Monday, June 6, 2011

Celebrating Gracie Girl - A Long Adventurous Life


Our hearts are heavy and our eyes are filled with tears and there’s an emptiness that with be with us always.  But, today we want to celebrate Gracie’s long and adventurous life – one that she lived pretty much on her own terms. 
Gracie was the third German Shepherd to join our family back in 1997.  Dad had gotten our brother Jake in 1996 while living in the Southwest and Mom had just gotten our brother Jett in spring 1997 while living in Southeast.  Dad and Jake were visiting Mom and Jett (confused yet?).  They were playing in a park where they met a man with two sable Shepherds, Gracie and her brother Rascal.  The man was going to be spending some time in a place where he couldn’t take the dogs and wanted to know if Dad would be interested in adopting one of them.  Dad had fallen in love with Gracie on sight and agreed to take her.  (Now don’t worry, her brother Rascal found a different home.)
Gracie meets Jake for the first time
(l-r: Gracie, Jake, Rascal)

Gracie assumed the role of matriarch of our family right away and took her duties very seriously – cleaning ears, making sure work came before play (even play was a very serious and competitive endeavor), guarding entrances against intruders, training for Search and Rescue, breaking up behavior she considered too rambunctious.   And she would challenge anyone who tried to usurp her authority – even Mom, sometimes!   She has been known to head butt Mom on occasion when Mom leaned over to pick up something.  BOL  Gracie had a head like a sledgehammer, no kidding! 
Gracie, Jake, Dusty in CA

Gracie was an excellent nurse and was always there to offer licks when needed.  Although she never had biological babies, Gracie was a mom to her core.  She had lots of stuffie babies and loved them very much – sometimes to pieces J  Her favorite stuffie of all time was Barney and she had many Barneys over the years.   (Despite the head butts, Mom always searched out Barneys for Gracie.)  When our brother Jake had gotten sick and couldn’t really get up on his own anymore, Gracie once picked up her Barney and walked purposefully over to the bed where Jake was laying and put her Barney down right next to Jake.   Seriously, we had never seen her do anything like this before.  Mom and Dad cried, it was so sweet.

Gracie and Jake were very close and loved each other right from the start – kind of like a married couple – and always welcomed newcomers to the family.  Our brother Dusty joined Jake and Gracie a year later from a German Shepherd rescue in California.  At the same time, Taz and Kayla joined Mom and Jett.  In 2001, Aspen (the fifth and final Shepherd) joined the family and lived with Mom.  Jake and Gracie acted as everyone’s parents when we all got together (7 dogs, 2 people, in case you lost count) – Gracie, of course, taking the role of disciplinarian while Jake taught everyone how to swim and fetch and generally have a good time. 
Gracie, Dusty, Jake (with stick) swimming in our pond

Gracie was one tough girl and soldiered on no matter what, with help on many occasions from her wonderful vet.  Gracie loved Dr. Ruth so much and was so excited to see her that she would throw herself out of the car as soon as the door was opened without waiting for assistance.  It's been a long time since Gracie could jump, so this was not exactly a good thing.  You would have to know Gracie to fully understand how she could do this so quickly when she often needed help just to stand up.  If she wanted to get somewhere, she could get there fast!  She was a very determined girl.
Jett, Jake, Gracie in California

We sometimes laughed that she was “one of the guys” ‘cause when she was younger and able, she could rival any of the boys in their peeing and marking contests, even lifting her leg sometimes!
Watch out, Bear, you're fair game!

Gracie especially loved the snow!  Probably because she had the thickest coat and undercoat of any dog we’ve seen.  If she couldn’t be in the snow, she would find the shadiest spot and dig a hole until she reached cool dirt and that’s where she would hang out. 
Gracie in Montana

Gracie in Utah with Dusty and Jake

Dusty, Gracie & Jake in UT

Gracie in NJ

She was an excellent and strong swimmer and loved competing in fetching games, in and out of the water, with her siblings.
Gracie, Dusty & Jake (with stick)

Gracie loved a road trip and she certainly had her share of them.  There were many road trips across the country when were a long-distance family – from wherever Dad was living to the East Coast where Mom was living.  Gracie also loved flying.  When she and Dad were training for search and rescue, she made many trips across the country to visit Mom.  The flight attendants loved her and showered her with loads of attention.  Gracie gave up search and rescue training, though, because Jake “washed out” of it and she just didn’t want to do it without him.  But she still had many exciting adventures living and traveling all over the country.  Gracie loved doing most anything – she just wanted to be where the action was.
One of Dad's favorite pics!  He and Gracie flying!

