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Moses: My Little Doggy Boy

July 12, 2004 – August 17, 2017

Moses: My Little Doggy Boy, July 12, 2004, August 17, 2017, armadillo, puppy, German Shorthaired Pointer, Mix, Elmo, The Dog that Licked my Sores, LB, Little Bit, Pekinese, Juneau, Alaskan Malamute, Eppi, Best Kitty in the world, adopted, Moses, Nile River, terrier, snakes, Southeast, Texas, TX, tug-a-war,  Minnesota, MN, basement, shower, blow drier, watchdog, Luke 5:31, whole, physician, sick, congestive, heart, failure, veterinarian, Lord Jesus Christ, Nylabone, Phantom limb, Mo, pleasure, created, Revelation 4:11, tears, eyes, no  more death, death, sorrow, pain, passed away, Revelation 21:4, God loves you, Read your Bible,  My wife thought Elmo had cornered an armadillo against the front of the house under a bush, but when I came to investigate, we found it to be a little mangy rain-soaked flea-bitten puppy.  “Oh, no,” I thought to myself, “someone dumped this little guy on the road to get rid of him and I sure don’t want another pet!”

Besides Elmo, a German Shorthaired Pointer Mix, we also had LB (Little Bit), a black Pekinese.  LB had been cast away in a cardboard box on the road when he was a puppy and didn’t care much for enclosed places.  Also, there had been Juneau, an Alaskan Malamute, who went to live with someone else; and Eppi, our calico cat, but she died a couple of years earlier.  She was rescued as a kitten from an animal shelter.  Both Elmo and Eppi have their own stories out in cyberspace; they were my substitute children and loved very much.  (“Elmo: The Dog that Licked My Sores” and “Eppi: Best Kitty in the World”)

Anyway, we had to go to town and left the little pup, hoping when I got back, he would have disappeared.  Well, as it happened, we returned but forgot about the little guy, and went about our regular activities.  Then, after it started to rain, I wondered if the pup was still there.  He was!  And I figured the Lord had sent him to be adopted by us and my heart was softened toward him.

Because he was mangy and flea-bitten, I gave him a bath in the sink right away, but he still looked a sight, with clumps of fur missing and red insect bites.  He was given a blanket in a cardboard box to sleep in, and it was put in the garage where Elmo and LB slept, along with his own food bowl.  We decided to call him Moses because he was found in the bushes like his namesake was found among the reeds of the Nile River.  So, Moses would go in and out with the other dogs into the front yard, but never more than halfway to the road, as though a wireless dog fence had been installed personally for him.  Moses had a unique intelligent warmth and life to his eyes, that I never saw in any other dog; like he was human, or even angelic. 

Shortly thereafter, we decided to keep Moses in the house, seeing he was just a little fella, a terrier mix, and vulnerable to the varmints and poisonous snakes in the Southeast Texas countryside.  I guess he was growing on us.  He was about six weeks old when he showed up; figuring he was born when my wife’s mom had passed away.  Moses would follow us everywhere, playfully biting our heels with annoying pain-inflicting baby teeth; getting a tiny finger thump repeatedly to break him of the habit.  Later, as an adult, he was a very gentle nibbler when playing.   Moses, as a pup, was a constant (and I mean constant) companion everywhere we went in the house and shared our bed; or, maybe, come to think about it, we shared his bed.   It was kind of sad when he got a little more independent and not glued to us all the time.  Moses was growing up.

Elmo treated Moses like he was his own son, taught him dog etiquette, and how to play without being too rough. They enjoyed having tug-a-war contests using sticks and toys, and Moses was very playful and energetic like Elmo was when he was young.  Also, Elmo tolerated Moses’ enthusiasm when lying down and resting, like a big old lion when one of his cubs was trying to roust him up.  And many times all five of us went on long three mile walks, the “boys” being on a leash, except LB who didn’t like such constraints.

Well, when Moses was three years old, we moved to Minnesota, but LB had passed away by then. Elmo was back in the area he was born in, the Lord answering my prayer that he could live the rest of his life back home, away from the humidity and insect infested snake country of SE Texas.  As a matter of fact, he uneventfully slipped away one night at eleven years old, less than two miles from where he was born, but it was not an uneventful event for me.  It was the worst grief I ever felt.

