As long as I have known our friends Keith and Emily, I’ve known their sweet Golden Retriever Gracie. This is a lovely, heartbreaking tribute to a very good dog.

I’m often frustrated with our dog. Sometimes I feel like I’ve given every last bit of my patience to the two-legged occupants of the house and I can’t handle one more needy creature—especially when she adds to my workload:


Gracie’s story reminds me that our dog won’t always be here, though. As much as she can drive me up a wall, I’m going to miss her when she’s gone. She’s been a good dog. I should be more patient.

God knows she has been.



29 Responses to “Gracie”

  1. Molly on June 18th, 2010 9:37 am

    Wow – I am sitting here with my 12 year old mutt sleeping beside me. He is in congestive heart failure as of the last 48 hours or so and I think I’m going to have to put him down. He also has been a model of patience with my 4 and 2 year old. I can hardly bear it. I bought him on a street corner in the Dominican Republic when I was 23 years old and lonely in a country I’d moved to for a boy who turned out to be the biggest mistake I ever made (but learned from as well).

    I am going to miss him so much – but how do you KNOW it is time? I know in my gut it is – but when I see him try to wag his tail it makes me want to try all the medications they are offering…

  2. Erin on June 18th, 2010 9:40 am

    We lost our dog almost a year ago and I still can’t say that out loud without choking up. I won’t read the story you linked to because I’d probably fall apart. Go hug your dog!

  3. Pete on June 18th, 2010 9:43 am

    Awww, puppy!

  4. Mandy on June 18th, 2010 9:55 am

    Thanks for that link. **sssssnnnniiiiffffffff** Ugh, I dread that day for our sweet dogs, 8 and 9 years old this year.

    On another note, I saw your “daily piffle” about Riley being noise-sensitive and fearful of new things. That is my 5 year old to a ‘T’. We got him some of those noise reduction earmuffs and he was actually able to enjoy a movie at the theater without cringing with his hands over his ears. We also took him to a movie showing sponsored by the Autism Society of America ( It isn’t just for kids with autism but for anyone with sensitivity to noise–they turn down the sound and keep the lights slightly up. I highly recommend it!

  5. Melody on June 18th, 2010 10:04 am

    My almost-17 year old dog died three weeks ago, on May 29. Even though I knew he was old, and I knew his time was coming, it was a shock. An awful, horrible, heartbreaking shock. I got him when I was 10, and he was a best friend and a constant during so many difficult times. What I would give to have one more day with my puppy.

  6. victoria on June 18th, 2010 10:11 am

    Oh, what a good sweet dog! I’m impressed that her owner is focussing on the good times and not the sadness that’s always there at the very end.

  7. Zephyr on June 18th, 2010 10:24 am

    What a sweet pup! Even after all the messes, the doctors bills and the heartaches, they are all still worth it. Kinda like kids, I suppose.

  8. Eric's Mommy on June 18th, 2010 10:53 am

    That was so sweet, made me cry of course.

    We had to put our Neapolitan Mastiff down in Feb. 2009. It was one of the hardest decisions we had ever had to make. He was only 8 (big dogs don’t live very long), he could barely walk. He weighed 194 pounds and we had to rent a moving truck with a lift in order to get him to the vet. We both stayed while he took his last breath and we bawled like babies. I still think that I can hear him barking once in awhile.

    One of our other dogs is going to be 13 this year. He is covered in lumps and warts but is still very active.

    I’m going to go give my dogs some extra hugs and treats now.

  9. Melissa on June 18th, 2010 10:55 am

    A beautiful post about a gorgeous dog. Rest in peace, Gracie.

    Molly, we’re going through that now with our oldest dog – not the congestive heart failure, but the struggle with knowing when. He has a degenerative spinal condition, arthritis & hip dysplasia and life’s getting awfully hard for him.

    Someone told me a few weeks ago that if you’re wondering if it’s the right time, then it IS the right time. It’s such a simple idea, but no one had ever put it that way before.

    Good luck, Molly.

  10. Anonymous on June 18th, 2010 10:56 am

    oh my! Now I’m crying at my desk..that post, about Gracie! how heartbreaking is that?

  11. Ashley, the Accidental Olympian on June 18th, 2010 11:06 am

    I KNEW that link was going to make me cry, and of course it delivered.

    The shot of your dog patiently laying on her back to be a playground for your son melted my heart.

    Thanks for adding to the tearfest this morning!

  12. claire on June 18th, 2010 11:07 am

    Oh man. It’s so horrible to have to think about how long we have left with our dogs. I just know my mutt is going to live to be 20 or so, so i’m not worried about her. But my St. Bernard… Big dogs really don’t live very long and she’s almost 6, probably past middle aged. She’s a giant pain in the ass but I love her so much. *Sniff*

  13. caleal on June 18th, 2010 11:19 am

    Aaaaaaaaand I’m crying at my desk. And all you did was type like two words. Dogs get me every time.

  14. Amy on June 18th, 2010 11:58 am

    Sitting at my desk with tears streaming down my face! Both of our dogs are older. We’ve been through it before but it’s never easy. Our sweet Zoey we found on the freeway and she was such a wreck…but she has been so patient and sweet and devoted. I make sure to give her a few extra minutes of attention every day lately. She seems different at times, almost as if she knows she won’t be here much longer. I will miss her when she’s gone, but our history of rescuing dogs won’t change….there will be others, but Zoey will not be forgotten!

