Faces in the crowd — Mary Moss
Never in her life did she imagine herself nicknamed the “Summit Saint,” and at no time did she think her life would touch the hearts of so many people with whom she works with.
But Mary Moss, a 13-year grooming professional, has made a difference in her own life, as well as in others’ lives.
Moss, a Marysville native and Donner Summit resident, works nearly around the clock to support her family as a single mother. She grooms animals by day and cleans houses by night.
“I’m looking forward to slowing down some day,” the 44-year-old said. “It would be nice to spend more time with my family. Even though I’m struggling now, I know my efforts will pay off.”
Moss, an independent contractor, has been with the Sierra Pet Clinic for more than five years and said she has experienced just about all she could imagine.
“I’ve had my fingers bitten through, had a finger almost bitten off and have found some pretty strange things in some of the dogs’ coats,” she said. “I’ve found beetles, spiders and fish hooks, that looked large enough to catch sharks with.”
Moss said her job as a groomer is an adventure because of the different personalities of her customers’ pets.
“I love my job here,” she said. “I’m so thankful to be able to work with such a great group of people.”
Her ability to be appreciate life despite adversity is what Donner Summit’s Kathy Frisby saw as Moss’ special trait.
“Everyone can learn from Mary’s positive attitude,” Frisby wrote in her “Faces in the crowd” nomination letter. “She is a reminder to all of us to be thankful for the simplest things in life.”
Frisby, who is a realtor, is more than familiar with Moss’ contributions to her community. Moss cleans vacation homes for Frisby and once walked five miles in a blizzard to make sure a home was cleaned.
“I guarantee every job I do, whether it is grooming a dog or cleaning a house,” Moss said. “I respect Kathy so much and I would never let her down. If I say I’m going to do a job, I get it done even if it means walking through a blizzard.”
This is not always an easy task for Moss. She has been suffering with a tumor “the size of a grapefruit” for five years and is often in pain.
“There’s nothing I can do (for the tumor) right now,” she said. “I’ve been trying to save up enough money for the operation, but every year it gets more expensive. I think I’m going to have to look for other means to pay now. I can’t wait much longer.”
Nothing can stop her, not even the unruly dogs and cats she sometimes must wrestle with.
“If there’s a will there’s a way,” she said. “I just want to make sure everyone is taken care of.”
First on her list is her family – daughter Lindsay, 14, who attends Sierra Mountain Middle School; son Kiley “Q.,” 23, who just returned from duty in the Army’s special forces and is schooling at Chico State University; and Matthew, 25, who works for Nevada County.
“My kids have gotten me through the worst of times,” she said. “I’m so thankful that they are OK. I’ve realized that it is so easy to lose someone.”
Moss lost her husband to inoperable bone cancer, and lost relatives and friends to unexpected deaths
“You’ve got to have faith,” she said. “I’ve learned that I just need to be who I am and not stress about everything. I’m ‘kookier’ than heck.”
Back in Marysville, Moss was known as “Bugsy” because of her love of bugs.
“No one up here knows my nickname,” she said. “Well, I guess they will now.”
Moss said the bigger the bug, the better it was. She said she would still like to find a Japanese beetle for a long-gone collection she had as a teen.
“My mom thought it was weird that I collected bugs,” she said. “So she got rid of them.”
One thing people on the Summit know is Moss’ hard work and dedication.
“I didn’t realize that people around me took notice of what I was doing or how I was feeling,” she said. “I’m so surprised that Kathy noticed so much.
“She (Kathy) is my saint and my savior. I have never had a better friend.”
(Do you know someone who stands out from the crowd? As Andy Warhol said, everyone deserves at least 15 minutes of fame. To nominate a “face in the crowd,” contact Sherry Mays at 587-6061 or send a note to P.O. Box 2973, Truckee, CA 96160.)
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