My fondest recollection of Moses moving into his new house was his reaction to seeing basement stairs for the first time, and being encouraged to come down.  As I beckoned from below, his sparkling eyes seemed big as saucers as he excitedly assessed the challenge, and finally plopped down step by step by step.  Soon they would present no obstacle when he charged upstairs, especially after getting a shower in the basement.

Talking about showers: Moses was not like Elmo who would unhesitantly and automatically go into the shower or into a filled bathtub without coaxing.  However, I had to develop a method to get Moses into the bathroom, and then into the shower.  But before that, I’d get a chair ready to hold him in my lap to use a Dremel with sandpaper to trim his nails; first, praying with him to keep calm, and me to do a good job.  Then an old bath towel was put on top of the clothes dryer for cushioning, and he’d be given a haircut with electrical clippers, which he generally liked for some reason.  After that, he’d be put on the floor and then go hide behind the boiler as I got the shower ready.

Turning on the water to heat up, I’d have to play the tough guy over and over again, like a Marine Corps drill instructor, and bark, “Mo, get in here!  Come on, get in!”  He then would sheepishly, with head hanging down, mosey into the bathroom to have the door shut behind him.  The next phase, into the shower, the same gruff commands were used, and this became the repetitious pre-bathing ritual year after year.  But after he was in the shower, things went smoothly.  I’d wash him twice with baby shampoo, rinse him well, and have him shake the water off two times, with me imitating what he was supposed to do.  This was followed by a toweling.  Then, outside on the bathroom floor, I put the towel, where he would rub himself a bit before he was loosed to tear upstairs, me chasing after and praying he wouldn’t break a leg.  Next, he was on the bed with another dry towel under him and was blown dry, which was one of his favorite indulgences.  However, after he figured out when shower preparation was going on, whether he was upstairs or down, he’d go hide under the bed.  So, after twelve years, I learned not to prepare beforehand. (And they say you can’t teach an old man new tricks.)

Moses was his given name, but we usually called him Mo, and I often affectionately called him, “my little doggy boy.”  And that he was: a substitute child.

Well, since I was the house boy and my wife the breadwinner, I managed the domestic affairs and worked on ministry projects, Mo being my constant companion twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  I’d talk to him a lot during the day but he never said much, being more of a good listener.  You know, if you’re married you might see your spouse a couple of hours a day, but your pet a lot more, and develop a close rapport one with another.

Mo was also a good watch dog like Elmo and had an uncanny ability (if not supernatural) to sense children and other dogs outside, whether the windows were opened or closed.  Sometimes they would be a hundred yards away and out of sight when he sounded his alert.  You wouldn’t think he could smell or hear them from that distance with the windows closed, but, I guess, he did.  He was always on the watch, and like watching a clock would sit near the front door waiting every day about the same time for my wife to come home from work.  And when hearing the car approach, he’d get very excited to bark and carry on until she came in to greet him.

Mo, like Elmo, understood certain words.  If you said “squirrel,” for instance, he’d get all stirred-up, and so we had to say “S” instead of the word.  And if we were driving around and said “look,” he’d think you were pointing to a critter for him to look at.  In the backyard, though, if he noticed an S or a rabbit, he’d zip out to the end of his leash, and start pawing the ground like a bull; forgetting he was only 20 lbs. and neutered.

I can’t say Mo and I had any huge special events happen in our life together, but, like any good friends, we enjoyed our everyday company every day.  As a matter of fact, having not much of a social life outside the home, he was mine for the most part, as some of you pet owners can relate to.

Mo was pretty healthy with minimal medical care, having put into practice for him what we practice, and as the Lord Jesus Christ taught, “They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.” (Luke 5:31)  You know, like you don’t take your car to the shop and ask the mechanic to find out what’s wrong with it when it’s running well, because, he will find something wrong with it.

Moses was like a compliant little boy, offering more joy than bother, even though he never helped out to make a meal, couldn’t bathe himself, and had to be taken to the “bathroom” every time nature called.  How many times can that be? Twenty-four thousand times over his lifetime?  Amazing how one can get used to helping out another over a long haul and find it not particularly a chore.

So, after those thirteen years, my little friend, my little buddy, my constant companion all of a sudden showed signs of congestive heart failure, and I figured he was getting ready to leave us.  But, at the same time, I was glad he had a wonderful and happy life, and I was going to have my prayer answered: I would outlive and be able to take care of him all the days of his life.  Now I think I’m too old to have that hope for another pet, so, my little doggy boy is probably the last one for me.

