A Dog’s Story

Moxie the Dog with flag in mouth

Moxie posing with her flag. From the "Bale Mill Odessey" by Judy Hurdle.

It is rare but not unheard of that a dog’s passing would make the news. Moxey was one of those dogs. Moxey, the beloved pet of Hardy Hardella, passed away from old age and indigestion at the age of twelve in the early summer of 1907. Moxey was given a “decent burial” for he “had earned recognition above that accorded to the average dog.”

Moxey or Moxie, a Scotch Collie, was born on February 27, 1895, in the kennels of Senator Julius C. Burrows of Michigan. Mr. Hardella, the manager of Hardella Dye Works, bought Moxey a month later.   Historic Joplin will dedicate a post to the interesting life of Hardy Hardella at a later time.  In Joplin, Moxey was “one of the best known residents of the neighborhood at Third Street and Jackson Avenue” and was “famous for its utilitarian service.” Moxey, it seems, did not believe in performing “foolish tricks” like shaking hands or rolling over.

Moxie the dog Ad

An advertisement featuring Moxey.

Instead, he was known for carrying around a basket of “meat or vegetables all day if necessary.” Moxey “would quickly learn and gladly perform” any useful action. He and his owner were so close that it was said that Mr. Hardella never whipped Moxey so as not to “estrange the fine devotion of the sagacious animal.” Moxey’s owner turned down an offer of $300 to sell Moxey to the owner of the Wallace Show, a traveling circus that at one time was second in size only to Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.  Moxie was known for leading parades while clutching an American flag in her mouth.

Moxey's image in her obituary.

Moxey's image in her obituary.

Upon Moxey’s death, Mr. Hardella purchased a “pretty coffin for the magnificent dog” and was buried with the same reverence “as would have been a child.” The Joplin News-Herald eulogized Moxey, “The small part of the world with which he came in contact is better, probably, because he lived. Such dogs seldom live. Their influence is good.”

Moxey the dog

Moxey, from the private collection of Judy Hurdle.

Sources: Joplin News Herald, Missouri State Archives Death Certificate Database, Livingston’s History of Jasper County, Bale Milling Odyssey by Judy Hurdle