Category Archives: Mocha Jo

Furever Family Day

Today is an extra special day for The Boy and I: it’s Mocha Jo’s Furever Family Day.

One year ago, we adopted our little Mocha Jo, and all three of our lives were forever changed. To celebrate, we had a party, complete with a made-for-dogs peanut butter cake.


We also had party hats, which Mocha Jo wasn’t exactly a fan of.

party girl

At least not until her dad showed her that cool kids wear party hats.

mocha and her dad

But more importantly, there was cake and ice cream, which Mocha Jo was a fan of.

cake and ice cream

Mocha eating

It’s hard to believe it has been a whole year since we brought her home, but it’s been a great year. The Boy and I really couldn’t have adopted a better dog. She is the sweetest and most humble dog you’ll ever meet.

It makes my heart happy that The Boy and I could give this once stray dog a better life. Between her parents (who are clearly wrapped around her paw) and her ever-doting aunts and uncles, two sets of grandparents , and all her friends (seriously, she has more of a social calendar than I do…), Mocha Jo’s life is now full of love.

She’s certainly gotten the happily ever after she deserves.



What a hunk!

This news is long overdue, but nonetheless exciting: I am finally an aunt!

Last month, my older sister adopted Hurley, an almost 5-year-old yellow Labrador.

meet hurley

My little nephew is crazy, but oh-so adorable. I don’t think I have ever met a dog who likes to fetch quite as much as he does. And, we’ve officially deemed him a little dog in a big dog’s body. Regardless of how many times he has and will continue to tromp over my vital organs while I am on my couch, he always means well – except for when he feels his tennis ball is being threatened.


During his first couple of weeks, Hurley was pretty anxious about his new home and family; but as he continues settling in, it is clear Hurley is the perfect addition to my sister’s life and our dog-loving family (particularly since he completes the lab trifecta). And, as far as Mocha Jo is concerned, well, let’s just say she has a new best friend.

mocha and hurley

While Hurley has enough energy to seem like the younger one, he has taken little Mocha under his wing, showing her how big dogs swim at the dog park. I’d love to go back to the days when Mocha and I left the dog park completely dry, but it is both entertaining and endearing to watch the two together.

Welcome to the family, Hurley!

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Mocha Jo Rescue Day

Today is a special day in my house.

Today is Miss Mocha Jo’s Rescue Day.

One year ago today, during a bout of particularly cold winter weather, Kathy from K9 Coach Learning Center opened both her home and her heart to our little Mocha Jo.

Mocha Jo rescue

Like last year, today is a winter weathery kind of day. A few inches of snow have already fallen, the wind chill is in the negatives, schools and offices are closed, and we’re expected to get several more inches of snow over the next 24 hours.

While Mocha and I did venture out in the winter weather for a quick trip to the dog park, it made my heart happy knowing that she is comfortably on the other side of the winter weather this year. Actually, she’s very comfortable this time around…

mocha jo cozy

In addition to a trip to the dog park, Mocha Jo also got a special rescue day treat.

rescue day treat

As I mentioned before, The Boy and I don’t know all the details of Miss Mocha Jo before Kathy brought her in (and maybe it’s best we don’t know), but it’s a bit of a sore spot that we don’t know her actual birthday. However, between The Boy’s and my early February birthdays, it’s only appropriate that Mocha’s rescue anniversary allows her to have an early February celebration, too.

Day 11: Ho Ho Ho!



After nixing the ideas of several very complex sweaters, today’s sweater is simple, but nonetheless festive.




While I am a little disappointed that Day 11 isn’t my finest sweater, it did complement the sweaters my sisters wore today. (Both of which were skillfully crafted by me.)


The sweater also complimented the green Christmas lights that happened to fall around Miss Mocha Jo and me.


Little Miss Mocha also sported some Christmas attire of her own. She was, however, very disappointed when I told her she wasn’t a real reindeer.


Day 9: Fra-gee-lay


Who doesn’t love a good Christmas story? And by that I mean, who doesn’t love A Christmas StoryThere are so many good quotes from this movie, and I would argue the fra-gee-lay scene might be the most quoted line of the move.


This sweater also had a legitimate fragile moment of it’s own. Yesterday, during the 4 hours she was home alone, Miss Mocha Jo decided to get on my dining room table (mind you it’s a tall/bar height table), chew on the nicest pair of scissors I own, chew and consume some craft glue, and chew at the puff paint on my holiday sweater I was letting dry. Between the craft supplies she destroyed and the mess she made when her tummy started hurting (I’ll save you from these images…), my holiday sweater suffered the least.


The silver lining in her destruction was that she chewed on the easiest piece to replace, and her destruction didn’t prevent me from wearing my holiday sweater today.


My guess is that Mocha was triple-dog-daring me to prove just how good I am at crafting holiday sweaters.

A Turkey Celebration

This year I celebrated Thanksgiving in style.


As you may be able to tell, I decorated this shirt (quite expertly, if you ask me) by hand using a cheap sweatshirt, felt, craft glue, buttons, and a pair of googly eyes.

Eventually I might upload and share the patterns I used to make the turkey, but today’s not that day. (However, let me know if you want the patterns and I can do it sooner rather than later.)

This shirt was super easy to make (and fueled my excitement for a couple holiday projects), but best of all, this festive turkey shirt only cost me about $10 and a couple hours of my time.