Well, we took Mo to the veterinarian to see what his opinion was and found out his heart was enlarged 75% and acting up.  So we got medicine that might have helped him out, but he got worse, rallied a bit, but still laboring to breathe.  During this time, however, he never showed any signs of anxiety, and if I was out of the room, he sought me out to be near, as I had always been his primary source of companionship and comfort.  And of course, I would comfort him well, cradling him in my arm like a baby, lightly stroking his chest, and telling him, “I love you little Mo. You’re the best puppy in the world,” then kiss his face.

As I took him out the last time before going to bed that night, it was raining like the day he was found; and as he stepped out onto the grass, he laid down, too weak to stand any longer. So I brought him in, put him on the bed, and petted him as he continued his laborious breathing without complaint; still looking at me with those amazingly human, clear and thoughtful eyes.  Then, about 2 a.m., I went to get him some ice water in an eye dropper, and my wife alerted me to something happening in the bedroom.  Little Mo was taking his last breaths, and I began to emotionally pray out loud, thanking the Lord for my little friend which meant so much to me, as he passed on into eternity.  Then he was still.

Having not slept that night, and figuring I wouldn’t, I took Mo downstairs, gave him a haircut, a shower, and got him ready for burial.  It was a wonderful time of talking and loving Mo; appreciating the personal relationship I had with one of God’s masterful creations.  Interestingly, bathing Mo was the first thing I ever did for him as a baby, and it was the last thing I did for him thirteen years later.  I also dried him well with the hair drier while admiring my little doggy boy and how handsome he was, and rubbed him down with some of my aftershave.  I placed his Nylabone and shark doll with him as I wrapped him up in a nice plaid throw blanket.

Well, I started this memorial paper only two hours after he died, and two days have gone by now, and I have a phantom Mo dog with me.  Like people who have lost a limb, by accident or of medical necessity, and it still remains attached to them psychologically for about three weeks, before their brain and nervous system catch up to reality.  I have the same thing with Mo all the day long that I never had with another pet.  It’s kind of reflex thinking: a myriad of remembrances of everyday activities as everyday activities continue to unfold.

When in bed watching something on the internet, I think to look over to see how he’s doing; or, when finally rolling over to sleep, move my leg to make contact with him.  When I make coffee in the morning for my wife, that he’ll probably get out of bed soon; or, when it’s time to go to work in the basement, he will follow.  And after a couple of hours there on the computer, I get up and look to his customized plastic short-legged white patio chair to my left, pillow on top, to tell him it’s time to go upstairs and take a little nap.  When I get a meat item out of the refrigerator that I will have to give him a bite, because he will somehow know in another room it’s a meat and not fruit or vegetable, and come trotting in.  And when it’s 10 a.m. and 3 p. m. it’s time for a small treat, and at 6 it’s time for supper.

Also, I think of him when running errands, remembering if he was left at home, I need to get back soon to let him out; and when we get home, he will be at the window welcoming us with his cheerful barks.  Or when he is with us riding around, I will tell him to watch the truck while we get out to shop here and there.  It’s not that I am thinking he is actually with me, it’s just the habit of thinking about him for so long and will continue do so for some time, I guess.

And now, I’d like to thank you, Lord, for the life of Moses: My Little Doggy Boy.  He was one of the greatest blessings I’ve ever had in my life.  And as I read your word, Lord, I notice you have horses in heaven and hope that my little Mo, your little Mo, is there too.  How can I not think so, “for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)  Mo was not only created for your pleasure, Lord, but for my pleasure too.  And I don’t think he was like an inanimate dolly cast away when tired of, or tattered, or tossed out after its owner had grown-up or died.  Thank you, Lord Jesus, for saving our souls, and thank you for helping me to bear the loss of Little Mo.   Amen.

P.S.  I thought it rather strange not to be thrown into many painful bouts of grief with the death of Little Mo, but now realize he didn’t die suddenly without warning.  (Thank you, friends, for praying also.)  My little buddy was getting a bit old for a dog, though he never acted like it: just a bit slower and only seriously ill his last week.  So, you might thank the Lord for these “heads-up” notices as God’s mercy.  Elmo, on the other hand, died unexpectedly, and after ten years, I haven’t gotten over it yet.  “Traumatized” comes to mind.  But there is hope for we believers…

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

The End

God loves you.  Read your Bible.


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen