Just As Everything Clicked …

Mocha’s new home was much different than the farm she was used to. No fields to romp in or creeks to play in. The walks stopped altogether since there was no place to walk. She did look forward to seeing her new across the street friend, Molly every time she went out. They’d bark at each other, with tails wagging. She could still lay on the back deck in the sun and we played in the yard at lunch. 

Somewhere around age 1 1/2 something in her head clicked. All of the time and effort we put into training suddenly paid off. As if a light switch turned on, she was doing everything she was told. Her reward was a bit more freedom. Off leash was going to be the big test. She was very good in the yard, but what if there was no fence?

We decided to take Mocha to the barn one nice Saturday. It sat far enough off the road that I wouldn’t have to worry if she took off. She jumped out of the truck and followed us into the barn. So far so good. She greeted people, looking for pets and scratches. When we walked out to the pasture to see the horses she stayed at our side. Her trial run was a huge success and a far cry from having to chase her across fields at the farm when she wouldn’t come.

Mocha got to go to the barn on a regular basis. She made friends with the other dogs and spent most of the time playing with them. If I lost track of her she was either following someone else or laying in a cool spot. Greg decided to take her on a little trail ride. He was ready to go and called Mocha. She wasn’t sure but went over to him. He rode off and called her again. She followed, along with one of her dog buddies. They were gone about 30 minutes or so. Greg said she was really good. He’d have to call her once in a while, but the dogs romped and played and followed Greg & Koko. 

It was February 2009. Mocha was in the yard and having some trouble controlling her hind end. We rushed her to the vet. She stayed overnight so she could have x-rays done the following morning. They were concerned about hip dysplasia. We picked her up the following day after work. She was still groggier than I would have liked to be taking her home. We had to lift her in the back seat of the car and carry her into the house. We laid her on her bed in the living room. Within 10 minutes she had a seizure. Called the vet and back she went. The vet kept her for almost a week, running tests. They found nothing. When she no longer had seizures for a few days we were told we could pick her up. 

We got our pup back on Valentine’s Day. Tired, but glad to be home Mocha slept a good portion of the day. She went out when she needed to, ate her dinner and camped out on the sofa with us while we watched TV that night. Thigs were finally going to be normal. We went to our bed and Mocha to hers. She was covered and tucked in for the night. We woke the next morning to Mocha standing next to the bed, staring at us. Her stare was blank and her eyes weren’t right. It was like you could look into her eyes right down to her soul and see nothing. I jumped out of bed and went to her. She was afraid of me. She didn’t even know who I was. She was afraid of Greg and the cats.  Everything else seemed fine. No obvious pain or injury. Since our vet wasn’t on call after hours, we ran her to the local animal emergency hospital. We explained the entire situation and they took Mocha in right away. After what seemed like hours in the waiting room, we were called into the exam room. Mocha had a stroke. They suspected a spinal edema where a clot loosened and went to her brain. I wasn’t sure how that was possible since she never had any spinal trauma. The only thing Greg and I could think of is when she was at her vet. She had to be turned on her back for x-rays. The only way to know for sure was to take her to a neurological specialist. The testing was going to be around $3,000 and there was a 50% chance of them being able to do something for her and less of a chance that she’d ever be right. It was a big risk to put the dog thru that and spend that much money for her to remain in her current condition. I couldn’t do that to her. Mocha died that day with her head in my lap.

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