A co-worker declared to me today, “You’re a witch!” We were talking about my dog Pasu, who died two weeks ago. I had shared a magical, mystical story. Here’s a small collection.

ONE: One day after Pasu died, I woke up early, startled and groggy, and felt compelled to walk to the living room and look out the window. I saw a person walking a Sheltie on the sidewalk in front of my house. A flashlight lit up the sable-colored Sheltie leading the walk.

TWO: Two days after Pasu died, my friend Alex came to my home to haul away large tree limbs that had fallen in the backyard during a wind storm. I had been sleeping, awoke suddenly and went to the front door. In my sadness I wasn’t going to say hello, but then decided to open the door. Alex looked up with his happy eyes, big smile, and said, “When I pulled up, I saw Pasu playing in the front yard, but then all of a sudden he was gone.” He didn’t know Pasu had died. Overcome with emotion, Alex dropped to his knees, said a prayer in Spanish, and expressed his sorrow and wonder to me.

THREE: The Saturday after Pasu died, I drove to Cannon Beach. Remembering our playtimes there, I walked a long stretch of the beach past Haystack Rock, sat down on a log, dropped my head and cried. I don’t know how long I sat like that, but suddenly my head came up and I saw an older couple walking a pair of Shelties, about the size of Pasu, in front of me. I watched them walk by and beyond until I couldn’t see them anymore.

FOUR: This evening while walking home from the bus stop, listening to Celtic Woman in the 40-degree chill, I was staring down at my feet and the puddles in the sidewalk. I looked up with a start and saw a beautiful blue-merle-colored Sheltie holding his head out the back passenger window of an SUV. He looked right at me, with intelligence, gentleness and familiarity in his eyes. We held each other’s gaze for a block and a half, both of us turning our heads as we needed to maintain contact.

Whatever made these magical, mystical things happen, I believe they are gentle manifestations of Pasu’s enduring presence. In some ways, he still wakes me up gently, sweetly, and sometimes with a start. But the reality is that he’s not here.

My neighbor Larry said that “the neighborhood will be a lesser place” without him. I see folks walking by, pausing, looking up at the house for the little dog who always barked a greeting. I see them stop and stare, searching, their looks of happy anticipation gradually turning to acceptance that he’s not in the window or at the storm door. They continue on their walk, sometimes even pausing again and doing a double take just to make sure he’s really not there.

I understand. I pause and look up for him, too — every time I leave the house, every time I come home. Even when someone else picks me up or drops me off, I turn and look. I just do. So today I walked across the street and looked back at my dogwoods in bloom.

house 1
Flowering dogwood trees at my house on NE 68th Avenue

Composed on March 7, 2017 – two weeks after my beloved dog Pasu died at age 14