The Years Fly By

by Houndstooth on

I was surprised this week to realize several things.  The first is that it’s November already.  That was a bit of a rude awakening, considering how wonderful this summer was.  I admit, I’m not quite ready to let it go, and Mother Nature seems to be holding on, too, with some truly lovely weather that doesn’t seem like it belongs in Autumn.  The arrival of November also brings a couple of birthdays to our house.

Morgan Puppy Face

Morgan Puppy Face

Yesterday was Morgan’s seventh birthday.  I knew it was her birthday in one sense, but I couldn’t process that it was already November in my head, if that makes sense.  There are shared birthday festivities planned for this weekend when we have more time, and Morgan won’t care.  She’ll just be happy to be extra spoiled.  The part that’s the hardest for me to believe, though, is that she’s now seven years old.  When we brought her home, she was just eighteen months old and so different from the dog she is now.  As the years fly by, she becomes a very different dog, but we still love her deeply.

Reflecting on her birthday is bittersweet.  Her early years were full of upheaval.  I wouldn’t say that she was abused, but moving from home to home in her early months wasn’t an ideal situation for any dog, especially a German Shepherd who bonds intensely with their family.  I can still remember the day we brought an eighteen month old Morgan home and how she never looked back, only forward.

Morgan at the Wheel -- Tales and Tails

Morgan at the Wheel

I made promises to her, and to myself, that we would be the last home she ever went to.   We still struggle with what to do with her, but a few things that have happened this year have made me realize that this will have to be the last home she lives in.  For one thing, I wouldn’t pass her problems on to anyone else for fear of what would happen.  We have learned that we can never let our guard down with her or trust her in certain situations.  I can’t be sure that anyone else would be that vigilant.  The other is that we tried leaving her in what we felt was the ideal situation for her while we traveled to Nashville.  She was with people very experienced with German Shepherds and they couldn’t get near her.  She was in a climate controlled kennel with access to an outside yard where she could play and go potty, but she couldn’t handle it.  By all reports, she was miserable and I felt horrible, even though I knew we’d done the best thing for all involved.

The thing about Morgan, though, is that she continues to remind me to be kind to myself.  Even the parts of me that I feel are unlovable have value.  Morgan is intensely reactive and it’s frustrating to deal with.  Yet, it comes from a place of love.  She fears losing us more than anything else, and I wish I had a way to reassure her that it’s not something she needs to concern herself with.

Morgan at The Giant's Bathtub

Morgan at the Giant’s Bathtub

Morgan embraces her crazy and uses it to her advantage as much as she can.  She channels it into much of what she does, whether it’s patrolling the yard for kamikaze rabbits, working dog obedience with Mr. Taleteller, playing with her favorite toys or keeping an eye on the neighborhood during her early morning or late evening walks.  There’s an intensity to her that I haven’t seen in any other dog we’ve ever shared our lives with.

She’s taught me to be more patient and persistent.  If there’s something you feel is worth having, it’s worth going all out for.  If you care for someone, you should let them know, not hide it out of fear that it won’t be reciprocated or appreciated.  Things that are difficult are worth the work required to acquire them.  Life is sweeter when you savor the small moments as intently as the big ones.

Ahoy, Morgan -- Tales and Tails

Ahoy, Morgan

We still face a lot of struggles with her, but we have been so lucky to have Morgan here with us for the past five years.  I don’t know what the future holds for us, but I know that now is the time to celebrate the unexpected gifts that sometimes find their ways into our lives.   What we would like to ask of you today as we celebrate Morgan’s seven year milestone is that you take the time to tell someone you care about how you feel, dance in the rain, do something that scares you or find some other way to embrace life that makes you happy.

Happy Birthday, Mo!  You’ve made the journey so much more interesting and we’re lucky to have you!

Morgan Surveys the World -- Tales and Tails

Morgan Surveys the World

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  • Sue Dyer

    Happy Birthday Morgan. What a cute puppy you were and what a beautiful girl you are now.

    Hope you all have a lovely day. Sue, Polly & Honey

  • Biggy/Allies Mom

    Happy birthday Morgan. I understand where you are coming from Carrie. We made the same promise to Chaos. She has been moved around a lot. We told her that the buck stops here. If it is only 6 months or years. <3 ?

