We got Morgan in March of 1995 following not one, but two break-ins of our home at the time. He was just a puppy, about eight weeks old when we brought him home. He was just about the cutest puppy I'd ever seen. I couldn't believe how quickly he grew. Within a couple of months he sounded like an adult dog - anyone coming to our front door would swear it was a full grown dog barking at them. Even as a puppy he took his "job" seriously.
Chasing snowballs, Jan. 28, 2000.
Morgan grew to be a big dog. He was a couple of inches taller than the standard for German Shepherds, and weighed in at nearly 100 lbs. when he reached adulthood. He could be pretty intimidating to those who didn't know him, but then that had been the idea. He needed no training to watch over us and our house. Anyone who knows German Shepherds knows that they tend to be naturally protective and Morgan was no exception.
Almost from the begining it was clear that Morgan thought of himself as my husband's dog. Oh sure, I did my share of feeding, cleaning up after, etc. but as you might know these things are usually decided by the dog (or cat) itself. Somehow though, I ended up being the one taking him to puppy and obedience classes. I didn't mind. I guess I figured it was my way of bonding with him. Morgan was the first dog I'd ever trained and he was a handfull. He was very intelligent, strong-willed, and actually kind of a jerk as an adolescent, always testing me to see what he could get away with. The main problem I had with him was his increasing need to try to "protect" me from the other dogs in our classes. I really had to learn to assert myself with him. I learned a few things about myself working with him and yes, there was a special bond between us because of the time I spent with him.
When he was diagnosed with kidney disease we switched him to a prescription, low protein dog food that would be easier for his kidneys to handle. The lower protein levels really took a toll on his muscles. It was difficult watching him lose weight and muscle tone until it seemed he was only skin and bones. We were suprised to discover at his last yearly exam a couple of weeks ago that was down to 71 lbs.
When I think of Morgan now I will remember him as he was when he was younger; a big, tough lug of a dog who made me feel safe in my home when I didn't think that would ever be possible again. He could be intimidating to be sure, but he was quite gentle with the two puppies, the kitten, and the cat we eventully brought into our home after him. He only needed to know that they were part of our "pack." He had a long, full, and I think a happy life with us. I didn't realize until we knew we were going to lose him just how much I loved him. Now I'm crying my eyes out for him, again. We will miss him terribly.
Morgan, with his nephew Max, Spring 1997