A Tribute to MoBear

Witches on the water 2022

Our dear MoBear passed away on Sunday, Jan 30th at 3:20pm. MoBear was rescued as a stray in Wasco, CA and was fostered by Judy through Rocket Dog Rescue at the end of 2012, but after just one week he won her heart and her his. From then on, they were always like two peas in a pod. His official name was Mozart because when he was found he had a wild set of hair on his head like the late Mozart. But his happy demeanor and goofiness deserved something different, so we had many nick names for him like Mo, MoBear, Momo, Mobita, etc... I met MoBear on June 16, 2013 on my second date with Judy and I was smitten by him right away. I was told by Judy that my instant love for MoBear (and vice-versa) was one of the factors that she kept dating me.

Although there are many other personal stories and reasons that I could recount for MoBear, I wanted to share with you why he was also so important to Mike's Paddle and the paddling community. When Judy and I moved to Alameda, I had intended to open a mobile SUP business but when we took MoBear on walks around Ballena Bay, I found the area so enchanting and perfect for paddling I decided to open the shop just a mile from our house. MoBear was there when we looked at the first shop location in the marina; he was there when we constructed the first dock; he was there when I first started working in the shop by myself. He was always there through thick and thin with pure love, all the time.

MoBear was also a paddler and a water dog. Although he didn't love the cold bay water, he endured many paddles with me and Judy including two trips to the South Fork of the American through Class III rapids. At the shop he was well loved and became a permanent fixture. Adults and kids loved him because of his calm and friendly demeanor - he looks like a little lamb and always loved a good petting and cuddle. Mike's Paddle always is a refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life (SF & Oakland) and MoBear was part of that refuge for many of us. MoBear was special for kids too when we first started kids camp. We did not have the robust programming back then like we have now and I would bring MoBear as part of afternoon programs if kids behaved well on water. Many of the kids that grew up with our summer programming remember MoBear and still ask about him now that they are teenagers or even college students when they come back to paddle.

To many who have dogs and wanted to take their dogs on the water, MoBear was an inspiration. He was the first dog that we took paddling. He behaved well on the dock and on water. The pictures of him paddling with Judy and me gave everyone the confidence to try it with their own. MoBear was featured in the Bay Area Business Times as part of the promotion for Alameda City tourism. To this date, we are still a dog friendly paddling shop. Many of our staff and instructors bring their dogs to paddles and work, in fact some of our yoga instructors even bring their dogs to teach because they bring such joy and calm to the class.

In the last two to three years of his life, MoBear carried on his loving nature despite experiencing several serious genetic ailments. He had a total of three surgeries over the years (back, neck and removal of cecum) and his knees were misaligned. Due to the complication of his IBD and effects from taking steroids to treat his IBD, his muscle atrophy and spine issues made it difficult to walk, stand up and sit down. We took great care to make sure he got the best treatment and care throughout his life. For the past year, Judy and I took him to physical therapy twice a week to receive acupuncture, shock wave therapy, and physical therapy including massage and underwater treadmill. I often joked with friends that MoBear gets more PT than I do since I only go once a week. Early adoption in pet insurance helped us financially, and we were glad to have him for as long as he was still enjoying life. It was the hardest decision for us to euthanize him humanely but we needed to prioritize his quality of life.

We had discovered only recently that he is a Belington Terrier, which is extremely rare in the US. Regardless of his breed, which never mattered to us as we believe in fostering and adopting dogs in need, he was the most special boy to all. To quote Judy, "I rescued him, but really, he rescued me." MoBear gave us, the shop, and the paddling community so much with pure love and heart. He was the best dog that we could have asked for and he will always have a special place in my heart.

Mike's Paddle, Judy and I (personally) regularly donate to Rocket Dog Rescue through our amazon purchases as well as donating directly to the organization each year. To commemorate MoBear's special contribution to our lives, we will choose one day in June each year to be official Mike's Paddle Celebrate Your Pet Day (2022: June 11, Saturday). A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Rocket Dog Rescue from Celebrate Your Pet Day. We hope you will join us to celebrate all of our pets and donate to any pet rescue organization in MoBear's honor. 

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