Morgan was conceived of carefully, speculated, thought. Her breed was specifically chosen because of her good natured temperament and reputation for being good with children. She is half Golden Retriever and half Yellow Labrador. As if casting a spell to the winds, we spoke of her place in our home. This was to be our future son or daughter's dog. We were not even pregnant with Max yet.
One day an old girlfriend of mine called me up and asked me if I wanted one of her pups. Of course, it was exactly the dog we had summoned. So came Morgan into the world.
Morgan was about a year and a half when Max was born. She was very tentative around him, always gentle. As Max grew, he was able to touch Morgan and delighted in the feel of her fur. He giggled when she licked him. He snuggled with her and used her as a backrest while he drank from his bottle and a bond was forged.
Now that Max is older, in the absence of other siblings, Morgan has become Max's primary playmate and constant companion, second only to me. The two of them play together, like two bear cubs. They wrestle, growl, tackle, chase and explore the backyard together. They hunt for lizards as a team. Morgan runs around to the gate and barks at passersby and Max barks at them too.
Max grabs hold of Morgan's collar and drags her all around the house and yard. He gets quite frustrated when she breaks free from his controlling hold on her, as Morgan is much stronger than Max. He complains to me and he yells at her. One of their favorite pastimes is playing with the hose. Morgan barks and jumps at the water and Max makes sure that Morgan is soaked. Both of them squeal like little piggies, having so much fun. Sometimes Max convinces Morgan to step into one of his playhouses, where he quickly shows his true nature, trapping her and locking her in. She takes it all in stride.
The downside of all this is that Morgan has taken quite a bit of toddler abuse. She has weathered being attacked by anything remotely resembling a sword...sticks, brooms, stakes, kitchen utensils, hair brushes and actual toy swords. Morgan can definitely hold her own when they're wrestling around on the floor. She gets ahold of Max with her mouth and shows him a thing or two, but always gently soft-mouthing. She's also pretty good at pinning him down. Teaching Max that it's not okay to hit the doggie is something I'm tasked with on a daily basis. It's not easy to differentiate between the kind of rough, reciprocal play they BOTH enjoy so well and a smack to the head or back. Poor Morgan.