Mocha…Born to be Free! Part 2, Dogs Surely Go to Heaven…

by | Aug 16, 2020

Mocha the river dog… Nov 1996, Tacoma, Wa – May 2009 Depoe Bay, Oregon

Sarah and Mocha, Christmas 1996

After Sadie, our first family pet, left us to cross the Rainbow Bridge, Sarah begged for another puppy. She didn’t give in or give up then, nor does she ever give up now. Even as a little girl, Sarah knew how to make a case. She was very deterimined to convince us to get a puppy by Christmas. She didn’t want anything else from Santa. We finally decided it was a good thing. We were sold!

Mocha came home with us in January 1997. Sarah was so happy and excited. And she was a handful right away. As a pup she couldn’t sit still. We worried that Mocha had a few issues we would have to watch out for. We were right!

Poop and pee pee house training duty…

Sarah agreed to take Mocha out in the cold every day that winter to teach her where to go potty. It’s very cold in Icicle Valley during Janurary. Feels like Fairbanks, Alaska in the dead of winter to me. Sarah did a good job. Judy and I were happy and proud. I wondered, though, why she was never gone very long with the pup. We had tons of snow that winter of 1996-97. When the snow started falling off the metal roof of our log cabin we could only get out one way to the side. We were proud of Sarah taking responsiblity for Mocha. I didn’t want to do it unless it was an emergency.

When all the snow melted that spring of ’97, I started to see right away where Mocha pooped all winter long. The little puppy poops, a huge mound of the stinky stuff, started to appear under the snow.

Sarah was really pissed when I made her clean up the huge pile of poop. “Please daddy, please don’t make me clean it up, please!” she cried. Sarah was 9 years old then. She accepted responsiblity early as a child. She looked up at me often then and would say, “I can do it Daddy!” To this day Sarah looks at me with the same determination and enthusiam, “I can do it!” We still laugh about this fun memory and lots of other things too.

Mocha, Steve, Judy and Sarah. Wenatchee River, Tumwater Canyon, near Leavenworth, Wa c1998 or click here.

Growing up in the mountains…

Mocha loved water! It didn’t matter where, she was nuts about creeks and rivers, and the ocean too.

Mocha was the happiest on or near the water. She chased birds with great enthusiasm. She could jump 6 ft easily. Mocha loved to go fishing with me. I never caught a fish with Mocha in the river with me. But she almost caught one, but mostly chased the trout away. I left Mocha in the truck after that or tied her gently to a tree on the bank with snacks to keep her company. We loved Mocha!

There were no red lines for Mocha in playing with other furry and feathered friends in the forest and in rivers. Once upon a time she chased a skunk down while we were hiking with friends up Icicle Valley one day. Me and my friends, Larry and Chris, could not contain ourselves. I watched with horror as she pounced on a skunk without hesitation.. Guess you can imagine what happened next. It was an awful two weeks of treatment for Mocha. We bathed her with tomato juice once a day for 2 weeks until the terrible smell of skunk works did its thing. Mocha never again chased a skunk. Oh duh, right?

The Rainbow Bridge

Central Oregon Coast 2006 near Depoe Bay…

It was another beautiful day in Little Whale Cove in May 2009. Mocha knew we were going to her very favorite beach, Big Whale Cove. She was at the front door grabbing her leash with excitement . She couldn’t wait , jumping at the door, looking and smiling at Judy and me.

We can’t go to Big Whale Cove easily these days since the stunning cove became a marine reserve a few years back. We could hike there from Little Whale Cove , making our way south for about a block or so up the hill overlooking this magical and stunning beauty of the cove and sandy protected beach.

Escape for a moment to experience the stunning beauty of Whale Cove, truly a mindfulness meditation gift from God.

Whale Cove Marine Reserve… Truly a gift to be treasured for a lifetime.

Mocha didn’t need the rope to descend to the beach about 75 ft below. She raced as usual and jumped down to the driftwood bridge that crossed over to the beach. The driftwood piled up over centuries of huge waves from 75-100 mph winds during the winter months. We couldn’t get to the beach as much during the winter. It was not safe, period. Don’t even think about it!

Judy and I followed Mocha down, but didn’t see her anywhere. We begin to worry. What happened to our pup. She was the joy of our life. Never a dull moment with Mocha. She was born to be free.

Mocha and me hiking the Icicle Gorge Trail in 2004 near Leavenworth, Wa where she grew up with the beauty of the mountains , rivers, and the things labradors love the most. Water, water, water…
Mocha, as a pup winter 1997 waiting for me at the door of our log home in Icicle Valley in Leavenworth, Wa. Right from the beginning she wanted freedom.

We got really worried because Mocha was usually running back and forth on the beach. She loved to chase sea birds and swim out near the native harbor seals that made their home in Whale Cove.

There are a couple of hundred of these wonderfully kind and curious mammals. They always hung out about 25 ft from shore., keeping their watchful big beautiful eyes on us all the while we played on the beach. They bobbed their heads up a little from the water trying to be unnoticed. It was a beautiful site. I could sit on the beach and watch the seals for a long time, taking me away from the world outside. We walked the small beach and played with Mocha, and sat in our chairs. Sometimes a couple of friends would show up with a furry friend for Mocha to play with.

Finally we found Mocha, breathing hard and laying on a large piece of driftwood near where we climbed down. Mocha couldn’t get up and was in great pain and scared. And we were scared. We tried to get her up the steep climb but she could not lift herself up and climb with us. Judy and I were frantic and very sad, crying while trying to help Mocha.

We called our neighbors, Deb and Neil, who came immediately to help us rescue Mocha. Neil was younger and stronger than me. He was able to help me carry Mocha while we struggled together getting her up the steep path above the cove. We are forever grateful to Neil and Deb coming to Mocha’s rescue. Our furry friends are loving family members whose love and companionship makes us kinder and gentler humans with empathy and compassion.

We took Mocha to the vet right away. We prayed that she would recover and get back to Whale Cove again. But this would be her last last time at the beach to run and play. Mocha loved to be free…

The vet comforted both of us while Mocha lay on the table while the doc looked her over. It was then we were told that if Mocha could get back up in a day or so, she would never get up and have the quality of life she was accustomed to. We couldn’t let Mocha suffer. So many fury loved ones go this way. It wouild be cruel and selfish to let your fury loved one suffer.

We knew the next day was Mocha’s last day. She couldn’t get up and was crying all night. We both took turns sleeping with her to show our love by hugging and kissing her. until the next morning.

The next day was difficult while we took Mocha back to the vet. She passed over the Rainbow Bridge peacefully. We were grief stricken. We mourned the loss of our furry loved one the same as any loving member of our family and friends.

Mocha was a blessing in our lives. We will never forget her, and often revisit the years of hiking the mountain trails and swimming in rivers and the ocean. Mocha was so loyal and loving. Mocha was born to be free.

Mocha, summer 2005, Leavenworth, Wa just before we moved to the Central Oregon Coast…
Sarah, Judy, and Steve. Sparks. We will always miss Mocha with love in our hearts. We have so many fun stories to share…

As an added blessing, Judy and I took Mocha’s ashes back to Leavenworth, Wa. We spent several hours hanging out at our favorite spot, Leavenworth Fish Hatchery. Mocha’s ashes were set free in the Icicle Creek ar the Fish Hatchery dam.

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
View all posts by stevesparks →

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