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Poor Morgan can't catch a break -- hopefully it's good luck from here!!

Click on the logo below to fill out an adoption application!


Click here for app

I received the following email in Aug 08 --

"Dear Eric

Attached is a picture of the Pitbull someone took as the place looks to be abandoned. The dog is in good flesh in my opinion but its dog house is no good -- stilts that make it tooo high for him to use in my opinion. Plus, his food and water bowls are always empty and no one is ever home."

"I have had a multitude of calls for this animal but since this is the reservation, I have no jurisdiction to help him. Now that he is technically a stray, can you help him?"

At left is Morgan's "home" --

-- well, what do you do in a situation like this?

I took him.

Over the next months, I got to know this boy -- and named him Morgan, after a dear friend in Arkansas who passed unexpectedly in 2008.

Morgan was everything a great dog should be -- gentle, attentive, loving and very eager to please.

He gained some confidence, and before you knew it, he was up for adoption!

One thing that always struck me funny, though -- it always took him a long time to poop -- :|

So, here's our boy's Petfinder posting -- showing how regal and sweet he really is.

I love his perk-ears, and his deep almond eyes --

The sad thing about fostering adults is how attached I get to them -- sure, I love the puppies, but the adults grab my heart more -- they have something deeper to tell -- whether it be a difficult past, an abusive "owner", a drunk "caregiver" -- whatever -- and it shows on their face.

My response to them is, "I know you have had a hard run, and I will make sure to it that you never, ever go through such pain again."

A big part in fulfilling that promise is getting pups like Morgan the BEST of homes -- who will never neglect, abuse or forsake him -- period.

That's a tall order, mind you.

Well, come November 23rd, Jo noticed Morgan threw up his prior night's dinner, and he was wobbly when he walked -- :(

He clearly was in poor spirits, and in came my "I promise you..." speech to Morgan --

-- and off to the veterinarian we went.

It's funny, the panic that kicks in on the way to the vet -- I had always known Morgan to be a robust young pup --

-- but on the night of our vet visit, I found him frail and lethargic -- mostly due to his vomiting, which caused dehydration.

Morgan was passing before my eyes, and I felt sick.

We chose Dr. Fornes for our visit --

-- I remembered her as a traveling vet at a clinic from 7 years prior --

-- after she performed surgery on my beloved dog, I came in to visit him --

-- Dr. Fornes remarked to the tech, "Aww -- how nice for a guy to show such emotion and love for his dog" --

-- she had me.

Dr. Fornes' clinic is new -- and she is the only veterinarian there --

-- a large undertaking.

She did tell me she gave a rescue discount -- but reminded me that the bank doesn't give her any discounts, and that practice is a big endeavor -- !!

So, here's Morgan in the exam room --

-- upset.

Dr. Fornes weighed him in at 44.5 lbs., and did a complete blood count (CBC) on him --

-- he was so dehydrated that a lot of the values were in error, she said the poor boy must have a blistering headache from his dehydration -- :(

So, from there, she said she needed to keep him overnight -- she couldn't tell what was going on with him, but she was going to find out.

What I appreciated about Dr. is that she didn't say, "WOW -- you have a SICK dog here -- don't know if he's going to make it!!"

Instead, she said, "I am going to test many scientific hypotheses on this boy, and get to the root of his problem."

That, to me, is the mark of a true scientist -- and veterinarian.

Here is the first idea Dr. had -- blockage.

Since Morgan was throwing up, she thought something blocking him wasn't allowing his body ot work properly.

What she found was at the arrow -- nothing too much, because of his dehydrated state and almost no fat on his body -- :(

The next day, on my forum, I wrote --


"prayers for morgan please -- !!!

i fed morgan sunday night and noticed on monday morning that he threw up his dinner --

i kept an eye on him, and monday evening he seemed okay, but still a little shaky, so i decided to get him a vet appointment. he also drank water and threw it up. i spoke to dr. denise, and she said it sounded like an obstruction or something that he ate that disagreed with him.

i called locally, to dr. fornes, in boston ny, and they had a drop off appointment yesterday AM, which i didn't want, since i wanted to go with him.