We are especially thankful now that we got to go on our trip Out West last summer and that Gracie got to visit some new places and play in the snow again.
Taos 2010

Montana 2010

Road Trip 2010 with baby

New Mexico 2010 - waiting for bacon

Dad was her favorite person in all the world and loved doing anything with him.   Gracie got to spend the last couple of months having some one-on-one time with Dad at his job which takes him to North Carolina every week.  We think she enjoyed the special attention and having him all to herself.
Gracie in NC

We found this picture just yesterday while looking for pics of Gracie.  It’s a fabulous double rainbow, taken from the backyard where Dad lived in Utah with Gracie, Jake and Dusty and where all of visited as often as we could.  It makes us feel a little better to imagine Gracie hiking the hills and mountains and playing in the streams and rivers beyond this very Rainbow with her brothers Jake, Dusty and Jett,  in a place they all loved so much.

Gracie turned 15 this year and we would like to think she had a most excellent adventure and that she knows how much she is loved.

Always Ready for Adventure!  Let's GO!


houndstooth said...

Gracie truly did lead a life well-lived! I think any dog would have loved to have lived her life with you, and I am certan that she had no regrets. We are still terribly sorry for your loss! It hurts to lose a family member, no matter the circumstances. We are thinking of you all right now and wishing Gracie Godspeed!

Bunny and her mom

Frankie Furter and Ernie said...

Oh my DEAR FURENDS my heart is filled with both PAIN and Happiness. The Pain of losing such an amazing girrrrl and the happiness that she shared with you for so many memory filled years. Gracie must have managed to fill each DAY of those Years with Love and Joy.
I know that you miss her terribly.
I am sure she is greatful fur all the love and tender care that she received from all of you.
Until we meet again, Gracie.

Frankie Furter and Ernie said...

Oh my DEAR FURENDS my heart is filled with both PAIN and Happiness. The Pain of losing such an amazing girrrrl and the happiness that she shared with you for so many memory filled years. Gracie must have managed to fill each DAY of those Years with Love and Joy.
I know that you miss her terribly.
I am sure she is greatful fur all the love and tender care that she received from all of you.
Until we meet again, Gracie.

Backcountry Brodie said...

Furstly, I is so very very sorry that it woz your Gracie's time to go but secondly, wot a bootiful remembrance of her. She had the most eggsiting life with all of you. In memmory of Gracie, I shall continue the tradishun of head bonking my mom coz I do that all the times too!

SissySees said...

Sniff, sniff... But don't worry, I laughed some too while reading! Gracie sounded so much like Sissy! We still call her MamaSis, because she took to mothering baby Gretchen instantly, but I also groan "You're not a boy!" regularly on walks when she marks - and marks and marks - our entire route!!

Gracie, you had a fabulous, long life, and I know you're looking down on your pack, still taking care of them all. Hugs - from the humans - and licks - from the fur-girls - all around.

Sharon said...

What a wonderful (and tearful) tribute to Gracie. She was one of a kind, I can see, and you have a lifetime of great memories with her! So sorry for your loss.


Two French Bulldogs said...

So sorry to hear about beautiful Gracie
Benny & Lily

♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

We are so very sorry to hear about Gracie - she lived a good long life. You have put together a beautiful and loving tribute to your special girl. Soft woos to all of you from us.

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

Anonymous said...

Aww, we are sad that Gracie is no longer physically with you. We did enjoy getting to read all about her wonderful life! She seemed like the life of the party! We know you will miss her dearly, as we all will as well. She was a beautiful girl, inside and out.

We will be thinking about you all!

Elyse and Riley

The Heartbeats said...

FABULOUS tribute and what a life Gracie had! Congrats because you were wise enough to recognize the amazing gifts that Gracie gave you!

Mamma Heartbeat

Oskar said...

What a beautiful, loving tribute to your girl. Our hearts are heavy with your loss & we will keep you in our prayers.

Pam & Oskar

kmp said...

what a wonderful tribute to gracie. hoping you find peace in this time of great sorrow...

Pippen said...

What a fantastic life Gracie had! She was so lucky to have found such an awesome pack!

We are sending out thought and prayers to you all.

Sam and Pippen

Anonymous said...

We are so very sorry for your loss. But it sounds like Gracie had a truely loved life!

We know that she is playing and running without out pain now over the Rainbow Bridge!


Scooter said...

Hey Road Dogs.
Wow, I am so sorry about your loss. Sweet Gracie was obviously very, very special. I am sending some extra warm thoughts to your whole pack while you grieve. Love that rainbow pix. Thanks for sharing so much about her. Take care of each other.
Grr and Mournful Howls,
Sarge, COP

Ms. ~K said...

