May 6, 2011 - from Eva Saks
In Mo Morium

My Sheltie Momo went to his rest at 12:45 pm today.  He would have turned fifteen on the 28th of this month. What is there to say?

A lot.

Momo was, is, the glass half full. We lived together in four houses and he made every one of them magic. To him, Koreatown was not a hardscrabble ghetto but a tantalizing and diverse feast of wonderful foods, smells and people. Studio City was a shady green lane. Toluca Trickle was a social center, where he enjoyed our sunny patio and our puppy foster Popcorn despite – BECAUSE – of Popcorn’s rambunctiousness. And Momo found perfect joy in our new home, where he surveyed his tree and his garden and knew that he had come full circle.

Mary Lou once said to me, don’t all old dogs have good days and bad days? But Momo never had a bad day. He even had a fun day yesterday, which he spent getting IV fluids at the Cal Animal Hospital, where he had previously recuperated from two surgeries and was adored by all. They gave him amazing care. Yesterday late morning when I went to say goodbye to him until my evening visit, he was lying on a silken pillow in the examining room, NOT in a cage but in the corner where he had a great view of everything; he was being petted by two vet techs and animatedly monitoring every veterinary activity. Even one of the techs mentioned that he seemed to be “holding court!” I went to kiss him and I swear, he practically offered me a cigar.

We decided today that it was time, based on his evident exhaustion combined with an ultrasound that revealed – today, for the first time -- a large intestinal tumor.

I knew he wanted to go outside and see the world one last time. So I put him in his beloved mobility harness and took him out of the hospital onto Sepulveda Boulevard. He’s always loved Sepulveda, with its traffic and action and odors and crowds. Momo loves action. Well, the second his front feet hit the ground he was off and running. Running! With me holding his back-end in the harness. Heck, as usual, I could barely keep up with him. He took an incredibly “victory lap” up and down the street, prancing like a champ. Afterwards, he collapsed in my lap, exhausted but deeply triumphant. He bid farewell to his adored aunts, Kathy and Skippy and Leslie. And I told the doctor that I thought it would be good for him to go on a high note, not drag it out for days and possibly pain for Momo…so she went inside to get the euthanasia implements ready.

I spent a loving ten minutes with Momo and when the vet returned, he went for a final “victory lap,” head held high and moving out in front. I sang him our customary chant:  “Go Mo! Go Momo! Momo a go-go!” The vet, the tech, and his beloved Aunt Leslie burst into cheers!

Then I gently laid him down and held him right inside a private room adjacent to the street. The vet put him to sleep while I kissed him, and told him I loved him, and that he was going to his brother Brome and to my sister Nina, and that soon he would be running again without any help…and that someday we would again do a “run for a treat” together.

Momo loved life, and Peruvian chicken, and his long-lost brother/soulmate Brome, and his devoted pack here at home: Hobby and Sally and Buddy and me. It was a mercy and a miracle for Momo and Brome that they were reunited last year, in time for Brome to die (of cancer) in Momo's loving paws. Momo was soulful, but also worldly – indeed, cosmopolitan. He went to swanky restaurants, five-star hotels, and to the theater. He was the ultimate dog-about-town. He somehow had the world hornswoggled into believing that he was a therapy dog…and certainly he was, for me. He was also adored by my other three Shelties, who are all related to him in different ways. Hobby’s great-great-grandfather was Momo’s father. Sally’s father’s mother was Momo’s littermate/sister, Ha-Dar War o’ the Roses (making Sally – whose “real” name is Ha-Dar Center Stage --  Momo’s great-niece). And Buddy is kin because he, like Momo, is a senior Sheltie who was dumped by his life-long human family in a kill shelter – a bond as real as blood. They will all miss Momo dearly.

Momo’s breathtaking beauty – which remained right until the end, indeed after the end – led to many film and TV offers but I declined them all. I never wanted him to spend a minute pushed beyond his limits, as production often requires; after all, when I adopted him (or vice versa) he was already eleven years old. So I felt he need not be subjected to physical stress. I used to joke that he competed not in Agility but in Adorability. Momo didn’t breed, he didn’t fetch, he didn’t do agility; his sole raison d’etre was to love and be loved. To me, Momo IS love.

I attach a picture of Momo taken one week ago today in his garden.