so, yesterday afternoon dr. fornes took morgan in.

when dogs are dehydrating and throwing up, they lose weight very fast -- and it is upsetting --

dr. fornes started with x-rays and a complete blood panel. from the x-rays, she wasn't immediately able to see blockage. from the CBC, she ruled out the pancreas, but not the kidneys, but couldn't get good values because of his dehydration --

she put him on constant IVs for hydration, and penicillin, clavamox, an anti-vomiting med, and etc. also, she gave him something to calm his stomach. he spent the night in their icu --

this morning, i spoke with her, and she said he gained almost 2 lbs. of water weight, which was great. that's sort of where it ends. she said he vomited blood up, which could be from his upset stomach / increased acidity. also, she said he growled at the staff -- most likely because he's hurting and upset, and scared. morgan is the calmest, sweetest dog in the world.

also, she noticed last night, when observing him, that his head would occassionally bobble -- which i don't get -- nor does she.

she is going to x-ray him a couple more times today for blockage -- giving him barium first, and seeing how it goes through his system. also, she thinks maybe he's allergic to penicillin, so she's going to lay off of that.

she will do 2 lepto titers, to see if he potentially has lepto, too --

she hasn't ruled out a kidney issue.

she is a very good veterinarian, trying to piece everything together and to figure out what his issue is.

the odd thing is that sunday i had him out by the pond for a meet and greet with a couple that had a great dane mix, and he did wonderfully --

-- so, prayers to morgan. he came so far since the summer, where he was found living in a rabbit hutch on the indian res -- "

Well, after some inconclusive blood tests, Dr. tried a barium regimen with Morgan to try and get better films on what was really going on --

-- and BINGO, his blockage showed --

-- as Dr. Denise from the forum said, it was a "classic blockage" film.

So, the next thing for Dr. to do was surgery --

-- on Thanksgiving Eve.


I wrote on the forum --

"i just called the clinic and spoke with the receptionist -- they started surgery at 6:30 and it was 7:45 when i spoke to them --

he went and got a status update from the vet, and the vet found some bone fragments and a lot of string in his intestine --

i spoke to dr. denise and she said string can be very dangerous to the intestine, because it tries to pass it along, and what it does is pull the intestines together and even rips the bowel, causing death (i am not sure if i got all that right!)

anyway, the receptionist said the vet was upbeat that she'd have a positive outcome --

-- so, in a way, good news for now --"

then --

"i spoke to dr. denise tonight, and she said this surgery at her clinic would be north of $1,000 -- just the surgery --

it's all too uncanny that this happened exactly 1 year past the death of his namesake, susan morgan --

-- it's almost like the money doesn't matter -- or that it does really matter -- but more importantly, it's a test, to show how far we'll really go to save this boy --

-- and all we can really hope for is continuing this high level of personal care for this poor boy.

thank you."

And then --

"dr. fornes just called -- first off, i can only say, what a veterinarian she is -- such commitment and skill.

okay -- so morgan was sedated for 3 hours total, and she did surgery for two. she cut his stomach and intestines in 5 places --

what she found was a piece of string, like the consistency of dental floss, that originated in his stomach, and pieces of bone and such stuck on it, as it went through his intestine --

his intestine was bunched up and she said the procedure was very fragile, and his temp went down to 95 during the procedure --

she said she waited for the pain meds, just trying to get him through the procedure -- but now he's coming out of anesthesia a bit too slowly, so she's concerned --

she said the next 48 hours are critical to see if he gets septic -- or infection in his bloodstream from all the fluids and cutting --

she said she'll give him a cbc tomorrow to check for infection, and that he's on baytril and phasilin now -- antibiotics -- though dr. denise hasn't heard of phasilin -- i think i'm typoing it --

she is a great vet. she said she is going home to take her own dogs out, and is then coming back to the clinic to spend the night, to monitor dear morgan.

it's all very upsetting -- one piece of dental floss-like string --

prayers for morgan are still very much needed. she said without tonight's surgery, he would have passed in the next 24 hours, even with all the care she's giving him --"

Here is where Morgan's surgery was performed -- in a well-equipped, modern clinic --

-- THANK GOD -- !!


