The Ones We Love

Mojo (aka The Moj) is traumatized when Laura drops a glass measuring cup (2 cup version) and it shatters all over the kitchen floor. It’s likely she will find pieces for days afterward, but she has to work in 45 minutes, go to the drug store, and now drop Mojo at my house until she has time to be certain every piece of glass is gone. She grabs the big pieces and vacuums everything else, knowing she’ll find more later, after work. She’d rather get shards of glass in her own feet than have Mojo get them in his paws.

Mojo and Laura

Mojo, a mostly-German-Shepard and part-Sheltie mix, gave Laura love and something other than her own problems to focus on when she needed it most. Ironically, she did the same for him. When she found him at the Humane Society, he was wasting away, sick, and in desperate need of love and companionship, of someone to take care of him. That’s exactly what they did for each other. He healed her, took care of her – all just by loving her and being grateful for her presence in his life. They saved each other.

            Running short on time, Laura tells Mojo to get in in the car. You’ve got to be kidding, flashes across Mojo’s face like words on a movie marquee. He doesn’t want to, hasn’t wanted to in some time. He’s never been enamored with getting into or riding in cars since she got him at the animal shelter eight years ago. He doesn’t like cars and it took several years for him to even sit up and look around in the back seat. Even when he does do that – and it’s rare, believe me – it only lasts a minute or so before he lies back down and waits for it to be over. Lately he’s been having intermittent difficulty with his legs so he’s more leery than usual of attempting to get into the car or even on the bed. Having broken my pelvis on one occasion and torn my hamstrings on another, I am in complete empathy with Mojo. Suffering does not rate very high on anyone’s bucket list.

           Since Mojo is getting older, Laura is always looking for something different to pique his interest and keep him actively engaged. She recently bought Mojo some intelligent toys that require some thought on his part to figure out where the treats are before he can maneuver the pieces around and retrieve them from the toy. Moj loves this game. She got the one with the highest level of difficulty to keep him occupied without frustrating him, but it only takes him a short time to figure out how the thing works. It gives him something interesting to do, and, big bonus, if he can locate the treats and figure out what he must to do extract them, there’s a treat at the end. Don’t we all love a good scavenger hunt.

I’ve got a fresh bowl of water waiting for him when they arrive, and Bill has hidden several small pieces of cheese around the living room. Bill sniffs in Mojo’s direction, a signal for the hunt to begin. Moj is given a few clues – Bill points in this direction or that. If Mojo looks like he might give up, Bill sniffs the air himself a time or two, fueling Mojo’s excitement – his enthusiasm for the hunt, and the game, renewed.

            But Laura is going back home without him. And though Moj knows this happens sometimes, he doesn’t know which way things are going today, not for sure. So he’s keeping a constant eye on her – the other eye is on Bill because that’s where the food is. Bill, Mojo’s Food Fairy.

            When she kneels down to hug him and says she loves him, Mojo sits down on the dining room carpet, his legs sprawling to either side in an “I knew this was going to happen” kind of way. Her attempts to console him are to no avail. When she walks out the door, I tell him to come to the window to watch her go. He refuses to budge.

Demonstrating his distress more pointedly, he slides into a prone position and puts his head down. That’s when he hears her car door slam shut. His ears jump to attention, pointing to the ceiling. Within seconds the motor of her faithful Honda comes to life. Moj then lifts his head from the carpet, and with just a little encouragement, meanders to the door as if he doesn’t actually care. Just curious, his eyes say, that’s all.

But she’s coming back down the sidewalk, having forgotten something.

            “You’re torturing him, you know,” I say.

            She needs the sunglasses she left on the end table as this is one of only five days of sun we get during the winter months here. Maybe this contributes to Moj’s depression, just like it does everyone else’s.

She kneels next to Moj again – the second goodbye in fewer than five minutes. I knew it, he thinks. Moving his head away from her outstretched hand in a don’t-touch-me motion, he walks in huffy-mode across the hall to the living room.

You don’t care, so I don’t either is the message he would verbalize if he could. Punishment, pure and simple. But hearing her car back out, he comes to the door without prompting. How could she leave me – again? His eyes follow her car until it’s well out of sight. Then he sits down in front of the door – to wait.

She’ll be back, I say, she always comes back for you, Moj. We always come back for the ones we love.

© Linda G. White (2013)

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