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