we noticed that Morgan was walking with a limp again. Having gone through all of the previous experience with his leg, we knew exactly what to do. Diet, very limited movement and some pain killers… the injury would likely heal itself. Over the last week and a half of May, his joint started to swell. We decided that a check-up would be in order.
This past weekend, we walked in to the Vet’s office fully prepared to witness some other procedure that we hadn’t previously seen. When the Vet felt his knee… it was obvious that the issue was much more serious.
After multiple x-rays, the Vet concluded that Morgan had bone cancer. Shocked, we asked all of the possible questions… treatment, prognosis, outlook… we went through the list. Unfortunately, Morgan’s cancer had already eaten his bone and advanced to the point of no return. We were informed that we would have to put him down after the weekend.
Despite the shock we were experiencing, we knew that spending some quality time with Morgan was important. We bought him his favorite bones, gave him a ton of face-lick time and even went so far as ordering pizza so that he could indulge in his favorite treat… pizza crust. It was a bittersweet Sunday.
Seven hours ago, we let Morgan go. It was perhaps one of the most difficult things I’ve ever experienced. A year and half old, a feature of our small family unit… it was much more intense than I could have ever imagined two years ago when we bought our first dog.
I never really understood what it meant to be a “dog lover” – perhaps today I’ve learned. Adding Morgan to our family was a blessing in so many ways. Despite how his story ended, I am very grateful for the time that we were able to share. Both of them have taught me more on the topics of responsibility, compassion and unconditional love than most humans I’ve encountered. I have become a dog lover and feel a connection with the many others that I encounter who share in my passion. It’s an amazing experience that I highly recommend for all of those who have yet to go down that path.
We will miss you dearly Morgan. We love you very
much and thank you for coming in to our lives. Your endless positivity, companionship and daring spirit taught me more than you will ever know.
To all of you who have shared very encouraging and kind thoughts over the past two days, I thank you. The outpouring of support has been amazing.