Mo the “screaming” dog was found wandering the streets of Phoenix alone. Now, more than 50,000 people follow him on Instagram.
William Flannigan, azcentral
An Arizona dog with a penchant for screaming is capturing hearts across the internet.
Mo the American Staffordshire terrier, who now lives in Flagstaff with his owner Kristin Allen, is gaining fame one video click at a time. A video posted on social media last week shows the pit bull screaming from the backseat of a car — his preferred form of getting attention.
Mo screams at pigeons. He screams at cars. He screams at people passing by.
But a little more than a year ago, Mo was wandering the streets of Phoenix without a home during one of the city’s hottest summers on record.
It was a Saturday night in mid-June, the day before Father’s Day. Allen had just returned home from an evening of dog-sitting when she noticed a shadow at the end of her cul-de-sac. It was the silhouette of a dog.
With no owners in sight, Allen called out to him.
“I just said, ‘Hey, hey buddy, whatcha doin’?’ And he stopped, and he looked at me from across the street, and then he kept walking,” she recalled.
The dog stopped once more. He looked at her. Then he slowly walked over to Allen, wagging his tail the whole way.
“He ran straight up to me, rested his head on my right leg and looked up at me — panting but smiling, with that pittie face, that pittie smile,” she said.
Mo had wandered into Allen’s life at just the right time. She was far away from family, on the outs of a personal relationship, and unsure of what direction to take in her career. So she brought Mo into her home. Because at that moment, she needed him as much as he needed her.
He was dirty, dehydrated and looked underweight. As Allen frantically tried to cover her apartment in sheets, Mo immediately made himself at home, climbing on to the living room couch.
Oh no, what am I gonna do with you? Allen thought.
What happened next?
The next morning, Allen took Mo to Maricopa County Animal Care and Control.
She had no desire to leave Mo, but she wanted to make sure his owners weren’t out there looking for him.
As Allen filled out paperwork in the lobby, Mo sat between her legs, his head once again rested on her leg.
One woman walked up to her.
“It looks like you have a great bond with him already,” she said.
Allen agreed she did.
Several others advised her not to leave Mo at the shelter, and she almost walked out the door with him right there. But in the end, she took the advice of the animal care workers and decided to leave Mo for 72 hours — enough time to make sure his owners weren’t out there somewhere.
On her way home, Allen cried. She cried not just about Mo — it was also Father’s Day, and this year, her father’s birthday happened to fall on the holiday. Her dad died when she was 16 years old, during a snowmobiling trip back home in the mountains of Pennsylvania.
It’s something Allen still thinks about every day.
“It seemed like a crazy sign that (Mo) walked into my life at a time when I really needed that support,” Allen said. “It was one of those ‘Who rescued who?’ stories.”
For each of the next three days, Allen visited Mo at the shelter right after work.
Monday passed. Tuesday passed. Wednesday passed. No one showed up to claim Mo.
So Allen came again to the shelter Thursday morning. This time, to adopt Mo.
“It was meant to be,” she said. “It was the right time.”
As Mo adjusted to his new life, Allen spent time every day training him. They went on runs together so he could release all his energy. Mo took training classes through the One Love Pit Bull Foundation, an organization that later helped Allen become an advocate for pits.
Mo was by Allen’s side through one of the hardest and most rewarding years of her life, from being laid off to landing her dream job and everything in between.
“He instilled in me the confidence I lost in myself,” she said. “It just goes to show: They really do give a lot and don’t ask for a lot in return.”
It was on that first Sunday, when Allen took Mo to the shelter, that she noticed his scream.
He began screaming in the back of her car. It was his way of getting attention.
“He barks, too,” she said. “He just usually screams.”
There’s a variety to the scream now, Allen said. He’ll gurgle if he wants food. He’ll scream if he wants to go outside or if she’s not paying attention to him. He’ll sometimes chirp.
“He kind of commands the entire experience all the time.”
Mo’s personal Instagram account — @mothescreamingstaffy — had 700 followers as of last Wednesday morning, before the original video was posted on social media.
By Monday, his following had climbed to more than 50,000 people.
“(We) are overwhelmed with such joy by the outpouring of love, solidarity and support for pitties by so many of you from all over the world,” Allen wrote in a post. “Thank you for joining us on this journey and in our efforts to spread pittie love everywhere!!!”
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