“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
A.A. Milne, creator of Winnie-the-Pooh, outlines the treasured friendship between Pooh and Piglet. This November, Milne’s quote resonated with me when my family and I said goodbye to my dog, Morgan. The connection that Morgan and I shared comprised loyalty and love that I’ll always cherish. I write this post not to dwell on her passing but to celebrate our friendship.
My family rescued Morgan when I was in second grade, and she was only one year old. When we first met her at the foster home, she was extremely timid and hid from us on the top of the steps. One would think that a family would steer away from adoption, but we desired to give her a loving home. When she came home with us for the first time, she was anxious and distanced herself. After about a week, we gained her trust, forming a connection like that of Pooh and Piglet: Built on authenticity and companionship.
Throughout our years together, I encountered every one of Morgan’s personalities. I learned she was playful, mischievous, lazy, and plain goofy. I can affirm that these qualities made Morgan so lovable.
One of my favorite memories with Morgan was traveling to the Jersey Shore in the summer. She enjoyed coming to her vacation home because that meant she would spend even more time with her family. Since our condominium is on the third floor, she didn’t have easy access outdoors like home. As a result, we went on multiple walks a day, which Morgan loved; we strolled the beach and trotted along the shoreline. She never particularly liked dipping her paws in the water that much, though.
Not only would we spend our summers at the shore, but my twin sister Jordan, Morgan, and I would also visit our grandmother almost every day when we were younger. Our favorite food to share was waffles. Morgan especially loved when a scoop of vanilla ice cream was included.
Additionally, Jordan and I would take pieces of leftover waffles to play hide-and-seek with her. We hid behind beds and inside closets while Morgan looked for us. When she was stuck, we would give her a hint by tossing a piece of waffle into the open. After she found us, we all celebrated by huddling together and petting her.
One of our favorite memories came every year on Thanksgiving Day. Morgan was our primary focus as we gathered to watch The National Dog Show on NBC, always telling her that she would win. Many of my cherished memories with her are simple ones like these; our sense of humor made our friendship treasurable.
The number of days there were until Jordan and I left for our first year of college dwindled. The house started overflowing with storage bins and blue IKEA bags. Soon, the dreaded day arrived when I had to say goodbye to her. Although I couldn’t wait until I settled in at my dream school, I didn’t want to experience life without my best friend.
The first year of college was challenging for our entire family. We didn’t see each other nearly as often, and our everyday interactions transitioned to iMessage. For Morgan, it was even more difficult. My parents said that she showed loneliness, losing most of her personality.
Returning home for summer was thrilling. I couldn’t wait to see my friends, family, and Morgan. The countdown was over, and it was finally time to experience our favorite season together. After spending an interminable amount of time away from each other, this summer would be the greatest.
Throughout our summer activities, I noticed that Morgan wasn’t acting like herself. I recognized that this could be from age, as she was thirteen years old: her movements were slower, and the size of her stomach was increasing. Despite these symptoms, her personality prevailed, and she was still the dog that I knew her to be.
My mom took her to the veterinarian for a check-up one day, following with some bad news: Morgan’s blood tests were concerning, and she had a mass in her stomach that signified cancer. My family was devastated, but we regained hope when her health improved from her chemotherapy treatment. Morgan was rejuvenated, acting as a puppy. My family joked that she jumped into the fountain of youth. She would get the zoomies, run back and forth through the house, and fly down the stairs.
As the veterinarian predicted, her health declined as Thanksgiving approached. Jordan and I returned from school and spent as much time as possible with her.
I wish to celebrate Morgan’s life by sharing our countless memories together. Winnie-the-Pooh’s description of friendship perfectly reflects the bond between Morgan and me; though she was my hardest goodbye, the sense of both loyalty and love we shared serves as a remedy. People say that a dog is a man’s best friend, and I can confirm this to be true.