  • SGilbert

    Happy Birthday Morgan! You got lucky when you found your forever home. The Morgan challenges can be an interesting adventure in it self. Don’t you wish you could get into Morgan’s brain and see what makes him tick. We rescued an abused dog at 6 months old. What happened to him at a young age is not forgotten in his brain. He is always on guard. We love him to pieces and he show us they he can love us back. Have a great weekend.

  • Aww, happy birthday, Morgan! Beautiful girl. 🙂

  • Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Morgan, happy birthday to you! ♥ ♥

  • Dory and the Mama

    What a beautiful post, if only all dog parents were as thoughtful as you and Mr. T!
    Happy Birthday Morgan!!!

  • Morgan is really beautiful! I can imagine how challenging it can be at times, but she is so lucky to have you for parents. I’m not sure another family would be so loving & caring.

  • She’s so beautiful, and I wish her a very happy birthday. She’s so lucky to have found a wonderful, loving * understanding forever home. I often think of my Laika the same way – I couldn’t imagine that many people would be able to handle, or put up with her unpredictability & some of her less than awesome behaviors. But I’ve learned so much from her, and I love knowing that she doesn’t have to worry – she will be in my home forever, and we’ll continue to channel all that crazy energy into the things she loves.

  • Morgan sounds complicated, but very lucky to have you all.

  • Julie Starling

    I adore your entire pack, including the awesome humans that are great pawrents. But Morgan holds a special place because I have one like her. Though admitedly, based on what I read, I think I have it easier with Loki than you do with Morgan. I sometimes wonder if its because I really force him a LOT to go beyond his comfort zone that’s made him more stable but I realize that sometimes temperment is genetic and all the positive behavior training in the world won’t be able to balance a dog with genetic anxiety issues. Loki still has his issue and I’ve learned recently that though we can have guests in the house whom he will behave with, we cannot leave any guest alone in the house with him, even if that guest is comfortable with him. I’ve also become etremely choosey with who pet sits him. Like you, sitter has to be GS savvy and not afraid no matter what he’s doing to intimidate. We walk with our pet sitter regularly and her labs, so he knows her and still on the first day of pet sitting, he will give her all sorts of “Imma gonna eat you if you come into my yard” attitude… but by the second day he’s besties with her. I wonder if repeatedly exposing Morgan to the GS savvy kennel more often and on shorter visits would help. I remember in Switzerland, I thought Loki would never survive in a cageless kennel. Poor Bernard showed me what Loki did to his door the first day i left him at Bernard’s kennel. (I offered to repair it and he said “no, it reminds me my friend Loki was here.” Gotta love a guy like that.) Still, somehow Bernard connected with him and understood his drives/fears and made it work. On the other hand, I’ve seen him turn away other dogs who had too many potty accidents in the house AND he had to give away his OWN high-drive GSD because she couldn’t handle being around little dogs (she’d chase them and possibly hurt them) and little dogs were his main clientele. So I guess the moral of the story is, you never know. HIS GSD was bred and bred VERY well, i could tell. BUT, it was high-drive working dog not suitable for a pet or getting along with little dogs. He ended up giving her to a Police academy. Yet Loki, my fricking CRAZY mo-fo dog, over time, he really got used to Bernards and tho the first day was ALWAYS hard on him, over time it became just hours of him settling down rather than days. On that last trip we took (almost 2 weeks), Bernard told me “One more day with me and Loki would have been mine, that’s how much we bonded.” So I wonder if repeated short visits to savvy GS kennel would help her get over it all. I know how much you do for her. Maybe it would work, maybe it wouldn’t… All I know is, with dogs like Loki and Morgan, they are worth the effort because of the lessons they teach us and also the protection they really do provide. I’m never afraid living in the mountains alone when MWD travels. Like Morgan, Loki would take a bullet for us. One of our contractors who works our property admires Loki and tells me how luky I am to have a dog like him even though Loki constantly shows him he would eat him for lunch! He tells me in his country, (Mexico) dogs like Loki save families lives. In a sense it really becomes all about “managing the drive” of a dog like Morgan or Loki . If you can manage that kind of intense, off-the-charts, defense drive with that superglue family bonding trait, then they are worth every heartache and effort. Happy Birthday beautiful Morgan! Loki sends his crackery barks to you!