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Bill Hollinger's "Our Gallant Mosby"

A Tribute to Mosby
By Bill Hollinger
excerpted from the Bouvier Mailing List

Our Gallant Mosby, his proper name, died on September 27, 1997, in a tragic accident. He was playing his favorite game, "Chase the Primate", when he ran, while still accelerating, into a parked car. His back was broken. He was suffering terribly, and even while in fear and great pain he tried his best to listen and do what we were telling him while we rushed to the vets. But there was nothing anyone could do for him. We brought him home and buried him in his special garden.

There are literally hundreds - maybe even thousands - of pictures of Mosby, and I discovered over seventy pages of stories and letters to friends I'd written about him over the four years he was alive. Unfortunately many anecdotes were not saved, are now lost forever. Still, reading what remains reinforced what we all knew, and reminded us of so many things we had forgotten. Many people remarked over the years about the photographs of my beautiful gray buddy. I always tried to explain that anyone with a camera in their hand could have recorded the same things I did. Mosby was the actor, the personification of one who lives life to the very fullest. I was simply fortunate enough to be there to share it with him, and to capture little snippets of his life in tiny fractions of a second, which appeared as pictures on the calendars these past three years.

Piper is home now, so there are still four Bouviers living with us. They are all special, and unique, as are all Bouviers. Perhaps it is this uniqueness that makes the void Mosby left so palpable.

Mosby rose each morning at 5:30. Each new day was so special to him. We always likened it to the special happiness and excitement one sees in children on a long anticipated holiday morning. Every awakening was the same. He leaped, twisting in the air, barked and talked, bounced the special happy Bouvier bounce and shared special morning kisses. Life, for Mosby, was always wonderful, and his enthusiasm was awakened and renewed each day.

Mosby was a talker. He had an incredible vocabulary of sounds, and if he couldn't find just the right Bouvier word for the occasion, he clicked his teeth. Communication was so important to him, and now that he is gone, we realize how important it was to us too. Mom was always up first, and he never left her side. They did everything together, laundry, catch-up office work, household chores, or just plain time alone between the two of them - whatever it was, he was right there, actively participating and verbalizing the entire time. When it was time to fetch the morning newspapers, he never failed to put on a dazzling display of his athletic prowess for her. He would race out of sight in the morning darkness, disappear, then reappear in a flash of silver gray. There was always a bit of marking to be done, and fresh scents to investigate. And his ever so accurate internal clock never failed to remind him when it was 7:00, his breakfast time.

Mosby was always waiting at the bottom of the stairs to greet me when I first came down each day. His freshness, enthusiasm, happiness, and love made for a wonderful beginning of my day. He sat beside me every single morning with that great silver head of his on my lap, loving me. And I loved him in return. It was a special quiet time for both of us. I could never have imagined the void its absence would bring.

Mosby and the other Bouviers went to work with us each day. Mosby loved to con his way out of the office into the factory, where he could visit the plant foreman, who was one of his special friends. Sometimes we would play there, me running, him trying to catch me. I have an advantage because the sealed cement floors were slippery for him. He would finally catch me and jump and bark and body slam. Oh what great fun were those chest high Bouvier body slams. Other times he could coax a walk around the building. That was pretty neat too, just Mosby and his person. Mosby was up for anything and everything - want to pull a cart? Oh, yes! Chase a frisbee, fetch a stick all afternoon, swim - in the ocean, in the pool, or race down the middle of a partially frozen stream during a winter woods walk, go on the Springer with or without Piper on the other side, play 'Chase-the-Primate', round up a herd of sheep in a tight little ball - then charge and scatter them so he can do it all over again, and race excitingly over to us to tell us what great fun he was having, chasing Billy on the bike - or better yet on foot so he can catch and body slam him. That last activity may have been his absolute favorite. Afterwards he also came over, danced around and lathered kisses on everyone. It seemed so clearly to be his way of saying "Thank you, I'm having so much fun".

Mosby was the personification of poetry in motion, of power and grace that was so beautiful and captivating to watch. He also had a capacity to love beyond that of any living being I've ever known. He possessed a great physical beauty, and presence, which drew strangers to him. He didn't care much for this though. I'd forgotten how much socialization we had to do with him when he was younger. However, for his special people, no one could have offered more of themselves than Mosby. He had a very special relationship with Irina, the little girl next door who appears with him so often on calendar pictures. Irina came from Germany, and Mosby met her when he was still a puppy. Whenever she would go with us in the car, he insisted on sitting in her lap the entire time. Here was this great silver furry beast, 90 plus pounds, with his small buddy not much more than half his weight peering around him to visit with us. On those occasions when she returned to Germany to visit relatives and friends, he checked for her at her house each day. And he was always the first to hear her outside when she returned. Great howls and woebegone wails ensued until we let him out to find her. Mosby had the fastest little stubby tail and tongue any of us had ever seen, and if possible, they were even quicker for Irina. He kissed and kissed and kissed her. Then he would stand back and scold her for going away from him. He did the same thing when she dived off the diving board into the pool. He was convinced she should not be under water, and he would push her to the side of the pool and give her a real scolding. I once heard her mumble, "Mosby, you're worse than my mother". Mosby and Irina were so alike in many ways. Each was, is, a unique and special individual, and I know my life is immensely richer for having been so close to both of them. Irina will be going back to Germany very soon now. Everyone used to worry so for poor Mosby because we knew the time for her return was drawing near.

Bill Hollinger's Bouvier Mosby w Irina



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