Also, for those of you keeping tabs on my beautiful Mocha Jo. She thoroughly enjoyed her first Thanksgiving. She probably had more people food than she should have, but it comes with the territory of being my dog. At the end of the day, she was full, thankful and sleepy.


Meet Mocha Jo

I’ve only known her for two weeks and I have only spent a few days with her, but I have a new best friend: Mocha Jo.


Mocha is a shelter dog—a stray rescued during the dead of winter. I first heard about her back in February. My friend told me about her because she knew (1) my planned moved at the end of May was going to allow me to get a dog (finally!), and (2) I had my heart set on either a St. Bernard or a chocolate lab. Casually mentioning that a shelter in her hometown had recently rescued a chocolate lab, my friend showed me photos of said dog. I immediately swooned over her; but my heart broke because it was only February and I had to wait three months before I could seriously start looking for a dog.

Throughout the next few months, my friend kept me posted on the status of the rescued chocolate lab. Despite her amiable demeanor and gorgeous puppy-dog face, no one had adopted her. How could this be? Who could say no to a dog like her? Even though I wanted this dog to have a good home, I was secretly glad she was still available for adoption because then I had a chance with her.

Finally, the middle of May arrived. With my move date rapidly approaching, my friend (who knows the shelter owner) helped set up a time to for me and The Boy to meet the chocolate lab.

When my friend called the shelter, she found out that the chocolate lab had been adopted a couple days before. My heart broke again. I was about fourteen days from being able to claim her as mine and she was snatched right out from under me. But, my friend had good news for me. There was a good possibility that the chocolate lab was going to be surrendered back to the shelter because the couple that adopted her wasn’t on the same page in what kind of dog (if any) they wanted. Thankfully for me (and eventually the chocolate lab), the adoption did fall through. A couple of days later, The Boy and I journeyed to York, Nebraska to meet the chocolate lab.

IMG_20130524_185157_950_croppedThe second I saw her, I knew she would be mine. Given that I grew up with an incredibly large chocolate lab, she was a lot smaller than I expected—but I knew she would fit right in with my family’s dogs, who are both also on the smaller side of their respective breeds. It also helped that the chocolate lab was playing with a small puppy during our visit. The two of them were so cute together. In fact, I kind of wanted to bring both of them home.

Then I heard the chocolate lab’s story. Having been rescued near Champion Homes, the chocolate lab’s name was Champ. In February, a woman called the shelter about a stray dog. This woman expressed great concern for the dog because February was a particularly cold month this past winter. Sharing this woman’s concern, the shelter immediately began trying to catch the stray. However, the stray chocolate lab was pretty sly and evaded several attempts. The shelter eventually caught her, having resorted to a strategy involving a large trap cage and fried chicken. From the chocolate lab’s condition, it looked as though she’d been on her own for a while or someone had treated her pretty badly (I did not like the thought of either scenario!). She had several injuries, including a pretty bad tear on her ear; but with some loving care provided by the shelter and its partnering vet, the chocolate lab named Champ recovered nicely.

Her story made my heart sad, but I knew I could give her the happy ending she deserved.

So, there I was head over heels for this chocolate lab. My friend was also sold on me adopting the chocolate lab. But, then there was The Boy. Even though he knew he didn’t have much say in the matter, I mean, um … because it was a joint decision, he knew I was looking for his approval. He knew the chocolate lab was going home with us, but he wanted to milk the few minutes I anxiously waited for his answer. After tormenting me for a few minutes, he came to his senses and agreed this chocolate lab was “the one.”

Unfortunately, I was still about ten days from being able to take her home with me. I was a little concerned that the shelter would not want to hold her for a couple more weeks (mostly because she’d already been there for nearly three months), but the shelter was not only willing to hold her, the owner also arranged for the chocolate lab to be spayed during that time so we would have one less “new dog task” to deal with.

The next two weeks seemed to take forever. Not only was I in the process of moving, I was eagerly waiting for the day I could give this dog a real home.

Last Thursday, finally, The Boy and I journeyed back to York to bring our chocolate lab home. We decided to rename her Mocha Jo because although she is a chocolate lab mutt, she looks like a black lab in certain light—she is a dark chocolate lab, if you will. And to top it off, the white patch on her chest is like a little bit of whipped topping (pun intended).

The Boy and I weren’t sure how she would handle the forty five minute drive home, but Mocha was phenomenal. She snoozed the whole way.


We have had Mocha for three days now and we are convinced could not have found a more perfect dog. No accidents. No random chewed up objects. No excessive barking. In fact, it is almost unsettling how perfect Mocha is—not many new dog owners can say the first 72 hours were a breeze. Rather than pushing her limits and testing our patience, Mocha is proving to be a sweet and calm dog that appreciates a good home—a home in which she’s making herself quite comfortable.


I must admit that a large part of our new dog success (i.e. no accidents) is due to Kathy, the owner of K9 Coach Learning Center in York, Nebraska. In the three months Mocha was at the shelter, Kathy and her staff trained Mocha. Among other things, Mocha knows how to sit, lie down, shake, heel, fetch and walk on a loose leash. Kathy also kennel trained and house trained Mocha.

I barely know Kathy, but I am forever indebted to her. Not only did she rescue my Mocha from the freezing cold, she also gave us the perfect dog by taking the time to care for, train and love a stray dog.

The Boy and I absolutely love Mocha, and based on the hugs (a trick nurtured by Kathy) and kisses we get, Mocha loves us too. We may only be three days into our relationship, but I’m thinking Mocha’s story will end with a happily ever after.