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  • Writer's pictureJane Wheeler

Me, Mocha and Other Animals

Animals are so interesting – even if you are not an avid animal lover, if you stood and watched or were around animals for a while, they would get to you. They can be frustrating for sure but also a constant source of entertainment.

I love to walk towards the chicken pen, those 10 chickens think I have something in my hand to feed them, every time. They have the most unique run as they skip, hop and jump trying to beat each other in the hopes they will get first feed of whatever I might throw into the pen. They actually are quite hilarious.

The ducks have not yet ceased to be serious, like seriously snotty. They do not bring me the joy that the chickens do, because they tend to be always picking on the chickens.

I have a couple egg eaters, I believe there is a duck and a chicken to blame, most days I loose at least 2 eggs to these vultures. I cannot figure out which ones it is, as they all play innocent when I arrive. Brian says he has seen 1 duck carrying an egg before.

I love this picture of the deer laying in the canola field by our place. To me this is a perfect scene of the Peace Country, complete with the smokey air we currently have. When we drive by, up pops its head and he carefully watch you go by. I was fortunate to get him to stay for this picture as they usually jump up and run if you stop the car.

I think everyone is sure their dog is the best and I have to admit that I think that my

Mocha is pretty darn special. She is our long haired chocolate lab (her puppy Mila is the other dog in the picture).

This past week she saved me and the chickens/ducks from coyotes. We have not had much of a problem with predators for a while by the chicken coop/run. However, this week I heard a really loud clucking type noise and looked over to see it was the rooster doing a weird hop thing with this weird noise. Upon seeing this, I ran full tilt to the chicken run. The rooster had rounded up his girls and the drake duck had all his hens by him and they were all standing by the gate where we go in and out. They would not go into the coop or leave the area. But the rooster was making this weird and loud noise to let me know that something not good was there. Usually all he does is his rooster cock-a-doodle-doo, but this was a noise I had not heard him make before. I did the rounds around the pen and could not see anything. Once we deemed it safe the animals made their way out again. Mocha and Mila walked with me around the outside perimeter, and they sniffed a few things, but everything looked okay, whatever it was had left.

A couple days later, I heard Mr. Rooster again early in the day this time. I ran out in my pj’s and took the dogs with me. Mocha took off behind the coop with Mila hot on her heels and they disappeared into the bush. I immediately heard a huge “yelp” and my heart sank as I thought the dogs had gotten hurt by a predator. I called them back and they came to me unscathed and sat on the roadway, faced the bush and kept on barking. Low and behold, the barking echoed back to us in the form of a few coyotes just in the bush a little ways in. I realized I was standing there in my pj’s, no gun, no phone but Brian was home so I yelled for him to bring the gun.

By the time he got out there the coyotes had moved away and I had brought the dogs back to the house. My girls, (the dogs) had scared those coyotes away and Brian fired off a couple shots to complete the scare.

Mocha is 2 and a half and has been my source of companionship for these 2 years out here.

She had her puppies a year ago. I have to say, having puppies for her was not in her best interest. She has not been the same dog.

The vet says that often people say, “a dog is not a full dog until she has a set of puppies, and while true, for the majority,” she said, “sadly it is not always the case.”

That’s my Mocha.

She has been off ever since having the puppies. The vet thought it was pancreatitis because in 2 weeks her spleen enlarged double the size. We have no idea what is up. Her infection count is fine but she has way more red blood cells than normal. Her blood is thick.

There are all kinds of maybe’s here, we truly are not sure. We will take another xray this week and make some very difficult decisions.

When you are not sure of the future you tend to ponder the past.

Mocha was the best Christmas gift ever! She did not come until Boxing Day and I was so upset that I never got a puppy for Christmas I mopped around and then she arrived the following day. I grabbed her and the box of Kleenex and went and had cuddle time and cried (good and happy tears).

We did our obedience classes together and she and I, progressed so well. She is a dog whom everyone loves. We have had so many offers of people wanting to take her home with them.

When one of the puppies was getting picked up for their forever home, the little girl, age 8 who was getting a puppy ran around their car to the other side so we could not see her, when we did, we found out she was trying to sneak Mocha into their car!

Mocha has saved me from a moose, a bear, a lynx, coyotes, and I am not sure how many other animals, as well as quite a few human beings.

She has always let me know when someone or something is in the yard. I feel safe with Mocha and living in the bush.

When we moved to the bush I wondered what I had to do to train Mocha to be a “guard dog.” Turns out she instinctively knew how. I could tell what kind of animal was in the bush by her movements. She greeted each of them with a no non-sense bark. But for the bear, she rarely went beyond 20 feet from me. A moose she would venture much closer but she would not get too close for comfort. Now a deer on the other hand, she would take off after and the chase was on!

Anything smaller was high chase material and she gave it her best effort when she spotted them.

Mocha took a while to take to water, but once she realized she could swim, that became

one of her favorite activities. The only other activities that are as close to swimming, are running with the quad and mousing. Mocha loves to run. She is not a sprinter but rather a long distance runner. She actually gets a smile on her face when the quad starts up.

I have not been taking the quad out right now, because Mocha will try to run and it does her in for the day if she does. I will find her tucked up in a corner in the bathroom sleeping for a few hours and in pain if she tries it now. Something is not right.

We can tell if she is in pain as she gets aggressive with other dogs, including her own puppy Mila, if she hurts. We have had to be careful where we take her or who comes over with animals because of this.

When she gets up and down from the laying position, she does it quite gingerly now, more like an old dog rather than the 2.5 year old that she is.

I know that if I had not had Mocha out at the property with me the past couple years, I probably would not be here. She has been such a presence for me, she has undertaken to protect me to the point where if she is unsure she will sit at and on my feet. She will back herself up to make sure she is touching me and sit there for hours, guarding and watching for potential danger. I know the Bible says we have a friend who is closer than a brother (meaning Jesus and He is) but Mocha has been right here with me as well, through it all. When we were still in the holiday trailer and it got so cold that I walked around with a jacket on or laid under the covers, Mocha was right there freezing with me.

I have struggled with Mocha being ill, especially because she is so young. I have questioned and asked God why. I have asked God to heal her and I am still waiting for this. But when you watch her, you can see that something is not quite right.

A dog is the only thing besides God who will love you unconditionally. They do not ask a thing from you. They are so excited to see you each time you come home, tails wagging and whole body shaking with excitement. If you are sad, they will sit with you and lean into you, absorbing your sadness and listening so attentively as you pour out your heart.

I pray that Mocha and Mila and I have lots of great years left to enjoy each other.

Whatever happens, I know that I have and am being loved by one of the best, a big brown fur ball with golden eyes, named Mocha.

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