Ode to Mochi
Two years ago today, Jeff and I, along with Keiko-dog, met the fourth member of our family for the first time:
It might be cliché, but it’s still true: our lives have not been the same since. We wanted a playmate for Keiko, and got so much more than we bargained for.
We weren’t sure what to expect that cold, clear day. Our intent was just to do a meet-and-greet for the dogs and then go home and think about our decision. You see, a few months earlier we’d done the doggie introduction with another potential dog, even kept her for a weekend… and ultimately decided she wasn’t a good fit for us (tear).
Our destination was a dog shelter east of the city, about an hour from our home. The shelter turned out to be an old farm house and barn out in the country, run solely by a quiet couple with big hearts for abandoned dogs. According to Bootsy’s (as she was then called) Petfinder profile, she seemed very similar to Keiko-dog, that is a border collie mix with short hair and medium build.
When we arrived, we quickly saw that “medium” wasn’t quite the right description. We asked the man how big he thought she was, to which he replied, “Oh, about 40 pounds.” Nope. Wrong. The dog we brought with us was 40 pounds. We guessed “Bootsy” to be more like 60 pounds (our vet later confirmed our guess to be correct). Already we weren’t sure about this.
We took the two dogs on a walk together and they seemed to get on just fine. That is, Keiko seemed not to mind this new dog, but was more interested in the other new sights and smells around her. When we got back from the walk, we asked the shelter owner if we could just take Bootsy home for an overnight to see if the two dogs would get along on Keiko’s home turf. The answer was yes, but we’d be out the adoption fee if we brought her back. We realized then that the expectation was that we’d be taking her home with us.
Since we’d driven all the way out there and couldn’t think of a suitable reason not to, we nervously took the plunge and became a two dog family right then and there. As we drove off in the Subaru, soon-to-be Mochi sprawled out over two-thirds of the back seat and Keiko sitting upright in the little remaining space left to her, we looked at each other and hoped we’d made the right decision.
To this day, we still say, “How did we end up with such a big dog?”
We weren’t prepared with a new name either. Nothing against Bootsy, but we wanted something more… original. Besides, Keiko and Bootsy? Those names did not go well together. Jeff came up with Mochi the next day and it stuck. (Mochi is a rice-based Japanese treat that happens to be one of our favorite toppings at our favorite frozen yogurt shop.)
Fortunately, the dogs got along well from the beginning. They played the same way (not necessarily a given) and tired each other out that first night.
We also quickly learned that Mochi was a cuddler and snuggler. We thought this might be a symptom of her stay at the shelter, but two years later she’s still just as affectionate as ever. While both our dogs like people, Mochi LOVES people. She is not dissimilar to this clip of Dug from Pixar’s Up! (start at about 15 seconds):
When she came to us, Mochi was fearful of practically any loud noises. She barked at thunder, ran from the ironing board (it has a sharp squeal when it opens), and slunk in fear from loud vehicles and any animal other than cats or dogs. She’s much better now, though she still doesn’t like it when buses go rumbling by on walks.
Mochi is very expressive, but more than her face, she cannot control her tail. If she’s hoping for your attention as you walk into a room where she is, you immediately hear a strong thuwumping sound. The rate of the sound increases as you give her eye contact and move toward her. As soon as you touch her and pet her, she visibly relaxes and the tail stops wagging. Jeff and I love making this scenario play out again and again. What can I say… we are merciless.
When Sam came on the scene, we were worried about how Mochi-dog would react. Would she be jealous? Would she accidentally step on him? Would she feel the need to constantly lick his face? While it is not uncommon to hear, “Mochi! No licks!” several times per day at our house, it is a symptom of how much she loves her new baby puppy.
Thankfully the feeling seems to be mutual and we envision many more years of boy and dog bonding.
I am thankful for Mochi’s silliness and antics that have brought so many added laughs to our life. She has so many quirks that make her a unique animal. I love her enthusiasm for life and how freely she loves people. She is such a sweetheart.
To some dogs may be “just animals,” but to me they are a valued, important part of my family.