In August 2008 we lost one of the best and most loyal friends we ever had. Mocha was our chocolate lab who had shared 12 of his 13 years with us. We rescued him in 1997 from a family that wanted a cute puppy but had no idea how to deal with a large and unmanageable bundle of energy a year later. Mocha and Kathy attended obedience school together, with neither of us truly mastering the concept. Mocha, like Bradley, always marched to his own tune, often crossing the line but never getting into serious trouble. He accompanied us on hundreds of hikes and in his youth loved to accompany us when we went horseback riding. He had a special gait, the "Mocha trot" which he seemingly could do all day. He was happiest when he was in the woods, exploring, sniffing, and "hunting". After years of chasing deer and geese to no avail, he finally discovered a quarry he could catch - turtles! During "turtle season", he would inevitably disappear from the trail and emerge several minutes later with a box turtle held gently in his mouth. Tail held high he would proudly carry that turtle until we made him put it down.
Mocha was not your normal lab. He had no interest in playing or retrieving - such silliness was beneath him. You could see the disdain in his eyes when he observed silly dogs (like his brother Jordan) chasing balls or playing tug. But Mocha was a lover - he was made to be petted and was a world class cuddler. He could hike for hours on end, but then would sleep soundly for hours. When he was comfortable, nothing would disturb him.
He was also a wanderer - he was a self-appointed ambassador in our neighborhood, taking it upon himself to visit all the neighbors, often getting himself invited in for a visit. We met many a neighbor because of Mocha! No matter how hard we tried to secure doors and lock gates, he was like Houdini when he got the urge for a walkabout. Anyone who has had the good fortune to have a long term friend like Mocha knows how lucky we were and also knows how difficult it is when the end comes. We wish Mocha all the best on his next great adventure - a walkabout in parts unknown.
If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience. ~Woodrow Wilson
If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them. ~Phil Pastoret
I talk to him when I'm lonesome like; and I'm sure he understands. When he looks at me so attentively, and gently licks my hands; then he rubs his nose on my tailored clothes, but I never say naught thereat. For the good Lord knows I can buy more clothes, but never a friend like that. ~W. Dayton Wedgefarth
Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really. ~Agnes Sligh Turnbull