PJ– July 2001 to May 28, 2013

PJ was my friend Sarah’s dog, and I got to know her well while I was pet-sitting when Sarah would travel. Later on PJ spent a fair amount of time with me and always fit in as a sweet, happy member of our family.

It was a kind of grace to be
PJ’s friend. She came to Sarah as an unsocialized, semi-feral puppy, and Sarah slowly, patiently taught her to trust. Over time PJ became more and more social and ended up loving people, but when I first met her as a two-year-old, she was still quite
reserved. I immediately felt an affinity for this shy, camouflaged
sprite, who so loved being quietly outside by herself, and I always felt
it was a gift and a privilege to have her trust. Sarah often said that PJ had the same personality as I, but in a dog’s body. Maybe that is why PJ and I connected right away; I felt as though we understood each other without words.

PJ was an observer. She spent much of her days watching and waiting in eager expectation. Hour by hour contentedly watching a tree in which she knew a squirrel sometimes foraged. Waiting patiently for a woodchuck to come out of its hole. Watching and waiting while a squirrel walked within a few yards of her on the deck. Weather rarely deterred PJ, and she would frequently ask to stay outside when the other dogs came in.
Watching the Horse Chestnut tree on a rainy day

Watching the world with her, whether slowly
meandering through the woods on leash, investigating every interesting
scent, or roaming fields searching for something moving subtly under the
grass, or sitting on the deck with her watching her watch a tree for hours, opened my eyes to much
that I may otherwise have missed. During times when I might otherwise have been stressed, PJ often helped cultivate a peaceful spirit in me, attentive to easily-overlooked but fascinating aspects of the natural world around my home.
My shadow and PJ, enjoying a winter woods walk

 I miss the gentle tap on my elbow or soft poke behind my knee that were
her quiet ways of saying, “Hi, I’m here with you.” I would turn to see
those bright eyes, that sweet expression or happy grin, and her wagging tail. I miss the
thump, thump, thump of her tail on the floor whenever I’d look in her
direction. I miss her uniquely beautiful ears that would twitch slightly in my direction to greet me, when she was “watching.”

PJ, beloved scruffy girl, I miss
your gentle spirit and quiet zest for life. I will watch and wait and remember all you taught me.

A young PJ, in pencil
watercolor sketch done in the field
How to Appreciate a Tree, by PJ

8 Replies to “PJ– July 2001 to May 28, 2013”

  1. I'm so sorry, Melissa, and Sarah, too, for the loss of your beautiful friend PJ.

    Someone else I know had to say goodbye to a beloved furry companion this morning. IT's been such a painfully sad and heartbreaking day today.

    It's always so very difficult, so very painful, and so heartbreaking to not have them live as many years as we do, but the love that they bring and give to us, and the loving bond that grows and strengthens over these comparatively few short years we are gifted with from them being with us, can help – even if only very slightly – comfort us and console us as we say goodbye and remember them with so much love.

    That's how we do keep them with us, I've learned. They may not be here in the physical, tangible sense, but they are with us always, and we can feel and sense them here with us still, with our memories of them, in our love for them and their love for us.

    May PJ play and run free and happy over by the Rainbow Bridge. Rest in sweet and gentle peace, beautiful angel.

  2. A beautiful tribute, Mom. Especially the part about her coming up and nudging you, and tail thumping on the floor when you look her way…
    Love, Jonathan

  3. June, your words are beautiful and heartfelt and comforting. I have read your comment many times now, and really appreciate you writing with such understanding and care. Thank you.

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