Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Goodbye Sweet Friend!

Maurine's Gracie May 1996-2009

It was a sunny day, some 13 years ago. . as J and I were driving back from Birmingham, we talked and chatted about all the fun plans in our near future. I had just graduated from college that day. . was engaged to be married in a few months. . had just purchased our first home. . .was starting a new teaching job in a mere 3 months. . and . . we were on our way to purchase my graduation gift. . . a new puppy.

I remember vividly going to the breeders home to get our new dog. The dog that J had selected was cute, but one special dog stuck out immediately. She immediately came up to me and grazed my leg, and I knew it, "no, I told J, this is the one. She is precious." I held her in my lap all the way home, a new life, a new baby, a new one to love . . together. We name her Gracie. Puppies are hard, they chew everything, bite at you, but they are also precious, and she was ours, together.

Fast forward, I became pregnant with S, our first. Gracie laid on my lap every evening, we bonded. . she felt it with me, literally. Gracie had a phenomenon that is called a faux pregnancy or a parallel pregnancy. She literally started lactating and thought, she was having babies too. Precious. Our vet was amazed and said it was one of the first cases he had ever seen. Tender, sweet Gracie.

Fast forward, we moved to our current home, and life could not have been better for a sweet English Springer Spaniel. She had it made out in the country, deer to chase, stray cats to bark at, and a home to defend. And boy did she defend it. She barked at the sight of any newcomer, and once she knew you, she didn't. She was a true friend. She was also a friend to many of the children that have lived here. They have all had their turns bathing her, walking her, trimming her long hair, giving her treats to get her out of the house, and loving her.

Fast forward, last year, J took her for a check-up and just knew the Vet would give him the worst news. . however, she had a clean bill of health, she was just old. Over the past year, every time we left to go on a trip, J always told her bye, Just in case it would be the last. However, she has held on. She was always there for us, always happy, ready to greet us, and she never ever minded if we told her to move it, or get out of the way. Bless her heart, she could hardly see and was definitely deaf.

This evening, I looked out the front door and noticed she was laying still, shaking, and barely breathing. I knew something was wrong, she was covered in flies. I immediately called J and told him what was happening, this was it. I knew it. After a quick call to the same vet, the inevitable news had come. It was time. J rushed home, and in the mean time, she had wandered off near our road. We believe she was leaving to die. The kids wooed her back and she wearily fell down into our dog crate. By the time J got here, she couldn't even get up. The happy dog, that always, always, greeted us, could not move. He lifted her into the back of the truck, I rubbed her head goodbye, and headed back inside the front door only to see tender eyes (a lot of them) looking at me, crying their hearts out because their dog was never coming back. She was so sick and smelled so bad, I wouldn't let them go out to say goodbye. I didn't want the kids to remember her like that.

We immediately plopped down in front of the photo albums to find pictures of her to cherish. The first picture I found was of J holding her as a teeny, tiny puppy in our teeny, tiny new house. . can't get it to scan. But I remember it like it was yesterday. She represents for me, the beginning, the beginning of my life as a real adult, and she was one I took care of. The kids enjoyed making a new album with all the pictures we could find of her. They sobbed and sobbed. Little J would run back to his room with a picture of her and cry on his bed, "she's never coming back, forever." Little T sobbed, "when I first came here, I was so happy, I never had a dog before. And, I would pet her every morning before school." How to console broken hearts that so long for a sweet friend that is forever gone? When inside, I feel the same way. I wanted to take that picture of her as a puppy, run and jump on my bed and cry my eyes out. . so. . they're in bed, and now I can cry, and remember all those happy days with a sweet dog on my lap.

Goodbye girl, we love you!
The W Family


Donna said...

Well, shoot,...you've got me crying before I go to work...so sorry to hear about your wonderful companion. I know how that feels. Hugs.

georgiamom said...

Okay, today I will pay more attention to my sweet Sammy!

Mom of Eleven said...

So sorry to make you sad, our sweet Gracie at least deserved a moving tribute!

Yes, love on that dog, and hug her tight. I know, I know God has a special purpose for His animals. . . he did save them in the ark!

Fran said...

Our oldest dog is 7 and I truly just dread that day. I'm so sorry Wendy. Our dogs are also our babies.

It was so good to see you this past weekend. You are always one of those that I wish I had more time with. You heart is just beautiful and I know I'd love you to pieces IRL if we had more time.

I do love you and am honored to have bits and pieces with you.


Gretchen said...

What a precious tribute Wendy. I'll miss Gracie walking oh so slowly up to me every time I drive up in the drive way. I remember thinking the last time I saw her that her days were numbered. She was a sweet dog! I'm thinking of you and your kids as they grieve her being gone. ;( amazing how much our dogs touch our lives!

Emmy said...

Oh Wendy! I am so sorry! : (

I am glad I got to meet her briefly the other day! Wish I had hugged her!

What a sweet post!

sy said...

Sorry for your loss. I loved talking to her if I ever stopped by. We know our days are numbered w Sweet Jake.

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

I went through this last year and literally thought I would die... Our 17 year old Annah took every step I took...and some days I still hurt so bad...Hope you will stop by my Christmas blog and leave your favorite Christmas song...and enter a great giveaway. Also, a birthday letter to my daughter on my main blog...http://teresa-grammygirlfriend.blogspot.com/

elizabeth said...

Oh, Wendy. This makes me so sad and hits very close to home. Thinking about all of you.


Fiffer said...

Beautiful tribute to a sweet girl...so sorry for your loss. Pets truly become a member of the family and I'll pray that God brings a new Gracie into your lives soon. Made me really cry!

deann said...

So sorry Wendy. Sam and Ellie were worried about ME when they found out what happened. Harder on you having to see your children heartbroken. D

Donna @ WayMoreHomemade said...

Wendy - I am so sorry. We were there just last May with our sweet Daisy-dog. It's so hard. My kids still talk about her and think of her fondly. My daughter asked for and keeps a picture of her in her room. It's so hard to see them go when they become such a part of the family. Thinking of you this week.


Sweeney Medical Fund said...

What a beautiful tribute. I am so sorry for your loss!

Shelly said...

Oh it makes my heart heavy :(
And yet I am so glad you wrote this all down.

I am so sorry :(

Anonymous said...

I will never forget you calling me to tell me J bought you a dog for graduation. I thought, "wow, I guess we are adults now." Sweet Gracie. She will be missed.


whatever said...

I am so sorry! I remember when Gracie jumped all over me when she was a puppy. It is so hard to say goodbye to a good friend who has been there with you for so long. Having lost my 19-year-old cat last year, I know how sad it is! Take care,

connorcolesmom said...

That is a precious tribute to a devoted and loyal friend!
I know she will be missed
Much love

Virginia said...

This is my first visit to your blog, but I had to comment. I am sobbing because my family had to put our 14 year old English Springer Spaniel, Hershey, to sleep in August. Just last night I was putting ornament with pictures of her over the years on our Christmas Tree. We got her for Christmas the first year we lived in the house we are still in and we have mixed feelings about getting another dog this Christmas.

My heart and prayers are with your family. Springers are such wonderful dogs!