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7 Life Lessons I Learned From Morgan



This is my running buddy Morgan. This was taken after we ran 5 miles on the mountain trails of Colorado…in –15 wind chill weather! Yep, we flunked that IQ test…

Morgan has run over 3,500 miles with me on some of the gnarliest singletrack trails in North America.

We rescued Morgan from an animal shelter. I think because of that she demonstrates her gratitude in every way she knows how to. She has been an amazing source of inspiration and wonderment over the years. I’ve learned so much from her. I am so very grateful she has been in my life over the last 8 years.

This past summer I was really bummed when she started to slow down. As soon as the heat set in she couldn’t even run a mile without falling behind. While I didn’t want to leave her at home when I ran, I knew I had to. I knew she would have literally run herself to death. Seeing the look in her eyes as she watched me lace up my running shoes, knowing that she couldn’t go, just crushed me.

As the air started to cool this fall I thought I’d give it another shot. Sure enough, she responded beautifully! We have had many great runs in almost any kind of weather you can image since then – including the 5 mile run in –15 degree weather. She is simply amazing!

During a run with her this past week it struck me that I have learned so many lessons from her. I wanted to share these with you.

  • Loyalty means putting the other one first. I think that dogs get the Golden Rule better than humans! Maybe it’s their “Golden Retriever Rule.”
  • Enthusiasm always wins! When I tell Morgan that we are going for a run she literally jumps up and down (really high) until I put her on the leash. She is so very excited…like we should be more often!
  • Cover each other’s back. I let Morgan off her leash when we hit the trail head. She ALWAYS goes ahead of me and checks out the trail to make sure it’s safe. She ALWAYS has my back…and I certainly have hers.
  • Blaze the trail for one another. Sometimes we have to take turns breaking trail if the snow is deep. She carries the load and then I do. It’ soooo much easier with two!
  • A good leader only cares about his/her followers. Morgan is a great leader. She ONLY cares about my well being when we are out in the wilderness. She is the ultimate selfless leader. Think we can elect a dog to Congress?
  • Scratch my ears and all is right with the world. We could all spend more time scratching our loved one’s ears. Well, that would be weird. How about we just give out more hugs?
  • Roll in the snow! This is kinda like stopping to smell the roses…just colder and more fun! Morgan LOVES to roll in the snow to cool off as we run. She will burrow through the snow and then roll on her back and do the equivalent of the “Doggie Worm Dance” (remember Animal House?). The look on her face is pure joy. I swear she’s thinking – “Wow! It is so great to be alive!”

I know that Morgan won’t be able to run with me this summer…and maybe longer in the coming years. Rest assured, every mile we traveled together will stay etched in my mind forever…as will my love for her. She has taught me so much…


It’s time to find some snow to roll around in!


© 2013 and beyond Drayton Boylston. All rights reserved.

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  • Katherine Nemecek

    I am not a runner but I do walk and have a great pet that cannot wait for me to put the leash on him. He is ready to go. He gets so excited and waits at the door. What a great companion he is to me. I have had him for over 14 years. I know that he will not be with me in the years to come, but I too will remember all that we have been through.

    • http://www.draytonboylston.com/ A. Drayton Boylston

      Beautiful words Katherine! I know his spirit will continue to live within you for years to come. Such a gift…

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