Pace was a dear companion, friend, and joy in my life. His name is
Italian for “peace” and that is what he gave to me when he was near.
Pace was special in so many ways. As a companion he traveled
from the Pacific to the Atlantic and back. He loved road trips. And
though we humans visited these places for our own reasons, Pace
found joy in the ground squirrels, prairie dogs, and wild burros he
encountered. Pace once fearlessly (and foolishly) barked at a bison
that turned to reply in his own manner as we hurriedly left.
A road trip could be just a quick errand. Lowe’s Hardware was
a favorite destination for Pace. He would walk in, give one quick
bark to announce himself, and walk down the main aisle like he was
on a mission. He would stop just long enough to get a treat from the
crew. They all knew his name and he reacted with such pride.
Pace was a marvel.
How did he understand so many words?
His toys all had names and when asked to “get” a particular one, he
How did he understand the differences between “up”, “out”, “back”,
How did he understand the difference between when I was wearing
clothes he could sidle up against and when he could not?
How did he learn so much in his nine short years?
were his stuffed animals. He would bring one in the car when we went
out. He carried them into my parents’ home and into the local
veterinary clinic. He would take one to the front yard, standing at
the property line to show off his prize to the dog across the
street. He’d leave one sitting on the front windowsill to show
everyone. These were his cherished possessions.
Every night, before he settled for the evening, he would initiate
“Hide-and-Seek”. He hid behind a closet door as I called his name.
I’d peek through the crack and see him sitting perfectly still or
taking the edge of a hanging robe into his mouth and gently wrapping
it around himself? How did he know to do this?
Pace also knew his boundaries. As neighbors watched in amazement,
Pace chased cats, squirrels, robins, and bunnies, stopping just at
the property line. These startled critters would look back in
disbelief that the pursuit had so suddenly ended. Yet, though Pace
was not allowed upstairs in my parents’ home, he left a subtle
message of his territorial rights a few weeks before his death. For
in the first room, at the top of the stairs, where my dad spends his
days painting, Pace left a prized toy, a gift, where it would
immediately be noticed. My father left it there to see if Pace would
reclaim it. That toy remains there, where it was left, as a silent
reminder of this wonderful creature.
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