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|