Arise in the morning

Pasha in April 2005, a week before his eighth birthday.

Pasha in April 2005, already turning a bit grey just before his eighth birthday.

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …”Marcus Aurelius

When I looked back at the post that was published one year ago today (written exactly one week before it was published) I was surprised to find that I had made casual mention of having been out for a walk with Pasha the previous evening.  I had no way of knowing when I wrote that post that he would die less than a week later on the morning it published.

Seeing the post again recently and realizing for the first time that my blissful ignorance of his coming death was documented on the day we lost him, I felt happy that he was able to enjoy almost every minute until he was no longer able to draw breath.

Mornings are very hard for me, but they were Pasha’s favorite time of the day. Normally rather sedate (unusually so for a Schipperke, we were often told), Pasha was full of lively joy in the mornings, and it was contagious enough that he always made it a bit easier for me to get up.  I really miss that friendly morning greeting each day.

On New Year’s Eve in 2011, for reasons I have now forgotten, I had my camera in hand when Jeff sent Pasha upstairs to summon me for breakfast.   I decided to make a brief video of what was a fairly typical Pasha morning, and though I was not able to capture one of the full-fledged romps he used to enjoy with Jeff, I did catch enough of it to give you an idea how Pasha would celebrate those York mornings.

It’s amazing to me to watch this and realize he was over 14½ years old when this was filmed.  He was truly a canine “senior citizen” by then, but what energy and zest! It’s been one year ago today that he left us, and though we hope to adopt another dog when our lives stabilize a bit, there will only ever be one Pasha.  We miss him, and we always will.

Chances are you have at least one animal friend who gave, or still gives, the kind of companionship that is rich with the best life lessons, short on lectures but long on fun.  I wish you happy memories of them today!

One year ago today:

The mystic moon


  1. That was super! Pasha’s morning romp certainly started my day today with smiles and laughter!

    • Thanks Susan, I am so happy you liked it!

  2. bobmielke

    Life can be so very short. I’ve hear it said that some people live like there’s no tomorrow. Only God know the days and hour of our passing. Treasure every minute.

    • So true. When Jeff was first diagnosed and given such a grim prognosis, I kept reminding myself that “none of us is promised tomorrow.” Sometimes it takes a cruel wake-up call to open our eyes to the importance of enjoying NOW without unduly dwelling on the past or future.

  3. raynard

    Julia, I’m stuck between the stray girl dog in my yard as a teen, the scotchish terrior I had named Benji that broke his leg, or the golden retriever while in Texas , I got deployed and my x wife ” made her vanish I hope she didnt make her ” sleep with the dishes errr Fishes I digress. For my next cake, how does French Vanilla Pink Velvet sounds to you? Be blessed

    • Raynard, Golden Retrievers are among my favorites, they are all such sweethearts and I never met one that wasn’t 100% adorable. Hopefully your friend was adopted by a family who enjoyed her for many years. When I don’t know the ending to the story I like to make up a happy one. French Vanilla Pink sounds perfect for a summer treat!

  4. singleseatfighterpilot

    I am sorry for your loss. Austin was not like Pasha. He lectured me quite often. Heath, on the other hand shares some of the characteristics in this delightful video – he loves to play “fetch” (but he seems to love the game of “keep away” much more 🙂

    • Just in the very brief time I was near Austin and then Heath, I could tell how differently they were wired, even given that Heath was still really just a puppy or at least a youth, which explains some of the exuberance. This may sound crazy to people who don’t know how much personality varies among dogs, but I would say Austin reminds me more of Drew, and Heath is more like Matt. 😀 I hope I get to see Heath again sometime when I can spend more time playing with him. I am sure Heath probably feels “keep away” is a much more effective way to train humans than “fetch” since it is much more interactive and less passive for the human. Dogs are very good at understanding how to train humans.

  5. Larry

    Pasha always had a energetic playfulness about him. The saying “a dog is a man’s best friend” is true but that goes much further when your dog is a member of your family. Pasha was just that, a part of the family. We will always remember Pasha and the well behaved companion he was to everyone.

    • Thank you Larry, I’m happy you got to visit with Pasha at our home and yours too. He definitely enjoyed his 2011 trip to Tennessee and Alabama, although he figured out how to escape from his softside kennel while we were at Carla’s home in Alabama. When we fastened the zipper together so that he could not open it, he still managed to “travel” by rolling over and over inside the kennel, which would roll with him, enabling to get from one room to another. It was truly hilarious. That was the end of soft side kennels for him. 😀 You are right that he was generally well behaved, but like all Schipperkes, his drive to explore could get him into trouble at times.

  6. Ann

    Love your video of Pasha and Jeff!! Aren’t dogs wonderful! We have two right now, both about 9 years old. They add so much joy to our lives.

    Pasha was a handsome fellow, beautiful coat and soulful eyes.

    Thanks for sharing with us.


    • Ann, I am so glad you enjoyed the video. You are lucky to have two dogs, double the fun. Thank you for your kind words about Pasha. I always thought he was a handsome dog and used to joke that he made a good decorative accessory, lying around on the rug in all his shiny black splendor.

