After several months of declining health, Mo passed away on Friday. He was 14 years old.
Mo was quite a character. Though he had the innocence of a child, he also had the fire of independence in his blood. He loved to be free, to roam and to soak in the sunlight. He let others know where his boundaries were, whether the trespassers were human or otherwise, yet there was a great gentleness about him, if he was allowed the time to settle and be himself. Mo knew what he wanted and he tried his best to get his own way, which of course, he usually did. As king of the pack this little dog fiercely stood his ground but like most dogs, he also loved to bask in human affection, freely offering his friendship to those who had gained his trust and confidence, but firmly rebuffing those who had not. He was no fool.
Little is known about Mo’s first six years of life, but judging by his behavior, it is likely that he was abused. He had a long scar along his back, as if perhaps he had escaped under a fence and caught himself as he tried to run away from his abusers. Eight years ago Mo was adopted by Tina, and under her protection Mo found his true home, a home that moved him across the country and back again, but a home that was always full of a patient, gentle and generous love, and an adoration that helped him heal old wounds. But just like any human, no matter how supportive his environment, he continued to carry many of his past burdens with him. Even so, as time went by he became a happier and more contented dog, and was completely and utterly devoted to his new owner. Indeed, seldom has a little creature been so adored by a human as Mo was by Tina, and vice versa. The bond between them continues to run very deep. Many years ago, Mo gained a canine brother, Andy, and more recently a sister, Emory. He also made many canine friends as various dogs shared his home while they waited to be paired with a foster family.
Like most animals, Mo had little sense of himself. He felt he could wrestle with a dog many times his size, and win. But even if he couldn’t quite grasp how small he was, he was nevertheless in tune with his own grand nature and he tried to be true to it. This made him a very interesting little dog to watch. Like an infant, he was unaware of how others viewed him, focusing instead on his immediate place in the world, not on some abstract notion of it. On walks, he was bound to a single purpose with mind and nose completely focused on his investigations. Indeed, Mo had the gift of profound concentration.
In looking back at Mo’s life, or any life, there comes a time when we must ask: What is a successful life? To some it is a life spent accumulating things; to others it is an accumulation of experiences. But there are others, like myself, who define a successful life as one in which the consciousness of love is expanded and evolved in one’s own self and in the hearts of those we meet. By such a measure, Mo’s life was truly successful. When a person or creature communicates and instills such a deep and reflective love in someone else, life’s fundamental Beauty is given a chance to shine. It is my belief that when the power of such love is given an aperture of expression, even through the eyes of a small creature like Mo, the cumulative expression of the entire Universe tilts a little further toward goodness. And while Mo, as a dog, may not have understood what he has accomplished, I do, as does Tina, as does my brother, William, under whose protection Mo is now safe and happy.
Mo sent out a positive ripple across the cosmos; a grand feat for a little dog–an ambition that even the greatest among us might aspire to. He touched many lives, perhaps by only a modest amount, but there is no doubt that the world is a better place for his presence. It could be said that Mo succeeded in this life beyond the dreams of many a human. It is a humbling thought to acknowledge how the small may be so mighty.
Dear Mo, you are missed.