Stinkers go to heaven.

by the Carpenter

photo of Gracie meeting one of the bird's the Carpenter rescued out of our wood burning stove one day.

photo of Gracie meeting one of the bird's the Carpenter rescued out of our wood burning stove one day.

[the Carpenter wasn't sure this post was worth putting on our construction blog because it's about our dog... again. But she was worth (to us) two posts...  So here you go.. plus the Carpenter wrote a post!]  

Not sure why I am writing this……. maybe some closure, maybe still some grief, maybe just to remember.

If you follow this blog, five weeks ago you know we lost our dog, Gracie. The Artist wrote about her back on March 21, (post title.. Our Sweet Snack Manager) only a week after Gracie died. I don’t know how she was able to do that so soon, other then a lot of you had seen Gracie on our website and in this blog for some time, and I know she felt it was important to at least let people know. Gracie was our good-will ambassador. A lot of you had a chance to meet her. I have thought over the years that I should have always brought her to my homeowner meetings and that could have sealed many deals before they began!

It has taken me much longer then the Artist to be able to talk about it here. I know some won't care and just move on from reading this. That’s fine. This is for those of you who know what it is like to have lived with a pet and lost that pet, and also for those who have known the Artist and I and know what our pets have meant to us over the years.

Some have said that Gracie was our child. No, she was not our child. She was our dog. We loved that dog deeply, but she was not our child. I can only assume that because we don’t have children, it’s easy to put that description on us that our dog was our child.

The closest I have to kids are my nieces and nephews. I have 10 by blood, and 2 by marriage, but all 12 have a place in my life that would not be the same without them. I do wish the 2 out east were closer in distance, but they are still special to my heart.

Knowing how I grieved for Gracie, I can’t imagine what it would be like grieving for one of my "squirrely girls" or "monkey boys"….can't even go there. The one thing that makes the grief somewhat different is I know if my “kids” were Christ followers, I would see them again. My pets, well I don’t think anything is said in the Bible about dogs going to Heaven, but I make myself feel better by believing they do. It makes their loss somewhat bearable to go through.

Back to the topic of Gracie. She was a little stinker. From the time she rode home laying on the passenger side floor of our explorer between my feet, till that last breath she took as she gave me one last doggie kiss, she was able to put a smile on my face. She was a dog that was always a happy dog. Stubborn at times, very independent, but happy. Never a growl, never a lip quiver, but always there to shower you with big wet sloppy kisses. We have a friend who happens to be bald that would let Gracie lick and lick and lick that bald head. I never knew who liked it more, the friend or the dog!

Gracie was a true Labrador through and through, well almost. Yes she had a great nose. She would dive into our marsh, get on a scent trail usually to come up empty but the nose was to the ground until she flushed something, found a deer bed or even the deer, or we just tired out.

She was friendly with everyone. We always said if she got loose and someone picked her up, she would have acted like they were her best friend.

And yes, she could eat. It has been said often if you let a lab alone with a bag of dog food, they would eat till they died. I think Gracie would have been one of those Labs if given the chance. Good thing her food was in a closet. However one weekend while dog sitting, the dog we were taking care of (Libby, you know who you are) somehow figured out where the food was and was trying to get the lid off the bin. Gracie was right there watching and learning. Good thing I stopped it before we had two Labs in Purina coma.

Yes, like I said, a Lab to the core…..except for one thing. Gracie was a Lab who wouldn’t swim! Oh, she wanted to especially when she saw her cousin Labs having a great time in the water. She would walk out in the lake chest deep, whine and bark and fidget, but just wouldn’t swim. Once in awhile she would get up the nerve and leap straight up as if trying to walk on the top of the water, belly flop in and swim awkwardly a few feet and then turn around, and get back to land. It was the craziest thing.

Gracie would turn heads. She was a real icebreaker. We would walk her in our downtown quite often, the Artist much more then me. On many occasions we would be invited into businesses, bars, outdoor patios, everyone wanted to see her. I think it was her bright white coat. I wanted to think the ladies were paying attention to me, but no, everyone wanted to see Gracie, not me.  ;)

When she was very young, I would take her to work. In one neighborhood, the neighbor kids would take care of her for hours. Many times I would go check on her and find her all curled up in one of the kids laps sound asleep after a rollicking good time of play. I know they missed her after that project was done. About three years ago I saw one of those little girls, much more grown up and with a big smile on her face she asked about Gracie. Haley said it was a fun summer knowing Gracie was going to be in the neighborhood and she could doggie sit.

Well time goes so fast. The puppy stage grows up and the real bonding starts. In some respect she became my identity. She truly did put a smile on my face each morning and each evening when I came home from work. It is something people can't give this side of Heaven. It is something only a pet can give, true non-judgemental, unconditional affection.

I miss Gracie a lot. A tear can still come at any time for any reason or for no reason at all. It just happens. There will never be another Gracie, But……

There will be another Lab. She won't be Gracie, She won't be Abby or Tasha, our other dogs from our past, but she will be special in her own way.

Yes I am happy to say that hopefully in September sometime, we will have another little white stinker in our lives. We are on a waiting list with a breeder that will be giving us good news soon.

Thanks for letting me share.

The Snack Manager position is filled!