Alexandria, VA – Meet Morada, known to all her besties as Mo. Mo is the Belle of the Dog Park. She is popular with all the canine fellas, and that’s no surprise. She has a beautiful plume of a tail and she is full of wrestle, tumble, and sassy spirit. Mo is part German Shepard, and part Golden “fill in the blank, Heinz 57 varieties,” says Jim Griffin, her owner.
Mo is known for her no-holds-barred level of play at the dog park. She loves roughhousing, and she’ll give any pup who dares to make a move a run for his treats. At home. Mo enjoys playing with her brother, a small Maltese. Her other hobbies include getting on the bed, chewing the squeaker out of toys, and, well, eating treats. Not much bothers Mo, unless you are taking balls, toys, or food away from her. But she’s not fond of the air conditioning unit, the refrigerator, or the mailman.
Jim usually accompanies Mo to the dog park. He’s a good-natured guy who enjoys a good laugh. He’s laid back when it comes to Mo’s rough and tumble play and can often be heard telling her playmates to “get a little of her cheek, get a little ear.”
Jim and his wife Luanne have lived in the area for over 30 years, so they are Old Town Alexandria locals. “I remember Old Town when it was just the lower end of King Street, and that was it,” says Jim.
He met Luanne in 1997, when they both lived in a building on S. St. Asaph. Luanne had been a legislative assistant for Tom Ridge when he was a congressman in the 1980s, but didn’t follow him when he became the governor of Pennsylvania in 1995. “I met her, and then I pursued her for about a year. And then we got married. Late. I was 39,” says Jim.
These days, Luanne is getting her third Master’s degree, in clinical psychology, and Jim raises money for private equity groups. They love Old Town for its walkability and charm. “It’s kinda neat because you get all the historic 1700s stuff here,” says Jim.
Jim and Luanne decided to get Mo because their 11-year-old Maltese was aging, and when he passed, they wanted their daughter to have another furry companion. “We’re dog people. Having one is not enough. We’d have three if I could find a place to put them all,” says Jim.
Luanne searched for another dog and finally found Mo online. Their daughter, who was 19 at the time, gave her the name. “When we brought the new dog home, we told her ‘your call.’ She named her Morada, after Islamorada,” Jim recalls.
They thought they were getting a guard dog, but as it turns out, Mo can be quite easily spooked. “She’s afraid of everything, including her shadow. She’ll look in the mirror and run, thinking it’s another dog her size.”
You wouldn’t know it if you saw her at the dog park. There, she wrestles with the best of them. If another dog is out of line, she’ll give it a stern barking to, and then go back to playing as if no offense was taken.
“If you try to pull a ball out of her mouth, she’ll growl like she will take your arm off, but she’s probably the most gentle thing I’ve ever met for her size and ability to be ferocious. I could pull a ball out of her mouth if I want to,” says Jim.
The gang at the 5 O’Clock Club think Mo’s personality is ideal. She’s tough when she needs to be, a little wild, an all-around fun-loving gal. No wonder she’s a favorite.
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