Mo was disappointed that he did not go on the hike his favorite hiking human obviously went on for the day. And instead he was left at home with his favorite human — an inactive person in comparison to him during the years when Mo was still a puppy. An outside observer could say that they had simply grown old together and that their relationship had naturally changed. But Mo was still just as active as he ever was and had just as much energy as he did in his youth when properly provoked. Instead it was apparent that he mirrored the needs and habits of his human. When his human settled into video games for the day, Mo settled in underneath his desk so that they could still spend quality time together. And when his human decided to spend hours on the couch watching Netflix, Mo cuddled up next to him in order to maintain contact. When his human decided to pick up a smoking habit, Mo slowed his pace in order to match the slow progression of his human along the trails. And when the only time his human spent outside was for a cigarette break, he took advantage of those moments and soaked up the sun and fresh air as best he could in five brief minutes at a time. Mo was patient with his human as he watched him grow old beyond his years and age earlier than expected. And despite being a Border Collie and more energetic by nature, he toned his natural enthusiasm down in order to match the tone of his human. He was always a unique and empathetic soul, embracing his individualism and proudly marching to the beat of his own drum while leading others to do the same. He could not be bothered by the fact that he peed like a girl and consequently made his belly wet every time he tried to relieve himself. He was not phased by the fact that his tongue hung out of his mouth when he was happy or relaxed, and tolerated the human’s attempts to grab it when he wasn’t looking. He did not socialize long with other dogs at the park and preferred the company of humans over other creatures with four legs who looked and acted like him. He seemed to prefer a life of wandering through the forest over one where he was pampered and catered to constantly. He knew how to fend for himself and he constantly attempted to fend for his human as well. He obviously cared for him deeply and despite having needs of his own, he always addressed his human’s needs first and foremost. He lounged for a day in seclusion when that’s what his human was craving. And he attended parties and served as a social buffer for when his human ventured out. He was perfectly content playing fetch in the yard as much as he was at the dog park, and he allowed his human to choose what suited his mood for the day best. He was constantly at the will of his thumbed master, but he never seemed to mind the inconvenience because he never saw it as an inconvenience in the first place. He saw his loyalty and faith in his human as a given and it would take a world of change in order for him to resent him for any actions he took. He was happy to serve first and ask to address his needs second. He knew where he ranked in hierarchy and he did not see it as a demeaning position. He knew who his master was and what needs he needed to respect, but he also knew that he would always be cared for. He knew that his human would always be by his side and always love him, no matter what else he had going on in his life. He knew that their relationship would always be unique and special, and if he ever truly needed anything at all, all he had to do was ask for it. But he did not have to ask often, because he had loving humans who wanted to spoil him and provide him with everything he could want. His human’s sister took him out for hours on the trail and allowed him to roam free from the confines of a leash. His human’s roommates never allowed him to go hungry because they constantly indulged him with scraps from their own dinner plates. And his human himself had a routine that they both counted on and a partnership that they relied heavily on. He knew these things, despite not being able to express them in so many words, and he was content with the life he lived — despite it appearing to lack luster in the eyes of others as he grew older. But he knew that his life was still just as rich and that his wealth of love would never run dry.
He was raised in the usual manner that unwanted puppies are, with an abusive hand that silenced his instincts — or at least that’s what they thought thanks to the way he cowered at anything raised above a human’s head. He had some odd ticks about him and some old habits that were hard to shake. He was perpetually scared of vacuums, fly swatters, and raised voices. And although it was his instinct to run away from the face of danger, and to keep running for longer than necessary, there was a loyalty in him that toughed it out for the sake of his human. He had learned to trust him despite the lack of loyalty and love that he experienced in his puppy years. He learned that a raised object over his human’s head would not be thrown in his direction, and that vacuums are for cleaning up his shedding fur not to torture him. He learned that he just had to ask in order to be let outside and if he did not run away then he could be trusted to roam as he pleased. He slowly accepted the fact that “chase” was not a game his human enjoyed for hours around the neighborhood and that it was a more rewarding experience to stay close to his best friend’s side. And although it was in his nature to be fiercely loyal to his human, he learned to love others as well and accept them as temporary humans when his one and only had to go where he couldn’t. He somehow learned to trust that he would never be left behind and that his human would always return for him — because neither of them could live life without the other.
Mo could tell there was something different about his human lately. He was no longer leaving the house and he had began to disappear into video games as if he was hiding from real life. And as any loyal dog would, he stayed right by his human’s side and hid with him. It was almost as if he was tracking his human’s every move, which he did by instinct usually, but this time it was different. He could sense that something was off this time and was paying close attention to the person he cared most about in this world. Because when his human suffered, he could not help but suffer as well. Mo had witnessed his human in dark times in the past, but again, this time was different. There was a tone about it that invoked caution, not sympathy — because he was headed down a dangerous path of introversion. His tendencies to stay secluded, allow friends to come to him, and spontaneously take adventures as others presented them to him usually worked out for Mo. He was alright with staying dedicated to one human and leaving the rest to fend for themselves. He had grown attached to his human’s sister, but not in the same loyal way that he was with him. He would walk through fire and back to save the man he cared about most, and he was fully prepared to do so.