Just over 12yrs ago my wife & sons adopted Zim from the Bella Vista rescue for me. It was a Christmas gift because I’d suddenly lost my previous dog, Emmett, due to a terrible sickness. I was deeply grieving Emmett & was not at all happy about him being replaced mere months after his untimely death. But, here was this new dog . . .
My family had found Zim at the Bella Vista rescue. They’d been impressed by his unique eyes & the fact that he calmly walked along with them during a test hike. Now, he was in our home & he was scared. He would not leave Quinton’s bedroom for 2 days. It took a week more for him to feel comfortable walking around the house. I was not ready to accept him, but I didn’t want him to suffer or pay for the choice that my family had made in adopting him. I petted him & helped my boys choose his name, Zim. (This name came from a cartoon character that my family likes.) As time passed, Zim & I bonded.
Zim’s arrival in our family nearly coincided with the opening of Mojo. So, I brought him to the shop with me. He was so shy that he’d hide upstairs, in my office, & watch customers. It wasn’t until we moved into the shop at 2104 S Walton that he began mixing with people out of our family. Meanwhile, there was a secret Zim that few people have seen. This Zim was the active & excited trail dog. His favorite place was on the trail with me, while I was riding. In his younger days, he ran with the the Mojo shop rides. He was good for a 10+ mile ride at full blast! If we ever stopped to rest or talk, he’d run 50ft down the trail & bark at us until we followed him.
I’d like to take credit for Zim’s incredible trail etiquette, but he didn’t get it from me. He never pees or poops on the trail. When he has to go, he runs a few feet into the woods & does his business, then races back onto the trail. When our group heads out, Zim leads until we get to a quick pace. Then, he diverts to the side of the trail & as we go by he falls-in behind the final rider. When we play on techy trail segments, he finds a nice space to watch from & lays down. He never chases after squirrels, deer or other forest fauna. When we used to ride at night, I’d put a glowing collar around his neck & we’d watch his glow race down the trail behind us.
Zim rarely leaves my side. He’s older now (about 14yrs) & can’t run with the Mojo riding group any more. Now, he & I walk the trails together. His pace is slower. But the excitement remains. People who’ve not seen Zim on the trail don’t get to see the energetic, excited side of his personality. In many ways we’re kindred spirits while outdoors. But at home & in the shop, his serene nature calms my frenetic energy. Now, it’s hard to believe that there was a time before Zim. It’s hard to believe that I didn’t love him the minute that he arrived in my home. These days, he's my companion, business partner, confidant, trail buddy; I certainly can’t imagine what I’d do without him.
Next we have Koopa. You may recognize him by his windmill walk & his impeccable riding style...on Mal's back. Koopa began coming to the shop when he was having a hard time adjusting to a new apartment. Then, he just never stopped coming. People often comment on how this little dog is actually cool. Koopa has found a way to wrap his little paws around everyone's heart, most of all Mal's.
Mal brought Koopa home July, 2015. His eldest niece had gone with him to the Springdale shelter where they found this scruffy little guy being held by all the workers in the lobby. He was pretty scrawny at the time & just wanted to be held. Mal looked down at his niece & asked if they should continue looking or if he was the one. She quickly, sad no, this was the one, referring to him as Bowser's (her dog) brother. That is where the name Koopa came about, in Nintendo Bowser is the king of the Koopa Troopas.
So the backpack...? Well, Koopa doesn't really go on walks. Mal tried, but Koopa is stubborn & would just sit down & wait to be picked up. He's also got a nervous twitch that made walks difficult. Mal grew tired of holding him in one arm while continuing the walks, so he looked for a solution. Koopa clearly liked being outside. Then the backpack was found. He took to it like a champ and the goggles gifted to him by the Mojo crew completed the look.
To say that Koopa is just a dog, would be a lie. He is family. He has quite literally saved Mal's life. Don't underestimate little pups. He may not be a trail dog like Zim, but he loves bikes, loves the Mojo customers, and REALLY likes the UPS man. Koopa cuddles come free at Mojo & he will assume that you all need his affection.
Finally, we have our newest member to the Mojo pup crew, Twix. Shawna only recently adopted him. So, there's much still to be discovered about his personality. He's still just a puppy, but he's quite smart & is taking to his training very well. So far, he seems to like hugs, treats, & a run around the block several times a day. We can't wait to see how he grows, & what he'll add to the Mojo shop vibe.