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How a Puppy Taught Me to Trust My Gut

JP on his last day with us. He was licking his chops, getting up the very last drops of chicken from his special lunch of chicken and green beans.
JP on his last day with us. He was licking his chops, getting up the very last drops of chicken from his special lunch of chicken and green beans.

I didn’t blog about it at the time, but back in July of this year we lost our 13 year-old dachshund, JP Morgan, Sr.

JP and I shared a birthday.

He was just one year younger than my parrot, Pearl.

Like the rest of his family, he enjoyed naps, walking slowly, watching TV and eating.

He also loved people.

He wasn’t super crazy about other dogs, but man oh man did he crave the company of people! When my mom would take him out for a walk, he would stop when he saw a person walk by and refuse to move until that person (even if they were a total stranger) came over to give him a pat.

If ever I have met an animal whose sole purpose was to love and be loved, it was Morgan.

He went into a decline quite rapidly, losing the use of his hind legs, then his back half and all the functions that go with it. With surgery out of the question (long story) and cancer, an enlarged heart and other assorted ills already present, the kindest choice seemed to be to assist him to depart.

But this was quite a difficult choice for his little human family to make!

As fate would have it, I had just begun reading a series of books by Marta Williams, an environmental biologist-turned animal communicator (I started with “Learning Their Language: Intuitive Communication with Animals and Nature“).

I had no idea I would end up calling Marta just a few weeks later for help connecting with JP in his final week. I just knew the book title intrigued me and the idea of being able to somehow intuitively communicate with the non-human world tugged at my heart strings.

When I emailed Marta, we had no idea what to expect.  

I just told her the situation was somewhat urgent and we wanted Morgan to be able to participate in our conversation about next steps and would she help us with that?

Marta responded quickly, and before I knew it, my folks and Morgan and I were on a conference call with her. We shared our questions with her, and she shared them with Morgan, who responded intuitively through Marta, who then shared his responses with us.

It was a really beautiful experience. We spent about an hour on the phone. When the call ended, the mood in the room had turned from gloom and teary heartbreak to peace and – odd to say this, but – hope.

We did then choose to assist Morgan to depart, as he continued to decline even more rapidly after the call. But during the call he told us he wanted the chance to say goodbye to all the people who loved him.

So my folks gathered him up into the car that very night and drove him all over the neighborhood, stopping to knock on doors and share that they were celebrating Morgan’s life and would the person come out to give Morgan a kiss and a pat and say goodbye?

My mom said everyone she asked nearly knocked her down running out to the car to give him kisses and pats. Many people cried. As word spread, we were also flooded with notes and cards and sweet messages on social media and email. A friend of the family made him a special dinner of ribs – one of his (many) favorite dishes.

After Morgan’s appointment with his longtime vet, our first stop was the animal rescue shelter, where we visited with the rescued dogs and donated some of Morgan’s things to the shelter.

JP Morgan, Jr., on his first day home with us.
JP Morgan, Jr., on his first day home with us.

And not even three weeks later, we brought home a new puppy.

It may just be us, but this puppy is in some ways the spitting image of Morgan when he was a puppy (this is not an easy feat – Morgan was a wire-haired standard purebred dachshund who turned out to have a smooth coat).

Like Morgan, this puppy also has a very extroverted, loving personality.

And when the three of us talked about names, we all three independently came up with “JP Morgan, Jr.”.*

He does the same funny kicking thing with his back leg when he is patted underneath his chin. And he, too, is a wire-haired standard dachshund with a coat that turned out smooth.

Looking at him during the four-hour car ride home, I was mesmerized by his calmness – how he flopped down, seemingly without a care in the world, and went to sleep – just like JP Morgan, Sr., used to do.

At 7 weeks old, he had just said goodbye to his mom and three litter mates and the only people he had ever met to travel to a different city to live with more people he had only just met that very same day!

But there he was, snoozing comfortably on my dad’s (and then my mom’s) lap….totally trusting that his every need would be taken care of.

In contrast, nearly every day I wake up to my regular laundry list of daily worries.

Money….health…..and money……..relationships….oh, and money….

Translated, I would say my daily worry is basically “Will I have what I need when I need it?”

JP Morgan, Jr., is 7 weeks old and he already knows the answer to this question is “yes.”

He knows this because, thus far in his 7 weeks on this planet, he has always had exactly what he needed when he needed it. Love, food, water, companionship, medical care, grooming, family, fun – there is no shortage of any of life’s necessities in little Morgan, Jr.’s, life.

I am turning 45 this year, and I, too, have basically had everything I ever needed when I really needed it. Yet I continue to worry daily that this may not continue to be the case.

I know the title of this blog post is “How a Puppy Taught Me to Trust My Gut.” But to be honest, that title is still more like a work-in-progress, because old worries (apparently) die hard. But I am trying.

Watching Morgan – first Sr. and now Jr. – makes me that much more aware of how needless, senseless and, really, useless my daily worrying is.

First step – awareness.

Second step – transformation.

Today’s Takeaway: Do you have anyone in your life – human, non-human – who helps you worry less about the things you worry about most? Who helps you? How do they help you? What lesson(s) do you most hope you learn from them to ease worry and increase joy and trust in your life?

*My folks later re-named our new little guy “Flash Gordon” – which is a perfect fit for the white “flash” of fur on his chest and his emerging go-get-em personality. Happily, Flash seems to like his new name a lot too. 🙂

How a Puppy Taught Me to Trust My Gut

Shannon Cutts

Parrot, tortoise & box turtle mama. Writer. Author. Songwriter. Champion of all people (and things) recovered and recovering.

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APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2015). How a Puppy Taught Me to Trust My Gut. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 15, 2020, from


Last updated: 4 Sep 2015
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