C.W. Gusewell

THE KANSAS CITY STAR

When she needed some Mojo, there he was

Sometimes, for a writer, the best plan is simply to step aside and let the story tell itself.

That’s what I’ll try to do with this report of a magical little episode I can’t begin to explain, but which was told as true by the people who witnessed it.

The central character is Mojo – a dog of unlikely parentage – a mix of Golden Retriever and chow. He has a lovely fawn-colored coat, intelligent brown eyes and a tongue as black as an asphalt street.

That’s the chow in him.

He’s a youngster of 3, weighs in at a bit over 100 pounds and lost his original home more than a year ago when someone in that household developed an allergy.

They delivered him to the Wayside Waifs animal rescue and adoption shelter. And that’s when his luck took a wonderful turn.

But not just his luck.

For it resulted in his joining a new and much larger family – the residents of an assisted living community for seniors, many of whom remembered dog friends from their earlier years, and who treasured his presence.

Playful and affectionate, already trained in the basic commands, Mojo was just the canine company they wanted. In June of last year, they adopted him.

I visited there last week and received from him a joyfully moist greeting with that black tongue.

The facility is beautifully appointed, the atmosphere appealingly homey – with individual apartments for the residents.

It was during that visit that I learned the details of Mojo’s astonishing service.

The time of the event was evening. Much of the daytime staff had departed. Suddenly, through the quiet of that hour, a member of the night staff heard a scratching noise.

The sound continued … grew louder.

Following it to its source, the staffer arrived at the apartment of a resident, at whose door the dog was anxiously, determinedly scratching.

And when the attendant entered, the occupant, a woman in her 80s, was found to be in medical distress.

Somehow, through a closed door , Mojo had sensed the emergency.

The first concern was that the lady in the room might be suffering a stroke. Fortunately, a medical examination determined the problem was a virus, from which she was able to recover completely.

I had the pleasure of visiting with her and hearing her account of that evening.

Never before, I was told – not even once – had the dog gotten on a chair or couch anywhere in the residence. But upon being admitted to her room, good Mojo – understanding that she needed comfort – had bounded up to lie quietly beside her on the bed.

She told that with joy.