Gracie, my baby Chihuahua, is pictured here wearing her costume for the Fall Festival at church. She is going as a taco. Isn’t she the cutest? Gracie is basically my second “all my own” dog. We have had dogs since 1999, and I loved them, but they were really for my children who are grown now.
I knew they taught responsibility, caring, and gave great joy. I knew children that had pets matured more quickly, were more responsible as a whole, and seemed more secure so I knew getting them a pet was a good idea.
When my kids became adults and moved out, we kept my daughter’s Pomeranian. The reason we did was because in her dorm she could not have pets. There was no choice but to leave Prissy with us.
I loved Prissy and formed a very strong bond with her when the kids left home. I didn’t empty nest well and she was now my “baby”. I led a very busy life at that time. I was on the “Library Board” and volunteered many hours at my local library, and with a “Crime Victims Assistance” program in our county. I did volunteering for a local hospital, as well. I was active in my church (the one we attended at the time) so Prissy was left alone quite a bit.
I began to think about this. Prissy was used to gleeful and boisterous play when Kate came home and hubby and I didn’t “play” the way she did. I began to sense there was a loneliness in Prissy and I began to cut back on being gone so much. Still there were days that pulled me away, even when I didn’t want to be. I determined, at that point, I was going to say no a bit more forcefully to some things and give Prissy the attention she deserved.
As this new-found freedom to be home began to dawn on Prissy, she bonded all the more with me. She followed my every step and would put her nose under my door in the mornings, she was so anxious to be with me. Hubby had a rule back then of no dogs in the bed. That rule has since been changed.
Prissy died suddenly and without warning and I was devastated. Gone was my baby with her sweet ways, her adoring, unconditional love, and the fact she was no longer my inseparable buddy was almost more than I could bear. I cried and grieved! It was as if I could not shake it. I felt so much guilt that I had spent too much time away from her in the beginning of my empty nest transitioning, that I had not fought harder to secure a place in my bed so I could be with her that much more. I felt guilt over things I had no control over. I knew God had given Prissy to us and now my gift was gone forever!
I looked for other puppies, hoping another would help fill the void, but none bonded with me or me to them as Prissy had. Actually, none bonded to me period! I thought this was so strange because I had so much love to give. I began to wonder if this was my punishment for not appreciating Prissy as I should have. A friend told me Prissy was one of a kind and I would never find another like her. I began to believe that myself and it deepened my grief beyond words.
I watched as other dog owners would pick a puppy and the bond was totally natural. What was wrong with me?? That question went through my mind over and over. Finally, one day I began to pray about this. I told God Prissy was a dog, not a human and although she was irreplaceable, He could make another one for me with everything I needed, which was loving and companionable!
It was funny, because it takes me days to name a puppy, but as I prayed that prayer the name “Gracie” came to me. God let me know another puppy that loved me unconditionally was coming and to name her Gracie because that is what she would be…my saving grace from oppressive grief.
One day I took one more look at the classifieds online (I was not familiar with rescues at that time). I saw her and called immediately. The lady wanted to know how I got her number because it takes 24 hours for an ad to post and she had only posted ten minutes before the phone call. I knew God was up to something!
We met in a Wal-Mart parking lot the next day. At first I had misgivings about her. She seemed nervous, uncomfortable, and overly shy. Again, a rejection I thought. My friend told me to watch her as she held her. Every time I would say something, she would turn her head as far as it could go to look at me. There was another puppy that didn’t do that. It had bonded with the breeder. My friend looked at me and said, “This is the one, I can tell it. She wants you!”
Gracie had on a bulky sweater and I stripped it off. She relaxed in my arms. I handed the lady the money for her and gave my keys to my friend. I wanted to hold her all the way home. I stopped off at my husband’s office and he thought she was beautiful!! He isn’t a dog person like we are…or I should say WASN’T….he loves her, now.
Gracie and I went shopping with Kate for Gracie’s Fall Festival costume yesterday. Gracie is two years old now, so her costume from last year doesn’t fit. I drove and Kate held Gracie. She shook and trembled and panted the whole way there. The poor baby thought she was going to the vet! We got to the shop and Kate said Gracie was making her hot. Kate had been fishing and she was still pretty layered up, ready for a blizzard in south Texas…she is my Aggie!
When I took Gracie, immediately the shaking, trembling, panting stopped. I felt her little body totally relax. I don’t need signs anymore to know Gracie and I have bonded, but when I get them they warm my heart and bring me such joy!
I will always miss Prissy. She was one of the best dogs we ever had! But, Gracie is, too. She fills my heart with so much love! The old rule of no dogs in the bed is long gone. She snuggles right next to me at night and greets me with loving wet kisses in the mornings. She lets me dress her, put rhinestone collars on her, and baby her to my heart’s content. Her attitude seems to say, “Whatever makes Momma happy, makes me happy and that is what it is all about!” If you are a dog owner, you will know as crazy as this may sound, it is very normal and true!
The lady in the pet store said to me yesterday, “Ah, a rescue dog….one you rescued and one that rescued you!” I think that describes Gracie and me perfectly!
If you are thinking of a dog, precious reader, please, adopt and don’t hesitate! You won’t regret it!! They are great for your health physically and emotionally and you are great for theirs, too! Check your shelters and organizations such as ”Dogs Bound For the Pound”. They will be loyal and loving companions for life and for the fact you saved them from the unthinkable! Somehow, they know you literally saved their lives!
Please, let me hear your story of you and your precious pet! I know it is a beautiful one!! I will see you soon!
Today, I had lunch with my beautiful daughter! We will call her Doctor Sunshine, because that is what she is going to be and what she is to me! Here is a picture of her and my son we will call “the Rev.”….
As we ordered, we ordered something off the menu. Our waiter didn’t know what we were talking about so he handed us over to his manager, who I see is the manager because she seems to be able to manage any challenge that comes to her! Here is her picture with the great plate of food she made for us herself!
You can just and tell she is a sweetheart!
Nachos! Nummy! And, no I didn’t eat them all by myself…Dr. Sunshine helped!
I love a good restaurant where it is about the customer and making them happy! Thanks to Sara for a wonderful dining experience! We will be back! )
Oh, and Patty, who is also known as http://thoughtsfromanamericanwoman.wordpress.com/ I felt so much better after you gave me that beautiful word, I got up, put on my make-up, went to lunch with my daughter and laughed and laughed at all she had to tell me! I feel HEALED, WHOLE, AND MY BODY IS FUNCTIONING TO PERFECTION! Amazing what a word from the Lord will do for you!!! Love you, sweet sister!!! This one is dedicated to you, my precious friend!!