Monday, June 10, 2013

Gracie 1999-2013

                                               Gracie

     My earliest memories in the family mostly include dogs in the mix, all loved and most treated as pert near equals in the household. We heard about Stormy the spaniel, then Fritz the doberman and we knew Pretzel, the first dachsund leading to Hansel and Gretel who stayed on into the 1960’s when the reign of poodles began. This love of dogs never wavered over five, then six decades with the branches of the family tree emulating Mom and Dad. Pets always brought joy and love to every child, grandchild and even great-grandchild in the family.  Every celebration in our extended tribe has almost always included a beloved pet and in particular a dog that played a major role in the fun. There were Dachsunds, Poodles, a Beagle, Airedales, Cocker Spaniels, Shih-Tzus, a Golden Retriever and the mutts named Freddie and Tickets who made us laugh and caused us to cry when their time came to leave. Other families followed suit: there was Maniac, Daisy, Missy, Scruffy, Tuffy, Buck, Bandit, Mae, Napoleon, Zeka, Dodger, Slippers,  Macy, Fido, Rocky, Bella, Peewee, Jadie, and many more that were loved and loved us back. Some of us turned down a shady street and took up with cats but the devotion was similar, just more one-sided.

      Yet, no animal touched the entire family like Gracie (sometimes pronounced Gwacie), the once full-figured dachshund who sat by my Mom’s side dutifully through her worst times and then moved on to Colorado for a wonderful retirement where she was showered with love by a family who was steeped in dog adoration. Gracie had a face you could hardly say no to and in her Long Beach life she rarely heard the word. She was fed treats for her one simple trick, the balancing of her large wiener dog frame upright to beg with bent paws until  liv-a-snaps were produced and shoveled into her sweet mouth. Gracie was gentle, loyal and sweet; the best characteristics you could ask for in a dog. What made her so extra-special in light of her place among a hundred other dogs was that she carried my Mom’s kindness and love forward after she had left us behind. The old “kids” could hardly look upon Gracie without tearing up since she represented so thoroughly our Mom and such was the case for the grandkids and great-grandkids. Gracie had her life extended by loving care and despite illness and eventual blindness she had a great life, one that was given bonus time by the addition of Bella to her last days. It might have been slightly embarrassing that when I visited those loved ones in Colorado it was Gracie I longed to meet again right along with my blood kin. She will always be remembered as shining a light where one had gone out and will be loved in a special way by our entire family. If old Gracie is to journey on to Rainbow Bridge I have a pretty good idea who is waiting for her, treats in hand.

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