In Memoriam of Our Furry Friend

Our dog PyperA few days ago we were devastated by the sudden loss of our pet dog, Pyper. These past few days after her passing were emotionally draining and left us weary. She was a year old when she joined our family and was with us for six years. There was an instant connection between us, and being my husband’s first dog, they had an even more special connection. We learned over the years that there was not a door or a fence that could stop her – in her time she chewed through a bathroom and garage door and was an escape artist when it came to kennels. Besides being a Houdini, she loved running and lounging under a shady tree. Water was her nemesis – she even found going to the bathroom out in the rain irksome.

Nana dog

When D was born, Pyper immediately took to being his Nana. She watched over him and was a giant, four-legged friend to him. When D learned to roll, he would roll straight to her so that he could be next to her. When he learned to walk, he wanted to be the one to hold her leash while out on walks. He loved to give her hugs and exclaimed “Pupper” whenever he saw her.

Nana dogWalking

It still feels unreal that Pyper is actually gone. There is a hole in our family that she once filled. Her death was very sudden, unexpected, and tragic. Sifting through the emotional upheaval of her passing has been challenging. Yesterday I turned to writing to process my emotions. A poem began to take form and a wave of peace washed over me after it was done. The wounds are still fresh and raw, but I feel comforted by the fact that her spirit is free to roam. She is with us in memory and in love.

Me and my dog

I’d like to share the poem here. Perhaps others who are dealing with the loss of a beloved pet can find some solace within the words.

Our Furry Friend

You no longer walk among the living,
But, my furry friend, this is not goodbye.
You run free anywhere and everywhere;
Fences nor doors are standing in your way.

Your wagging tail is the breeze in the leaves,
Your nose is the drops of rain on our cheeks,
Your eyes are the soulful knots on the trees,
And your fur is the grass beneath our feet.

Your bark is the rolling sound of thunder,
Your footprints are the stars across the sky,
Your smile is the radiant crescent moon,
And your embrace is the sun’s golden rays.

So you see, my friend, this is not goodbye.
You have become one with the Universe;
Free from the constraints of the living world.
You are always around and within us,
And will forever be our furry friend.


Blueberry Picking

D and I started a class last week that goes once a week on an outdoor excursion to explore and learn about nature. This week we went to a blueberry farm to do some blueberry picking. I somehow have never been blueberry picking before, so I was excited to share this new experience with D.

Blueberry Farm

The farm was open only to our class, so we were able to freely roam without worrying about bothering anyone. We investigated a marsh for cattails, caught a grasshopper, played on a hill of dirt, and, of course, picked (and ate) blueberries. While D was preoccupied eating blueberries straight from the bushes, I took my time admiring the details while collecting blueberries.

My first thought was about how much blueberries resemble little plump flowers. I suppose this makes sense knowing that they start out as flower buds. There were insects out blueberry picking as well. I found a yellow jacket snacking on some blueberries and later found a yellow ladybug doing the same. Some of the bushes had bindweed growing on them, and I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful weeds can be. Their flowers looked like white megaphones trumpeting about the brilliance of nature.

Yellow jacket blueberriesBindweed

D joined back up with me eventually in time to catch sight of a hawk circling low over head. We then made another discovery together – part of a jawbone from some animal! It was just laying in the dirt at the base of a blueberry bush. The teacher suspects that it belonged to a deer. D was quite pleased with the discovery.


Blueberry picking was a fun experience. It’s always nice to visit a local farm and to appreciate the care and love that has gone into tending the crops. However, the best part of today was being D’s explorer sidekick. I always notice more about my surroundings when I try to see through his eyes.

Connecting With Nature

I have always felt a connection with nature. When I was child I spent my days outside – climbing trees, peeling the paper off of the paper birch trees, splashing in the creek that runs through the backyard. Living on a wetland there was never a shortage of creature sightings – blue herons, beavers, muskrats, ducks. My parents still reside in the same house that I grew up in, and it is a joy to watch my own son experience these marvels for himself. He has a natural love for nature and is in his element when he is within it. There’s always something to climb, jump off of, and explore. His sense of adventure knows no bounds.

Boy and his dog in nature

Recently I began to feel a little disconnected. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until one day it came to me – I had lost that deep connection to nature that I once had. I knew this had to be remedied. I began a little ritual where I spend just 10-15 minutes out on the back porch first thing in the morning to meditate. I repeat this again mid-day or in the evening. We are lucky to have some beautiful vine maples, evergreens, and a pine tree right outside our back porch. Just watching as the sun slowly washes over their branches while it rises is nothing short of spiritual, and watching the sparrows flit about from branch to branch and listening to them talk is entrancing.

Today D and I walked through my parents’ property, which we have done many times before. But this time I slowed down and took the time to explore like D does. I noticed things that I wouldn’t have normally noticed – a tree resembling the shape of an elephant, small pears growing on an old tree, and the tiny clusters of pine cones from the red alder trees.

PearElephant tree

I even reconnected with my favorite tree from my childhood – a giant black cottonwood tree. This tree stands like a powerful guardian keeping watch over the land. I remember lying in the grass watching the leaves dance and shimmer like silver dollars. Even today this tree fills me with a feeling of awe. I felt compelled to wrap my arms around its trunk and literally give it a hug.

Black Cottonwood

Now that I feel like I have mended my relationship with nature, I want more than ever to help her in any way that I can. I’m on the lookout for volunteer opportunities and have pledged to be (even more) mindful about the choices I make that impact the Earth. By nurturing the planet we in turn are nurturing ourselves.

Tree hugger