Happy birthday, Pax!

My dearest Pax is 10 years old! The pups in his litter were born during the late night hours of Oct. 8, 2001, into the early morning hours of Oct. 9. Not sure which day is his official birthday. This picture was taken that very first day. He was the blue collar black boy — I think that’s him on top of the pile.

Here he is on day 3. I find it hard to believe he was ever this tiny.

In the litter, he was the first boy to open his eyes, and he was the most adventurous of the black boys when they were taken out of the whelping room for the first time. Here he is exploring the deck on his first trip outside.

Their whelping room became a playground as they got a little older. I love this picture of him napping under a ramp.

I fell in love with him as soon as he came home. My beloved Great Pyr, Satch, passed away one month after Pax came home. I think he had been waiting for me to have another heart dog, and Pax most definitely was that. He would crawl into my arms to sleep, and it just melted my heart. He bonded to me as closely as I bonded to him. Jay and my friend Debi tried to give me a break one night so I could get some uninterrupted sleep. Pax climbed over a baby gate and lay in my discarded clothes until Jay came up and put him in bed with me. He curled up against my stomach and was instantly asleep.

He has slept at my feet nearly every night since. (Except when we travel. If we stay in a motel with two queen-sized beds in the room, he claims one and sleeps with his head on the pillow and legs stretched out to take up as much room as he can.) In the mornings, he crawls up to the top of the bed and snuggles with me. It’s my favorite time with him.

Pax means “peace,” and he lives up to his name. I call him my Gandhi-dog, but the name isn’t really right. He doesn’t like to fight, but if he’s forced into one, he doesn’t back down. He and Aslan got into two big fights, and both times he kicked Aslan’s butt. (Much to Aslan’s dismay and mortification.) Those are anomalies though. He is a gentle, peaceful, loving soul.

For the longest time, he was ageless. Six, seven, eight… no one could believe his age. So young and energetic, such a delightful personality. But then the years began to show. He has cataracts now, and his hearing isn’t what it used to be. We keep a close eye on his health, and so far, so good, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t worry me. His father lived to be 13, and that suddenly feels so close. I want to freeze time, to keep him here right now, healthy and happy and with me. But I can’t. All I can do is cherish every minute I do have with him.

I love you, my dearest boy. You are the best part part of my heart.

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