I met Morgan for the first time at my first visit to Kingston Road Animal Hospital in early 2002 for a job interview. I recall taking a few breaths before crossing the threshold of the hospital’s door. As a sill-in-school candidate for an associate position trying to make a good impression, I kept my guard up at all times. Chin up, shoulders back, and colourful chit-chat with the staff.
After a brief tour I was summoned upstairs to see the practice owner. What will I think of him? What will he think of me? No doubt I was nervous and tense.
Up the staircase I went. I could hear scraping in the distance upstairs and the distinct tap of floor contact, but at a very lazy pace. That was odd. If that was the interviewer I’d have guessed he or she was really big. Or, really tired, and not too excited about my visit.
Dr Morris Samson met me at the top of the stairs and we introduced each other. His build and his shoes didn’t match what I heard. It must’ve been entirely in my head.
To the kitchen we went, and the interview commenced. Questions were dutifully followed by answers, back and forth.
Some time into the session, I heard the same scraping and floor tapping, and it was approaching us. In sauntered a 100+ pound black lab who approached me with interested curiosity, tail wagging side to side. “Hi big guy,” I said as I rubbed his head and ears “who are you?”
“This is Morgan,” Morris replied, “he’s my dog and he stays with me here at the hospital”
It didn’t take long for Morgan to accept me. The moment I stopped patting him, he nudged my hand with his head as if saying “I didn’t tell you to stop”. I smiled as I continued to rub his belly.
The interview became a discussion of different topics, politics, hobbies, goals, and such. On the way home I had a good feeling inside.
Months later I asked Morris what helped him decide to hire me over other candidates. He replied that there were several reasons. “What was the clincher?” I asked. “You passed the Morgan test” he replied. “He liked you and that was the rest of what I needed”
Morgan helped open a door for me and into a new-grad associate position at Kingston Road Animal Hospital.
Morgan meant a lot to me. Over the next ten years, he was a permanent fixture at the Hospital. He was the clinic greeter, entertainer, lounger, footwarmer, relationship-maker and comforter to saddened clients of ill patients. He knew what to be, where to be, and how to be. He also knew when it was time to be fed. Always.
Morgan’s passing in July 2012 was difficult for everyone. The void of silence hit us all hard. His food dishes still sit empty the little feeding nook in the kitchen.
Though he’s no longer with us, I still think of him hovering beside me as I sit in the kitchen chair, arm draped over the armrest, waiting to be nudged by a head.