Next came in --

"dr. fornes just called -- she said morgan is doing GREAT!

she took his tube out last night at 10:30 (intubation)

she did a CBC this AM and his white levels are FINE -- no elevation --

he's on morphine, which she will take him off of shortly, to get his GI moving --

and she said his KIDNEY VALUES are back to NORMAL -- which she said is AMAZING!

she just hydrated him, and will try the slurry food tomorrow -- he has 5 incisions in his belly and intestine --

she said he's even TALKING to his fellow kennel-mates --

i tell you though, NOTHING meant more to me than to go in yesterday after work, prior his surgery, and to see a dog close to death, standing up to wag his tail and kiss me, and to accept my hugs.

it's all worth it -- and as dr. fornes said, "your dog is doing GREAT" -- "

Well, on Friday the 27th, I returned to pick up my boy --

-- a boy who had gone to the clinic scared and afraid --

-- and with a blistering headache.

-- and here's what I got --

-- in short,

HAPPY -- !!!

Here's Morgan's, "I'm okay -- let's go home, mmmkay" look -- !!

And here he is again, standing up, wagging, with the glimmer of life back in his eye -- !!

As he gets out of the kennel, he says with his tongue, "man, am I ever HUNGRY -- !!"

But before he runs off to search for food, he gives me that look --

-- that look of "thank you" that words can never express.

And I am thankful -- thankful for Morgan, thankful for Dr. Fornes, thankful for Dr. Denise and thankful that I knew enough to get care for this boy.

So next, he's off --

-- and like a boy-dog, he goes looking in the trash for food -- :D

Next, to the fridge --

-- nothin' -- !!

Not to sound like a queen, but FABULOUS floors here -- !!

And then, we lay out on the table what was in his stomach --

-- awful.

The large particles are bone fragments, etc. --

-- but what is very disturbing is the fishing line -- that sat in his stomach and intestines, binding him up -- :(

The fishing line pulled his intestines and stomach together, causing a mess, and ripped through his soft tissues -- :(

I don't have fishing line at my house -- nor poles, or anything near that.

Morgie had been a constipated pup since I got him, and from piecing the parts together (THANKS, ERICA!), we figured out he must have gotten this back in his rabbit hutch days --

-- which makes me more sad for this boy -- :(

I think maybe some idiot threw Morgie a raw fish once, with the line still in it, and Morgan ate it all --

-- yet the line didn't pass -- and almost killed him -- :(

But anyway, on to happier pastures --

-- don't forget, Morgie still wants to go HOME -- !!

So first off, he says his good-byes to his favorite tech --

-- and notice his TAIL-A-WAGGIN' -- !!

And here, he's ALLLLLL SMILLESSSS, baby -- !!

I do love it, how he is focused on me, his driver, to take him hime --

-- even as he gets a standing ovation here -- :D

And finally, it's time for lovin' on me --

-- which I gladly allow him.

Morgan has done really well in the past week since his recovery, and his 8" incision on his belly is now completely healed -- THANKFULLY!

It's odd, in the past week, I had someone reading my forum say, "Why would you spend $2,100 on THAT dog" --

-- a free dog, living in a rabbit hutch, who is a brindle, with hardly zero adoption possibility.

Well, to me, he IS very adoptable, and I am THANKFUL that I don't think like this person --

-- I told him he has no idea what Morgan means to me -- or how happy it makes me that he is better.

That, in itself, is worth much more than money.

So, if you're like I am, and you'd like to help with Morgan's bill, the vet's card is at the left, and you can call them on the "smilin' pit bull" account -- for Morgan.

Their number is 716-312-0300.

Also, you can support Morgan buy buying an spbr calendar, cookbook, waterbottle or whatever ails you!!

Also, sweet Morgan is available for adoption -- to only, obviously, the BEST of homes.

If you know you are worthy, we'd LOVE to hear from you!!!

