Dog Walks with Mo

dog sitting on a couch

Since the lock down, it has been reported that many people have been acquiring pets. While empty shelters and loving homes is good news, I hope that these decisions have been fully considered. Caring for a dog can be a 10-15 year commitment and the costs of food, veterinary care and time can be considerable. Pets deserve forever homes.

Mo, a beagle-mix, came into our lives just a few days after we lost our dog Shiba to canine paralysis. It was summertime and Mo had been living outside in a shed. Her previous owner had moved and said she couldn’t keep a dog in the home due to allergies. When Mo first came to live with us, she was terrified to go in the backyard. There was a playhouse back there and I think she worried that it would be her new dog house. It wasn’t. She has had full range of our home and our hearts.

Mo had previously undisclosed health conditions that required veterinary care. She also had a number of behavioral issues that required dog training classes and a good dose of patience. She remains a noisy barker at times (squirrel!) and is quite critical when it comes to my daughters’ partners.

Mo came to us as a high-energy dog with the oversized chest of a running dog. She has kept us busy with walks. I am not a morning person so my husband takes care of the early outings. I get the evening shift. Mo never lets me forget it. She starts pacing around my desk when I am late.

Mo helped me to rediscover urban nature. We made many circuits of the walking trails in the nearby park. We have found neighborhood paths that I didn’t know about before. We have enjoyed all-season garden and holiday light tours of the neighborhood.

Being out at night has allowed me to experience the most beautiful sunsets. It has reacquainted me with the stars and the moon. Together Mo and I have experienced warm summer breezes, rain and cold winter winds. Mona reminded me that grass and flowers were meant to be smelled and not just seen.

smiling dog
take me for a walk look

When she was younger, Mo would jump in and out of deep snowbanks as we traveled down the street together. Mo loved it. I felt the joy in her face and in her stride. While I was chilled, she marveled at the snow.

I am thankful for the times I have had with all of our dogs. Their love of the earth lured me out to the garden. Their quiet presences gave me the comfort to peacefully explore the green spaces in yards, parks and other spaces in the neighborhoods where we have lived. Their need to be out gave me the excuse of time needed to clear paths and weed garden beds. Their love of green inspired me to plant and to grow.

Mo hasn’t been doing so well lately. I noticed a limp shortly after the lockdown in March. Several consults, a recent medical diagnostic procedure and a plethora of meds later, we are still hoping for the best. We continue our daily walks though they are a bit shorter and slower and we need extra caution on the stairs.

One positive sign is that Mo continues to remind me when it is time to head out. We will get her leash in a few minutes so we can reconnect to the sights, sounds and smells of earth and the quiet winter sky. Without her reminders to get out and breathe, I would miss these wonders and more. A dog’s love is boundless but their lives are all too short. May Mo’s loving presence and spirit continue to bother me into action today and in times to come.

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