Owning Pink's Pink Posse


By Saralee Perel

This month I began writing one column after another, but
nothing clicked. I finally realized my mind's been on a
subject that I've been postponing putting into words. But now it is time.

My dog, Gracie, is coming to the end of her life. If only
she had lived the life she deserved.
>She was a year old when she was found abandoned on the
> streets of Fall River. When my husband, Bob, and I brought
> her home, she was terrified of us.

One day she was next to me while I was making soup. As I
> often do when I cook, I was singing. When I belted out
> "Oklahoma," I raised my large spoon toward the ceiling for
> emphasis. She hit the ground on all fours and, petrified,
> scooted away as if I was going to hit her with the spoon.
> Clearly she had been abused. She wouldn't even let us hug
> her.

> Finally one glorious day, Gracie made a decision. While
> cooking spaghetti, I told Bob, "Pasta is done when you
> fling a piece to the ceiling and it sticks." I balanced a
> gigantic clump of spaghetti on a huge spoon. "Dare me?"

> "No!"

> I whipped the spaghetti straight up.

> We watched the glob of pasta dangle from the ceiling
> before it plopped to the floor in one big heap. Bob said,
> "I guess it's not done."
> Had I seen Gracie watching us, I'd never have swung the
> spoon. But there she stood, smiling, as dog lovers can
> attest dogs actually do. Then she planted happy sloppy
> kisses all over my face.

> "Oh Gracie." For the first time, she let me hug her.
> "Welcome to your home, my golden dog."

> Though it may seem silly, lately I've been singing my own
> version of "Amazing Grace" to her.

> Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound That saved and
> strengthened me. You once were lost, but now you're found

> Instead of spending her middle years doing fun dog stuff,
> all she wanted to do was protect me. After my spinal cord
> surgery, I could barely walk.

> She always worried about me. I scrunched her cheeks, "No
> more worrying. I want you to play, have fun. Be a dog!"
> But year after year, she would not leave my side, even for
> her breakfast or dinner. She was my keeper. Instead of
> playing in our fenced-in backyard, she'd sit outside the
> glass slider, looking in and watching me.

> I told Bob how sad this made me.

> "Gracie has never been happier, Saralee."

> "But she's always on full alert. She never has fun."

> "This is her purpose. She was born for this. She is a
> lifeguard in every sense. The fact that she is YOUR
> lifeguard is the biggest gift you could give her. She is
> honored. She is noble. And she is happiest when she is
> serving her higher purpose."

> It is because of Gracie that I re-learned to walk, though
> I was scared. But with her assistance, I did it.

> 'Twas Grace that taught my heart no fear, And Grace all
> fear relieved. How precious was that Grace was here The
> hour I first believed.

> Gracie, on my left, wore a harness. I had the grip of the
> leather as well as her strong body next to me for balance.
> With no training, Gracie knew to take one step, then
> waited while I took one step. After we repeated this
> process 4 more times, I shouted, "HALLELUJAH!" Gracie gave
> me a billion kisses while we hugged.

> Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already
> come; 'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far And Grace
> will lead me home.

> Those glory years sped by all too soon. Now, nearly 15 years old, she is feeble and in rapid decline. Though her eyes are cloudy, she sees shapes and knows which shape is> me. Though she's stiff and aches, she always walks by my
> side. Though she can no longer hear, she feels the
> vibrations of me getting out of bed, and slowly pulls her
> body up from her heated dog bed to resume sentry duty.

> Sometimes I wonder if she is hanging on because she
> believes I can't make it without her.

> Last week, out of my love for my beautiful dog, I told her
> something very hard to say. I believe she heard me.
> "Gracie, my golden dog." I glided my fingers through her
> fur. "I could never have walked without your help. But I
> can walk by myself now." I kissed her forehead. "You will
> forever be my hero and my lifeguard."

> I whispered through tears, "No matter how far I will walk,
> you will always be on my left. No matter how long I live,
> I will always see you, looking carefully in front of my
> path, making sure I am safe." And then, it was painfully
> hard to say, "If you're too tired, you can let go now, and
> rest in peace my golden dog. Oh, my Gracie." I lay next to
> her with my head on her shoulders. "Thank you."

> When her flesh and heart shall fail, And mortal life shall
> cease. I shall possess, within my veil Her loyal and
> eternal peace.

> ------------
> Award-winning columnist/novelist, Saralee Perel, welcomes
> e-mails at sperel@saraleeperel.com or
via her website:
> www.saraleeperel.com. She also welcomes friends on
> Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SaraleePerel

> Copyright 2010 Saralee Perel. Permission is granted to
> send this to others, with attribution, but not for
> commercial purposes.

> today'sTHOUGHT

> Love is lovely when it's easy, but much truer when it's
> hard.

Had to post this. Though my Gracie was a CockerSpaniel, this summed her up beautifully! It's been 1 year, 7 months & 18 days since she died, & after reading this & bawling an ocean of tears, I realize I still miss her, I will never forget her & she was my first "Golden Dog".
I love you Gracie! Thank you for everything!

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Comment by SG Michelle Medina on August 19, 2010 at 4:31am
I was glad to.
I actually wrote Sara Lee Perl & thanked her for her column. I think it's just one more step to making Gracie's death a bit more bearable. As I noted, it's been over a year, but some days it doesn't feel like it. She, in her infinite wisdom though, sent along another CockerSpaniel Sadie, who is so much like me it's frightening. I think Gracie new she'd carried me as far as she could, then sent Sadie to continue helping me.
Sadie is afraid of people, noises, objects. She was rescued from a puppy mill & not everyone would have taken her in. I did & I new I was right. Watching her blossom has been a wonderful learning experience for me. I to was afraid of people, of being alone, but also of being close. *I'm blind & have a Tessier Cleft which has left my face quite scarred*. So I believe Gracie sent Sadie to encourage me to start reaching out. Our lives are entwined now, & if I don't reach out, Sadie won't either. Her life gets better as mine gets better & vice versa. So for that I owe Gracie permanently.
Comment by Patty ABR on August 18, 2010 at 8:39pm
Thanks for sharing. I have a Springer Spaniel, Dot. She narrowly escaped death 2 years ago had surgery to remove part of her jaw where the tumor was. I feel your tears : (

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