Things I like in an application:

- Applicants who join our pit bull forum, at There, you'll find a small army of pit bull lovers -- 4,900 at the present -- !! For you, the adopter, you can learn about canine diet, pit bull temperaments, multi-dog households, and you can meet a nice group of people. For us, the rescuers, we can see your baby as they grow with you, hearing your stories about them and seeing pictures you post of them in their news lives -- win-win, right??!!
PLEASE DON'T IGNORE THIS PRE-REQUISITE -- it means a lot to us here -- !!
- Adult adopters, ready to be adults. People aware of the responsibility of a puppy, and aware this puppy will become an a medium-sized dog, with its own temperament and personality. Adult adopters who are ready for a 15 year commitment. This puppy does not have a depreciating "useful life" that is over when it becomes an adult -- instead, this dog's whole life is useful -- !!
- Owners who are aware of and who respect the pit bull temperament. This means people who know you can't "love" dog aggression out of their dogs -- instead, owners who are RESPONSIBLE with their pups -- crating them when unattended, supervising them with children, never leaving them outside unattended, and those who are ready for licks and lovin' in return! For more on dog aggression, click here.
- Adopters who treat their newest addition like a member of the family, realizing that this isn't a "dog in the box" and that its little life must be encouraged to go the right path and that obedience, socialization and training will get her there -- !!

- Financial commitment. Adopters willing to spend money on their new investment, including premium foods (like Candidae, Wellness, Nutro or raw food), plus adopters who will invest in pet insurance or a "dog fund", lest vetting be required, which may get expensive.

The adoption fee is $295 per dog. This is reasonable, considering the premium services that each pup gets. Each dog, before placement, is examined by a licensed veterinarian, spayed or neutered, wormed with premium wormer, given vaccinations on a regular basis (not just a one-shot deal), microchipped with a premium Home Again chip (made by Schering -Plough), fed premium raw food (not 'Ol Roy, or some other filler-laden junk) and has spent it's puppy fosterhood in a wonderful, attentive, CLEAN environment. There are 4-5 homes fostering these babies, and that is a LOT of logistics, driving, CARE, etc. -- but it's entirely worth it! Also, each puppy is accompanied by a personal home visit to YOUR home at placement, to ensure they're going to have the life of a king or queen -- !! If the home visit doesn't pass, puppy doesn't stay. This isn't some parking-lot-of-a-pet-store adoption scheme, instead, it's the highest-quality service I can provide for these young souls, as they journey off in to their lives. Note, too, we have had a recent increase in adoption fees, due to increased veterinary surgery rates.

- Smart and informed adopters, who research this breed and who realize that these pups are not for everyone. Pit bull temperament can be Googled, and a great start can be found here.


Things I shy away from in an application:

- Youth -- sorry kids -- this is a living being, not an iPod!! Young peoples' lives change a lot, and the first thing to get dumped is usually the dog, whether it be on their parents, a friend, etc., who are oftentimes ill-equipped and disinterested in this four-legged life -- then, the dumping or neglect begins.
- Renters. I get calls all the time saying, "Please take my dog -- I moved in to an apartment that doesn't allow them." Ummm -- did you fall asleep in an apartment that allowed them, and then wake up at a new address, in an apartment that doesn't allow them? This isn't magic here -- it's responsibility, and dogs come first. Please don't lie on the application, either -- this will show up in the home-visit -- !!

- Multi-dog households. While I love having many pit bulls, quite a few people aren't ready for the commitment and responsibility it takes to sometimes crate their dogs, rotate them out of the crates and generally own them responsibly. When that happens, I get calls saying, "I have to get rid of one of my dogs ASAP." I can never understand why these people think their lack of planning is all of the sudden my emergency.

- Busy households. Sure, puppies are cute, and they're cuddly, and after they're bathed, they smell nice. But when they grow up in to dogs, and the busy household moves on to their new obsession, the dog, now needing obedience, love and affection, is dumped in the suburban sense. The dog may even live "out on the porch" -- people mention that to me like it's acceptable -- dogs are social beings, and will not flourish in situations of neglect!
- People that call me sounding like gangsters. It happens a lot -- and they never want a spayed or neutered dog. Sorry folks -- this is rescue, not a puppy mill, nor the "syndicate". Also, please don't bother me with requests for "papers" -- last time I checked, no people I knew had "papers", and that didn't make them any less a "person" -- !!