  7. Lynn

    When I have to come up with new ideas for work every day, my dog — and the dogs of others such as you never let me down..: they fill our lives with joy !

    • Thank you Lynn! I imagine writing for Dog Fancy is like writing this blog in at least one way – it’s a great way to forget the troubles of the world and enjoy the blessings! One could hardly have a more agreeable topic. It’s great to hear from you.

  8. Julia, I got such a good laugh out of watching fiesty little Pasha outrun and outplay both you and Jeff. It was great to hear that southern accent. Living here in central Florida I miss my soft comforting melody. You sound a lot like one of my aunts. I am originally from the Quachita mountains in Arkansas. Thank you so much for the video. We had a boston terrier who was as rambunctious as Pasha. I do miss that little girl.

    • Cherie, you won’t believe this but my friend named Cherie who lives across the street from us had a Boston Terrier that just died recently. I will miss that dog so much, she was one of the most affectionate dogs I’ve ever known. The minute she saw me she would roll over on her back because she loved to have her belly scratched and knew I would oblige. I can imagine you must miss your own terrier so much. While Jeff was in dental school he had a classmate and neighbor of ours who was from the same part of Arkansas as you. He and his wife went to Ouichita Baptist University. Small world! I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. I’m glad Pasha was able to give you a laugh today.

  9. Sheila

    Julia, how wonderful that you have a video to enjoy of Pasha’s joy and excitement and so much zest for life. I sent a comment earlier this morning while I was outside with Jack and I suppose it posted to Pasha. 🙂 He knows we’re thinking of him! There is such a loss when our pets depart this life, but remembering how much they GAVE keeps them close in our hearts and our memories. Thinking of y’all and sharing this day….. Love, Sheila

    • Sheila, I was so happy when I found that video; I had forgotten about making it and just recently re-discovered it. I remember how you and I were grieving our beloved dogs at around the same time last year. I don’t know where your comment ended up but if Pasha got it I’m sure he enjoyed it. 😀 Hope you are having fun with Jack today. If he looks as much like Salty as you say, I imagine he is bringing back some happy memories.

      • Sheila

        Julia, when Salty would have those same escapades of running through the house and racing laps around the furniture, we referred to it as “Crazy-Wild” as we cheered him on. 🙂 This has brought so many varied, kind comments today. I have laughed, smiled, and then also remembered a year ago. The sadness eventually gives way to fond memories. Until tomorrow, rest well!

        • Sheila,, “Crazy-Wild” is a perfect description. All of us need playtime and for dogs (especially those who stay indoors) a bit of rowdy fun is great! Yes, the sadness is gradually losing ground to the smiles, laughter and thankfulness for our time with him. Hope you and your household have a great weekend!

  10. Love your story, Julia.
    I too, owned two dogs, at different times. They both were poster dogs for care-free living. No matter the trial I may be dealing with, being in their presence, would divert my thoughts to a positive higher good.
    When they woke in the morning, if they could, they might say: “Good morning, God!” Rather than my first words of: “Good-God, its morning?”

    • Alan, so true! In almost any frustrating situation, dogs are instant stress-busters. Recently when we were in a traffic slowdown due to an accident somewhere in the highway ahead, Jeff said “Look at that dog” and I saw a big retriever-type dog of some sort hanging out a car window, looking around at everyone and generally appearing curious and game rather than irritated as all the humans were. Presto! I had a smile on my face just watching him. Even if I didn’t want to get another dog as soon as we are able, I would probably do it just for the health benefits!

  11. Rene

    The romp looks like so many I have witnessed in my home, with our Buster. Our previous dog, Booster, was partial to dancing with me whenever there was rock music on. Our Trixie (Buster’s adopted sister) doesn’t romp so much, but she likes to wrestle with my hand occasionally, especially if I’m trying to do yoga (Buster laid down & did the corpse pose with me once).

    • Booster and Buster, that’s so cute! I smiled when you mentioned Buster lying beside you doing yoga. I never told many people because it would sound too hard to believe, but Pasha would always approximate what I did when I was exercising, particularly if I was lying or sitting on the floor. It was downright hilarious at times when I would lie on my back and he would lie on his back. I don’t know if he was consciously imitating me (probably not) but the coincidence was funny. Pasha wasn’t much of a dancer, though. I would like to have seen Booster cutting a rug with you.

  12. This was great! How limber and energetic Pasha was for a senior dog! I can see why he perked you up in the mornings especially. I know you miss him dearly.

    • Hi Kathy, I’m glad you liked it. I had forgotten just how energetic Pasha was even as a senior. I’m glad I managed to film him while he was still scrambling around. The last few months of his life he learned to slow down on the stairs after taking a spill or two. We do miss him, as I know you still miss sweet Molly girl.

  13. Starting the day with happy moments instead of negative thoughts makes a great difference in how u feel at the day’s ending. Thank u for sharing this video and ur positive words.

    • Thank you so much Yvonne, I am so happy you liked it! I appreciate your visits here and your comments cheer me as well.

