Today marks one month since my beloved dog Pasu died. Writing on my bus ride helps me face coming home each day. Here’s today’s story.

I like to think I rescued Pasu from the life of a show dog. He was just a few months old when his breeder decided he had some physical characteristics that weren’t developing according to standards in the Sheltie dog show business. He wouldn’t be the blue ribbon dog she had hoped for.

I brought him home to a different life. Pasu got to run through mud puddles, dirt trails, rocky cliffs, sandy beaches, and fields of clover. Damp breezes tinged with salt ruffled his fur. Twigs, leaves, dirt, and sand clung to him like barnacles I had to carefully detach and brush out of his long, thick coat.

Instead of running competitive agility courses, Pasu freely jumped over large roots and logs on forest trails, climbed rocks to observation peaks, ran circles in open greenspaces and turned on a dime, leapt over estuary streams, chased the foamy surf back and forth, hiked behind The Gorge waterfalls, swam in freshwater springs, rafted with me in shallow lakes, kept watch in campsites, followed sniffing protocol as he pranced through springy grass and read his pee-mail on our neighborhood walks, played hide-and-seek through the house, walked backwards skillfully, caught balls on one bounce and frisbees mid-air, chased squirrels, charged the window to bark at the mail carrier and passers by, herded all the gals in our hiking and house parties, and raced to greet me whenever I had been away.

Pasu was my blue ribbon boy every single day. He had heart, courage, intelligence, athleticism, and an eagerness to work and play in partnership with me. He was sweet, gentle, and good. I miss him. No part of the day is immune to tears.

I’m grateful that this past year — with my feet healed and Pasu responding well to Cushing’s Disease meds — he and I were able to get back on the trails together. He was so happy to be on longer day hikes again, and he let me lift him over the logs he couldn’t jump anymore. Before he jumped a small log on the Salmon River Trail this winter, he looked up at me with confidence that he could make it on his own. He jumped over and then trotted off ahead, showing me the way.

Composed on March 21, 2017 – one month after my beloved dog Pasu died, at age 14