Lessons From My Dog Gracie
Lessons From My Dog Gracie
Strange…the timing of things.
Yesterday I was pumped up. Ready to run headlong into resurrecting my blog. So much to celebrate! My novel—release date set for this fall. Edits nearly complete. Marketing plans being realized. Yes! These are the milestones I’ve been waiting for to justify wanting others to engage with me, care about, and join me on my writing journey. Let’s admit it, our time is so precious. Once again, I learned that from my dog.
I am convinced she waited for me to return home. Gracie—my, oh so, beyond wonderful companion for over eleven years, met me at the door. The tough news had come three weeks ago that our Golden Retriever had a tumor on her liver, most likely cancerous. No surgery, just vitamin supplements, a free ticket for “people” food, and lots of extra belly rubs and kisses. I suppose each of us had been preparing for what would happen—none of us thought it would be so soon.
The day before, in her usual fashion, she followed me everywhere in the house. But, she stayed particularly close, sprawled directly behind my chair the entire time I finished the edits—a process I committed myself to finishing by day’s end and spent from morning’s coffee to celebrating with a glass of wine on the back porch as the sun set. She and I shared that moment. She was beautiful, I even snapped a quick photo of her next to me with her head propped on the arm of my chair. I didn’t know it would be the last time I captured her through my lens.
Yesterday, all five of us huddled with her in the last minutes. Having come from three different directions, our family rushed to the veterinarian’s to be part of the passing. And as her heart stopped, a tremendous piece of each of our lives, past and present, was sealed—secured with the unconditional love Gracie gave each moment of her life.
Today, I am heartbroken. Her sound, her smell, her image, follow me through the house. Too many times I’ve tricked myself into seeing her run across the yard and hearing her pad into my studio and look out the screen door to watch for bunnies and neighborhood dogs passing by.
Her timing, or perhaps God’s, was intentional—I finished the edits that took so much focus and energy. I am home from teaching for the summer and had not left for an upcoming trip out of the country. And she waited for me to return from lunch with a friend so I could lay on the floor with her—love her unconditionally.
Life is hard. Loss is painful. Time is precious. Today, my writing buddy—one of the best companions in my lifetime—is gone. From her, I learned that laying in the cool grass and finding the perfect sunspot is important, licking faces is a good thing, and getting excited about visitors at the door, going on walks, and scratches behind the ears is essential. Thank you for reminding me of the necessity to slow down, love openly, and live abundantly.
I love and miss you deeply, dear Gracie.