  14. That was just so much fun, I just knew watching would bring on the tears. I guess it’s a combination of all of Pasha’s happiness, missing our own sweet pal and knowing how hard this day might be for you. What a great video to have and thank you for sharing it Julia. Our pals really teach us how to love each moment and enjoy life don’t they? I wouldn’t trade one single moment to save any tears thought, not a one.

    Walks with a dog are just so much different than a walk alone. Hard to know why, if you’ve never had a dog. Just watching Buddy get so much joy out of trotting along, smelling everything and being with his peeps could make me happy. The pleasure we get from their company just can’t be put in words. Since they can’t talk, they’re really good at showing us how much they love being with us too. I think I’m going to incorporate some Pashaness and Buddiness into my greetings from now on….you’ve been warned, HA! xoKelly

    • I just love watching that video, it’s almost like having him back for a minute and yes, the tears are a small price to pay for the enormous gifts they bring to our lives. When I’m out walking I always stop and visit with the doggies I pass. Tonight I saw the most beautiful rescue dog, her Mom said she was part golden retriever but she was as fluffy as a Persian cat and totally friendly. Dogs are like an instant icebreaker and I’ve gotten to know so many neighbors just because of being out with our dogs regularly. After Pasha died so many people would stop and ask me about him, of course most of them had guessed that he had died since they knew how old he was. But it touched me that even people I didn’t recognized remembered seeing him walking with me every day. Talking about Buddy smelling everything reminded me of the dog expert who said that fire hydrants are the dog’s newspaper. So funny and a perfect way to describe their amazing ability to figure out SO MUCH with their noses.

  15. Siddy watched the video all the way through 🙂 What a great dog Pasha was and how wonderful that you have that video tucked away! I have a heart full of memories of past cats and dogs – they stay such a short time and make such a deep impression.

    I hope the time will come when you feel able to adopt another doggie friend – truly it is worth those first weeks of settling in 🙂 My little fella is such a joy!

    • Pauline, that brought me a big smile to picture adorable little Siddie watching the video. My next thought was to wonder whether Orlando was thinking “Oh, great, what if he picks up those behaviors, we’ll NEVER have any peace around here!” As you say, the time with them passes quickly and even those labor-intensive early days (like having a toddler around) we remember fondly. I will be sure to let you and Siddie (and Orlando) know if we get another doggie. It won’t be for awhile yet but maybe at some point we’ll hear the word “remission” and have some time for a semi-normal life. Til then I am having great fun enjoying everyone else’s furry friends!

  16. Canine companions can be such a blessing.

    • So true, Tony. I think our dogs and cats and other animal friends give us a kind of love and joy that is available nowhere else, and there are times when they truly help us to survive.

  17. Jack

    Think like a dog, I was told: enough food, a warm bed, someone to love and love me and the occasional misadventure should be, is enough. My dog Bo doesn’t seem too concerned after he’s chewed off the end of the nice (but silly and uncomfortable) wing chairs in the living room (why does anybody have a living room???), or eaten 1 lb of butter my son dropped in the garage a few months ago…he just rolls with it. Why can’t I?

    • Oh dear, a pound of butter? I hope Bo is a BIG dog! It’s so funny how quickly they are on something that gets dropped, there is no way to get it back. It was nice to have a kitchen floor that was always crumb-free (though not dog hair free). I just love it how dogs enjoy life. I get the biggest kick out of seeing how much they like to stick their heads out of car windows and feel the breeze.

  18. Bill Allen

    Thank you for posting that. You can’t help but smile seeing that energy level from that little guy. My best to Jeff,

    • Thank you Bill. Until I saw that video recently I had already forgotten what a little dynamo Pasha was, even in old age. I’m glad you enjoyed the video. Dog parents are almost as proud of their canine “children” as they are of their human ones!

  19. Michael

    It seems like Pasha epitomizes the words of I speaker I once heard that he was “going to live till he died.” Or in the words of a previous pastor who said he would,” live his life till the pencil had no lead left -down to a tiny stub. He would keep writing his life.”

    • Yes, those words fit Pasha perfectly. Even in the last hours of his life when his body was too weak to move, that spark stayed in his eyes until he was nearly gone. The night before he died, he sat with Jeff and me on the sofa and his eye contact was 100% there, just as it always had been. The next morning when I saw the the spark had left, I knew he would be leaving too. He died within a few minutes of our getting up, and Jeff said “He waited all night so he could tell us goodbye.” Jeff and I both cried rivers. Matt had already done his crying and simply said, “I will be thinking about you, Buddy” when we let him look at Pasha for the last time.

  20. Michael

    Came across this instructional video- How to speak Southern.

    • Michael, thanks so much for posting this link! It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, and it started me on a Bill Cosby You Tube clip-watching binge! He is so hilarious and never had to resort to being offensive or profane to do it. Anyone who needs a good laugh, enjoy the clip Michael posted! Sheila, you will understand every word this sweet lady says, just as I did!! Y’all have fun with it. 😀 😀 😀

  21. Michael

    I was afraid it might be construed as somewhat disrespectful, but really glad you got a laugh out of it as I did also.

    • Oh, not offensive at all. As they might say in East Tennessee (one of many different variations of southern dialects) “We’uns is PROUD to be southern!” Cosby’s facial expressions are priceless.

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