My heart aches for you during this difficult time! They never last long enough!
RIP Gracie Girl....

The Daily Pip said...

Thanks for sharing Gracie with us. She certainly lived a full and exciting life - I am so glad she was able to take one last trip with you last summer. I know she is happily roaming through the snow and fields,jumping and running. Run free, Gracie

Your pal, Pip

P.S.: We fell in love with her sweet face the first time we saw her, too.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful life she had! Beautiful tribute you wrote for her. Hugs to your family.

Run free Gracie!

The Roo Family

What Remains Now said...

It is evident in your beautiful tribute how much you loved Gracie and how much Gracie loved you. My deepest sympathy on the loss of this special girl.

Unknown said...

I am so sorry to hear of Gracie's passing. I loved reading about her adventurous life though. What an amazing companion!
Cairn cuddles, Oz

Pup Fan said...

Sending big hugs your way. What a lovely tribute to your beloved Gracie.

NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! said...

A tribute to a furry pawesome furever furiend!

Thanks fur sharing her with us -

And remember what we paw

Not furever...just...fur now -


Ruby and Penny said...

We are sorry for your loss. Gracie, run with the wind.
Love Ruby & Penny

3 doxies said...

Oh dears, I am heartbroken to read Gracie has gone to da bridge. I knows ya'll is hurting and I am so terribly sorry.
What an amazing life Gracie had and what a wonderful girl her was. I am so amazed at all da things her did, her personality!

Ya'll is in my thoughts and prayers during dis time and I send ya'll my bestest healing vibes.

What beautiful memories ya'll haves of Gracie!


Anonymous said...

Oh, Road Dogs...I am so very sorry to hear about your dear Gracie. But thank you so much for telling us all about her and what a Most Wonderful life she got to live. She was awfully lucky and I know your whole family feels awfully lucky to have shared your lives with her. If it makes you feel even a little bit better, I bet my Grampa J was there to meet her at the Bridge and will take good care of her until you all see her again.

Thinking of all of you and sending my most healing brindle licks and cuddles. (And mom sends you hugs!)

Gentle wiggles & wags,

Daisy Dog said...

Gracie had a wonderful long life! I am sure your hearts are filled with sadness, let the memories help you. We will light a candle for Gracie as she journeys to the rainbow bridge.

Kristine said...

I am so sorry to hear about the loss of dear, sweet, special Gracie. It sounds like she lived a very long and very joyful life. Lived every single day to the fullest.

Thank you for sharing her story and memories with us. She will be remembered now by more than she could ever know.

How Sam Sees It said...

We are so sorry to hear about Gracie. Sending you hugs and love.


Amber-Mae said...

I am so sorry for you loss. Gracie sure was an amazing German Shepherd. She lived a great long life with you & her pack. RIP Gracie. You will always be remembered.

Unknown said...

Godspeed sweet Gracie. We will see you again at the Bridge.
Your post was a wonderful remembrance of her life .

Hugs, MinnaK and pack

A MilShelb Mom said...

We are so sorry for your loss... but we also know that you gained so much by having Gracie in your lives! What a true joy! You are in our thoughts.
~Milly, Shelby, and pawrents

To Dog With Love said...

Gracie did indeed have a most excellent adventure....what a beautiful tribute; love the rainbow shot. So sorry for your loss.
Diane and Cosmo

animal lover, quilt lover said...

I am so glad you are celebrating Gracie's life. That is what I am going to do for Bambi too. I will do it one post at a time, a little each post for as long as it take me to love another dog. I can't just go out and get another one right away.
Gracie had a wonderful life and so did Bambi.
I will love her forever as I do all the dogs that have been in my life.
Thank-you so much for your visit to my blog and your kind words.
Do come back, Fern

Lola and also Franklin, too said...

We are so sorry. We're just finding this out now. That is a beautiful post and a lovely tribute to a doggy who really LIVED. Plus she had a nice long life, too. I know you miss her, though and I hope everyone is healing well from the osss.

Mack said...

What a beautiful tribute for such a beautiful girl.
We are so sorry to hear about your loss. We are sending many hugs and prayers to your sweet family.

Mack & Mom

Alasandra, The Cats and Dogs said...

We are so sorry we didn't have the chance to know Gracie. She sounds wonderful and we can tell that she is loved very much. Our deepest sympathy on your loss of such a wonderful girl. We are looking forward to getting to know the rest of The Road Dogs.

Elaine Pritchard said...

RIP Gracie

Love from Winnie and all her family

Amy said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Gracie's passing. She lived a long and happy life, and I hope that the wonderful memories you have of her bring you some peace. My thoughts are with you.