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Sue R

Megan 26 August 2002 - 25 March 2019

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Megan was never meant to be our dog. We were not looking for another dog. We already had two dogs, MacLeod (our 11 year old Aussie) and Celt (my 6 month old Border Collie pup). So when the vet tech at the practice we used asked me if we might be interested in a 9 month old bitch that needed rehoming, I told her that I appreciated her thinking of us but I definitely was not interested. And that, I thought, was that.

I knew the backstory – the vet tech, who had Golden Retrievers, had decided she wanted a Border Collie, working-bred, and found a breeder in Tennessee via the internet. She and a friend drove down to pick up her pup (she named her Sadie) and there was one last pup left in the litter, another bitch. Her big teddy-bear of a friend impulsively purchased that last pup on the spot and named her Morgan.

The young man who bought Morgan had Labrador Retrievers, real couch potatoes. Morgan was not like his other dogs. Without a fenced yard and with him working full-time, Morgan found herself crated a great deal of the time, only getting some real run-and-play time when they occasionally went to the park. Her owner was caring and realized he was not providing her with the environment she needed, and compassionately chose to rehome her, and that’s when his vet tech friend proposed to me that we consider adopting her.

Since I had said “no” to this, I put it out of my mind. Our daughter Laura and I were going to go to Virginia to the Oatlands Sheepdog Trial, driving down on the Friday, watching the trial on Saturday, and coming home Saturday evening, and spending Friday night camping out in the back of my van. But the weather gods did not cooperate and it began pouring on Friday, with severe rain and thunderstorms predicted for Saturday (I seem to recall they actually cancelled Sunday’s trial which is sort of unheard of in sheepdog trial circles, once an event has begun). That just would not work with us camping in the van so we cancelled our plans to go on Friday afternoon.

And that forced my husband’s hand. He had to confess to a forbidden liaison that he and our daughter Lisa had arranged for Saturday morning, when I would be far gone and the coast would be clear for the day and their scheme…

That is how we found ourselves in the parking lot of Little Sandy’s in Bruceton on Saturday morning, meeting and greeting (with Celt along) what would have been a pretty, dainty little black-and-white bitch, Morgan. “Would have been” because she was crooked-legged in front; built like a plump sausage in the body; and possessed of a totally naked tail. All that time crated was not kind to her skeleton, her fitness (she had none), or her tail (she had developed the bad habit of hair-pulling and had pulled out any hair in her tail that was long enough for her to grip). But she had a pretty face, deep-brown eyes, cute tipped ears (they were set, as her sister’s had been), and a humble, sweet, “love me” attitude.

So while Ed went off to a work meeting that day, Morgan came home with Laura, Celt, and me. We played a bit of fetch with the Chuck-It in the field opposite the house. She loved it as much as Celt did, and she was a great fetcher, which Celt wasn’t. Then we introduced her to Mac, who was, as always, the benevolent patriarch. I had to head to town for a meeting of my own and made sure to leave early enough to purchase a crate, a collar, a leash, and a dinner bowl for Morgan. I know that once she’d crossed our threshold, she would be here to stay.

When Ed got home that evening, I told him something had to change – I wanted the new dog to be called Megan, not Morgan, and that was precisely what he had thought himself, so we were in agreement.

It’s been almost 16 years since that day in May 2003, and we never regretted bringing her home for one instant. Megan always had a love of life – she’d go outside and stand with her nose in the wind, just savoring the scents on the breezes. She loved her “happy rolls” in the grass or the snow, followed by her “happy shake”. She was crazy about water – hose water, sprinkler water, stream water, any form of moving water. She was a natural swimmer so we had to watch her as she would take off swimming in the tidal creek by the old family farm in North Carolina and just head downstream. She was a fetch-a-holic with the ball, flying squirrel, or frisbee, always bringing it right back to my hand or feet. She could be a little bitchy and the fun police around certain dogs but around people, she was a love. She was kind to cats, always wanting to be a friend (and sniff their breath to see if they had something good to eat). She really loved men, especially Ed and our son John (who threatened multiple times to steal her from us). And she really, really, really loved babies and children, the smaller and younger, the better. She enjoyed getting dressed up for Halloween or other fun times, like therapy dog visits to the rehab facility. And she enjoyed agility or anything that would involve interaction with her people.

