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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Saying Goodbye to My Best Friend

Morrison always loved truck rides.
This is a purely personal post that I'm writing and sharing as a therapeutic exercise for myself. If you're not inclined to reading stories about dogs, skip over this post.

Somewhere around 2008 Denise (my partner at the time) and I started volunteering our Sunday afternoons to walk dogs at Harvest Hills Animal Shelter. We were both dog lovers but agreed that getting a dog of our own wasn't practical at the time. In 2010 Morrison arrived at the shelter. He was an older dog then (somewhere between 8 and 10) and a little stand-offish with strangers. For some reason though, he got attached to me quickly. Older dogs have the hardest time getting adopted out so he was there for months. Every week when Denise and I arrived, he got excited and loved to play fetch in the large (1/2 acre+) pens at the shelter. Finally, after months of seeing Morrison and seeing me have a very hard time leaving him Denise caved and I brought Morrison home to live with us. On that day I posted on Facebook, "after 32 years of waiting, I finally have my own dog!"

As I mentioned, Morrison was an older dog when I adopted him. He was intensely loyal to me, to Denise, and to anyone else that he deemed trustworthy. He was never far from me in my house, in my yard, or anywhere else we went. When we went camping as part of a 10,000 mile roadtrip to Alberta, British Columbia, and Montana Morrison always slept next to me and didn't settle down until he knew that everything was safe. Morrison saw more of North America than many humans I know.

Morrison saw me through the darkest days of my life in 2011 and I can say with near certainty that without him I may not be here today (please, if you're feeling depressed and overwhelmed, ask for help). Morrison celebrated many of the best moments of my life too. He "high fived" me on the day that I figured out that I would earn enough money to leave my full-time position and go out on my own as a consultant/ blogger/ part-time teacher. He was also a very fine judge of character who, in his own way, gave me advice on women I met after Denise and I separated (btw, we're still great friends and she came with me to say goodbye to him yesterday).

Morrison peacefully passed away yesterday. I'm going to miss my best friend terribly.


If you're considering getting a dog of your own, please consider adopting an older dog. The years you have with him or her may be shorter than you like, but the years you do have will be fuller for it.

Thank you to the wonderful staff of Bridgton Veterinary Hospital (Bridgton, Maine) for all of the great patience and care you gave to Morrison over the years, especially this last year as his health declined but his spirits never did. Thank you to my good friend Sara for her advice and support over the last month as Morrison's health declined (Sara, when we met 20+ years ago who knew we'd be counseling each other on things like this). Thank you to all of you who have asked about Morrison over the years. Finally, thank you to Denise who gave me and Morrison more kindness, comfort, and support than I deserved (Morrison deserved it all).