I find myself writing this story about Morgan, not just because it is extraordinary nowadays for Golden Retrievers to live to the age of 14 years, but also because his is a tale with a precarious middle that resolved into a very happy ending with a loving family.
In 2007, I volunteered for a short period at the local humane society. When I left that post, I offered to be contacted as a conduit to golden retriever rescues, thereby preventing Goldens from having to enter the humane society’s system.
The following day I received a call from the humane society concerning a man who was right there surrendering two senior Goldens, Hunter, age 9 and Morgan, age 10. He remembered buying one of them from a local woman but could not recall her name. Following a telephone call with this gentleman, I confirmed that Morgan came from one of my litters, whelped in April of 1997! I was horrified to think that, as a vulnerable elder dog, one of my precious pups had come perilously close to a frightening and undetermined future along with his aged buddy.
Almost immediately I found a home for these two homeless boys with a family who had owned and loved another dog of my breeding, Luna. Dee and Don Miskill, and their sons, Colin and Justin are salt of the earth people with hearts as unlimited asthe sky. Luna had been re-homed with them following her surrender to me in late 1997. She had passed away in November of 2006, so the Miskills were dog-less.
As it happens, Luna was a full sister to Morgan, and the Miskills jumped at the opportunity to take not only Morgan but Hunter as well! What incredible good fortune all the way around! The dogs didn’t have to be separated, and they quickly landed in an exceptionally caring environment where they adjusted perfectly, for the family who once again had the joy of living with a golden ( in this case double the joy) and a Luna brother to boot! As for me, I felt greatly relieved that these senior dogs would be well cared for in a forever home. I would see Dee, Colin, and the dogs around town every once in a while, and all was well.
In early July of this year 14-year old Morgan passed away of old age. He was the last surviving pup of Chelsea Aurora, my very first golden love, and his death marked the end of an era. I was quite fortunate to visit with him just a week before he passed. What a beautiful, sweet, well-tempered boy he was and a stunning look alike for my Uno, his half sister, who passed last April at the age of 16. I wondered how Dee ever got anything done. I would have been perpetually running my fingers through his thick , silky golden coat tipped with silver. Dee and Don were masterful at managing Morgan’s and Hunter’s senior needs— premium food appropriate for the aging Golden, just the right exercise, a purpose (Luna, Morgan and Hunter had spent a lot of time as “literacy” dogs, mascots at their local library), and tons of love. I can’t think of any Golden who wouldn’t leap at the chance to come back as one of their precious family.