 

Working-bred? Maybe, but not well-bred! She still helped with managing our cattle and, the one summer when Celt was laid up with an injury, Bute had just passed away, and Dan was still a pup, she filled in to do the moving of cattle from field to field and across the road. And she did that even though she was functionally deaf by that time. I would point where I wanted her to go and she would go there, look at me, and then move to wherever I pointed next, combining my visual instructions with her instincts. It worked and got the job done.

Megan was always very responsive to her people so, when she was about five years old and she began to not respond to our recalls, I began to wonder. She would be looking at me from a distance, ears up, alert, apparently waiting for me call or whistle, but not responding. This seemed to get more and more obvious and pronounced over the next two years and when I had her BAER tested, she was found to be deaf. She had Early Onset Adult Deafness. If she was close enough, I could stamp my feet and she could feel that but eventually I had to put her on a long leash when we walked because she would sniff and snoop (which she loved) and I could not keep her close enough to me for safety otherwise.

Four years ago, Megan was diagnosed with kidney failure, and I cried because I thought it was a death sentence. However, with help from a group of people involved with kidney failure dogs and being able to make her a customized home-made diet, she had four more very good, active, happy years. She lost a bit of weight over that time but was still able to do three mile walks up until late last spring, when she finally began to slow down. At late as last week, she could still do an occasional two mile walk, and did at least two miles daily. In fact, Friday was a very good day for her, just as normal as she has been for the last several years.

Then, Saturday morning, she didn’t finish her meal, although she did finish it later in the morning. She’s been a great eater all winter but I had noticed that last week, several times, she didn’t lick her bowl clean until after her walk. I thought maybe it was the warmer weather but now, looking back, I think things inside were beginning to deteriorate. Saturday evening, she ate nothing but her meat. Sunday, she would not eat anything, and she became very weak, having a hard time keeping her balance when she was up. By Sunday evening, we had to carry her outside to do her business, and she could only walk a few steps on her own. She was looking worried and concerned, had lost interest in those things that were always important to her, and we wondered if she was in pain or discomfort.

We made the decision to ease her out of this life, out of any pain, out of any worry, this morning and she passed on with Ed, me, Holly, and a compassionate vet at her side, stroking her and letting her know how much we loved her and that it was okay for her to move on.

Megan cropped 2.jpg

NC_trip_2013_023.JPG

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I'm so sorry to read this, Sue. It's always too early to loose a good dog.

You've written a very lovely tribute to Megan. If there's a heaven, Megan will be waiting there to meet you and your family to guide you all into the next life as you did for her all those years ago.

Dogspeed, sweet Megan.

roxanne

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14 hours ago, Bill Orr said:

Peace to you and Megan.

Thank you, Bill. I remember meeting you years ago at Keepstone at one of the first trials I ever attended, and you were so welcoming and friendly. I thought you'd moved to the West Coast. If you are now back East to stay, maybe we'll get to say hello once again. 

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9 hours ago, GentleLake said:

I'm so sorry to read this, Sue. It's always too early to loose a good dog.

You've written a very lovely tribute to Megan. If there's a heaven, Megan will be waiting there to meet you and your family to guide you all into the next life as you did for her all those years ago.

Dogspeed, sweet Megan.

roxanne

Thank you, Roxanne. She was always very fond of our son, John, who passed away just six months ago this coming Friday. We like to think they are enjoying each other's company once again, although she is probably bossing his Sheltie, Compa, around like she used to do...

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So sorry to hear you have lost such a special dog, Sue. What a lovely tribute you have written to her; I enjoyed every word of it. Megan was a beautiful dog and she was very lucky to have had you for her person. Dogspeed, Megan.

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15 minutes ago, D'Elle said:

So sorry to hear you have lost such a special dog, Sue. What a lovely tribute you have written to her; I enjoyed every word of it. Megan was a beautiful dog and she was very lucky to have had you for her person. Dogspeed, Megan.

Thank you, D'Elle. It is special to be able to share the good times and know others understand the bad times. 

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