  15. SJ on June 18th, 2010 12:06 pm

    I lost two of my dogs in December of 09, a week apart from each other. While we had been preparing for the one to leave us because he had cancer, we were shocked beyond belief when his brother of 12 years went first. I believe, without a doubt that he knew something was up. The two had never been apart, and by damn if they weren’t still going to be together….he made sure of it.

    My heart breaks over and over again when I see photos, or think about all the times we shared even though it’s been months now. They were my pets, my family and God; I miss them so much. Reading the tribute to Gracie just brought all those emotions to the surface again and here I am, with tears streaming down my face writing this. I know they are still together and that does bring me comfort. They will always be with me, no matter what.

  16. Anais on June 18th, 2010 2:28 pm

    I had to euthanize my beloved cat, Elliott, on Valentine’s Day this year, and it was one of the hardest days of my life. I still choke up when I think of him or speak of him or see photos/videos of him. It feels as if a piece of my heart is gone. Pets truly are the best friends anyone could have.

  17. willikat on June 18th, 2010 3:02 pm

    Dah!!! CRYFEST.

    I ahve an elderly dog and we’ve only had her three years, so I know I won’t get as much time with her as I want. But who does?? She is truly the best friend a person could have and she is also facing degenerative spinal stuff (cockapoos are famous for it) and is going blind and will eventually go into congestive heart failure. But she still loves life: going for car rides, snuggling on the couch, playing with her ball, and begging for people food. If one day I see that she truly no longer gets joy from those things, then I think it will be time. Until then, I hope to give her the best life I can and she can enjoy her senior years, whether or not her health is perfect.

  18. Tricia on June 18th, 2010 4:54 pm
  19. Jennifer on June 18th, 2010 4:58 pm

    OK – I stop in regularily to read about your tribe to see this post and read about gracie – and now I am a sobbing mess… I need a furr ball hug…. Spike? Spike? come here!

  20. Lesley on June 18th, 2010 6:37 pm

    Ah, dogs and garbage are a match made in heaven.

    I’ll never forget coming home to find our family dog chewing a ton of used Kotex napkins ON THE FRONT LAWN, where she’d dragged them from the bathroom.

  21. D on June 18th, 2010 8:15 pm

    Heartbreaking. We had to put down my childhood dog about five years ago, and it was devastating. He was 13, pretty old for a lab, and it was definitely his time, but I still get upset thinking about it. I don’t know what I’m going to do when one of my two current dogs goes – I loved my childhood dog, but I was never RESPONSIBLE for him; we got him when I was 9 and he was always really my dad’s dog. My two dogs now are like my babies; my husband and I provide feed them, walk them, play with them, and we are their “mom and dad.” Losing them is going to be terrible.

    The hardest thing about owning dogs, and I know it will only get worse as they get older, is that unlike children, you know that they will never understand the pain and suffering. They will never understand why you take them to the vet where they get poked and prodded; they never understand why you stick crap in their ears to clean them; they never understand why you need to force medication down their throats because it will eventually make them feel better. And that’s so hard, knowing that they trust you completely but still look at you with that face – “why, mom?” That line in the story about Gracie is what killed me.

  22. H on June 18th, 2010 8:17 pm

    We had to put our 13 year old dog down on April 2nd and the tribute had me sobbing for Gracie, her family and, of course, because of our circumstances. We had to put our first dog down at 13, but she’d had a stroke and it was the obvious and merciful thing to do. Our second one, the one we put down 10 weeks ago, had to be a quality of life decision and the circumstances were much murkier. I know now it was the right thing to do, but it was absolutely horrible to make that decision. We’ve since adopted another dog from the Humane Society and we love him to pieces but he’s not a replacement, he’s simply a new member of our family. Love and cherish Dog. I know you will, as your children apparently do too!

  23. Amber on June 18th, 2010 10:06 pm

    Very sweet.

    I try to have more patience with my cat. Sometimes it’s hard when he’s puking up a hairball on my clean floor.

  24. Donna on June 19th, 2010 5:33 am

    Not going to the link, absolutely can’t take it….not the doggies. Took mine to the lake yesterday where everyone else and their dogs showed up and wanted to let their dogs play with mine. I’ve never had my dogs around any other dogs, they don’t go to the dog park or anything, they play with each other so they don’t need to, and they were perfect, shared toys and everything. I was so proud. So yeah, no, I can’t read about Gracie, it would kill me. But please tell them I am so sorry she’s gone….

  25. Jialin on June 20th, 2010 6:14 am

    From another perspective: I’m a veterinarian and I get emotional every time I put down an animal. It is the kindest thing you can do for your pet and it is one of the hardest but best parts of my job. I prefer house call euthanasias over clinic ones, too. It makes me really sad when people just drop off their animals and choose not to stay, but everyone is different and I don’t judge anyone for that decision. But being able to sit with the owners, talk about their lives with their pets, administer a sedative so there’s no fear or anxiety, then slip in that IV catheter before the final injection… a sad duty but probably one of the most important things that I do. It’s the part of my job that breaks my heart but is strangely good for my soul — providing a truly good death.

  26. Steph on June 23rd, 2010 8:20 am

    I lost my 15 year old dog in a fire a year and a half ago. I am still not over it. I have four dogs and they’re a raging pain in my butt but I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

  27. wordygirl on June 25th, 2010 2:21 pm

    Are those … SHARKS battling on Dog’s belly? Because that is unbelievably cool.

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