Gracie

Meet Gracie.

We met Gracie 12 years ago quite by accident. She was living with a farmer who decided he didn't like her anymore, so he decided to shoot her. Something about her chasing cattle or something like that. If you knew Gracie like I know Gracie, you'd know that couldn't possibly be true. She was scared of her own shadow! Anyway, our youngest son thought that was absolutely horrible, so he brought her to our house so we could find her another home, since we already had 2 dogs living here at the time. The picture above? It was Gracie eating in our kitchen about 4 years ago. She never left. Not because we couldn't find a home for her, but because we turned down offers when people asked for her.

A rescue dog. Saved by grace. That's how she got her name. It wasn't that she was graceful (look how she's sitting!). But her life story is one of grace, and every time we said her name, we were reminded of the fact that she was rescued, saved, chosen, loved.

Gracie was the only female dog in a household of male dogs. There have been 5 male dogs that have been here at one time or the other ... and all of them acknowledged that Gracie was queen. She wasn't the loudest. She wasn't the strongest. She wasn't the fastest. But she was queen.

When Gracie first got to our home, she was about 2. She had been an outdoor dog, but took to living
in a nice, warm house immediately. She loved her doggy bed and blanket. She loved having her back scratched. She loved tiny dog biscuits and would do a little happy dance to get one. She loved rawhide bones and would remind us every night that it was time for her snack. She loved being with her people. She loved Pommer, our little Pug/Pomeranian puppy and she'd constantly clean his ears and eyes and groom him. She loved laying beside me -- and I can still can see her incredibly long eyelashes as she's laying on me, looking up at me. She loved barking at all of the male dogs, trying to get them to behave. She loved to be brushed. Well, that might be a stretch. I think it was more the attention that she loved than the brushing, but at least she'd put up with it.

Gracie hadn't been treated too well by the farmer where she had lived before. Loud noises and sudden moves scared her. One time, Wes crossed his leg and she flinched, like she thought he was going to kick her. People would come over to visit, and she'd hide, scared of anyone she didn't know. After 12 years of grandkids, Gracie would still hide under a chair when they'd come over, although they would patiently coax her out with a dog biscuit. Taking her to the vet or groomer would cause her to shake and she'd go in to a near panic.

Over the years, she relaxed a little bit, but never did she feel totally safe with people that weren't hers. And we were fine with that, because she had us so she was okay.

Gracie was my sweet girl puppy. Gracie Gray. Gracie Lou. Whatever she was called, she followed me from room to room. When I took a shower, she'd sleep outside the shower door until I emerged. When I cooked dinner, she laid behind a chair at the table. When I cleaned, she'd follow me and find a place to lay down in each room. When I'd have my devotions in the morning, she'd lay by my desk.

Yesterday, we were told by our vet that Gracie was dying. She had a large mass in her stomach, had lots incredible amounts of weight, was vomiting blood, and was so weak she couldn't move. We knew the best thing to do was to put her out of her misery and stop the suffering. As she was laying on the table at the vet's, she just stared at my face. Those big, brown eyes ringed with the long lashes never lost eye contact with me. No, she couldn't move. But, I was still her person ... and she was letting me know.

Our house has been lonely without her here. Her doggy bed and blanket in the living room look out of place. Her bowl has been strangely empty. When I would let Wylie in from the back yard, there was no Gracie excitedly dancing around, begging for a small dog treat. When I stepped out of the shower, I didn't have to watch to make sure she wasn't there.

And it has hurt.

Today, I was having my devotions -- no Gracie, just God and me. And I read a verse that jumped out at me: "When you were few in number and of little account..." from 1 Chronicles 16. My mind went to sweet Gracie. To the farmer, she was of little account, unimportant, rejected, abandoned. She meant nothing to him, but that didn't mean she was a nothing. That was a place where I could identify with Gracie because I had gone through the same thing -- of little account to some, but of precious value to Someone else. Both Gracie and I have gone through dark days of feeling alone and rejected.

But, we both were saved by grace. Gracie was rescued because someone saw her worth. Someone looked beyond to the precious little dog that she truly was. And me? I too was saved by grace. I too was loved, chosen, accepted and deemed of worth. Both of us were saved, received, and abundantly loved.

I'm going to miss my Gracie. She displayed some of God's characteristics -- loyalty, faithfulness, patience, grace. I can't help but think that she's running around the throne of heaven, following Jesus, sitting near Him just to be in His presence, hoping for a back scratch every now and then. She just likes to be with her people, and won't be any trouble. She's been a beautiful story of grace and mercy and reminds me that I'm just like her -- rescued and loved.

Gracie will always be a reminder to me of God and His grace to me. How grateful I am to have been her person.

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