We have always been a two-dog family. It was difficult enough losing one dog to cancer at only 8 years old, but then to lose our other dog less than four months later was nearly unbearable. That's why it's taken me a little longer to write about Gracie. The grieving process was rougher and took longer because she was my first dog as an adult. I'll never forget when we got her, in a room full of puppies, Gracie ran to me and wouldn't stop licking my face! I would always tell people, I didn't chose her - she chose me!
It didn't take long for Gracie to fit right into our blended family when Glenn and I married in 2005. Gracie took to Zelda (Glenn's Airedale) as Sara took toColin and Tyler (Glenn's sons).
Unfortunately, we lost Zelda to cancer just a few short years later. Gracie was lost. It broke my heart, seeing her stand by the car, waiting for her buddy to jump out. We had to get another dog. One month later, we welcomed Ella, our second Whippet.
She gave Gracie a run for her money, not doubt! Gracie eventually gave in to the power struggle, but the two became fast and furious friends, never wanting to be separated.
Gracie was an incredibly smart and loving dog, but she also had her unique traits. This dog was the definition of anxiety! We couldn't crate train her. Every car ride was filled with panting and drooling, and don't even get me started on thunderstorms - yes we tried the ThunderShirt, no it didn't work.
Gracie was definitely my dog, and very tolerant of being in the spotlight. She and Ella accompanied me to many Anti-Cruelty Society Bark In The Park fundraisers. She was a Bears fan when we hoped they'd win and a Cubs fan when they finally did!
Gracie loved spending time at our place in Wisconsin (once she got past that long car ride up there) to ride with me in the peddle boat or sunbathe on the deck. The heat was never too much for her.
In her younger days she chased (and caught) squirrels and chipmunks. She co-starred in a dog show pilot that never aired and was front and center in a fundraiser photo shoot that did make it to print.
In her later years she was by my side, providing comfort as only a canine companion can.
By Gracie's 13th birthday an ongoing heart condition was being kept under control with medication. I started to prepare myself for the inevitable. Instead, I was dealt the unimaginable when my younger dog, Ella, was diagnosed with and soon after passed away from cancer. We were lucky enough to bring three-year old Sassi into our home as a companion for Gracie in her final months.
As Gracie's condition worsened I had to make to the call. I couldn't believe I was doing this again, so soon. Saying goodbye was more painful than I could have ever imagined.
My heart was heavy, but Sassi was there to heal it heal. We immediately started the search for a new puppy to fill the void.
Enter Lola! We flew to North Carolina to get this four-month Whippet pup, then drove back home to Chicago in one weekend.
As the puppy training and canine bonding process begins again, we have taken on our roles as Fur-Parents with renewed vigor and the same unconditional love our fur babies give to us. I wouldn't have it any other way.