A little over 16-years ago we brought Gracie home to share life with us and our two cats Rodney and Bently.
She was such a tiny little girl at first and cute in every way.
Here she is on our front porch taking in a little morning sun.
Gracie loved her toys and would trout around the house with them playing little games she thought were fun.
She played with her buddies, the cats all the time. They acted like she was bugging them, but it was all an act. It was common to see Gracie chase, Rodney, down the hallway into the bedroom, and then a few seconds later they would return with Gracie being chased by Rodney.
Bently was slow to love her, but in later years he would lick her to make sure she was clean.
Everything was something to play with, even a branch that she was trying to walk away with.
A game of hide and seek, with her buddy Rodney.
Aren’t I cute!!
Let’s play ball until I drop. But she never got tired.
Tugg of wars would go on and on, with lots of growling.
Aren’t I ferocious!!
Years went by and then the little grey chin appeared.
She never liked being held because we believe she was afraid of being dropped. But she was sure enjoying this moment with Georgia.
She used to go out on the boat with us all the time. She could jump in and out of the boat with ease, but a few years ago she couldn’t make it back in again.
She was always such a happy girl but began experiencing lots of pain, so the vet prescribed pain killers that she was given three times a day. Georgia prepared them with lots of love and Gracie enjoyed them because even though the liquid smelled awful, it was mixed with turkey lunch meat.
This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago on the same porch she explored some 16-years ago. We were around the corner in the courtyard, but now she just stayed here because it was so hard to get down and back up the steps again.
Gracie left us yesterday afternoon with the assistance of a wonderful vet that came to our home. She laid comfortably in her favorite bed and transitioned so very peacefully. She was clearly ready to go and took a big chunk of our hearts with her. She was a wonderful little girl and loved everybody, especially little kids. It will be hard for us, but at least we have photos like these and lots of wonderful memories.
And your toys are lonesome now.
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in a joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together…
Old Dogs Don’t Die, They Have Merely Run Up Ahead
Old dogs don’t die; they can’t. They have merely run up ahead and are waiting for us just out of eye sight.
Close your eyes late at night and you may smell their musky odor, or perhaps hear a snuffle from the next room. Pay attention and you may feel their nose on your hand or the back of your calf.
When your final day comes, you can go on to meet them as they never really left you nor would they. So when you close your eyes for the last time, you’ll open them again to be met with their bright eyes and wagging tail.
Old dogs don’t die, at least, not those dogs who take the biggest chunks of our hearts with them when they leave us. Those dogs are inextricably part of our souls, and they go with us wherever we are. Though we may not see them, we know they’re there because our heart is still beating. We still breathe, and those of us who have been truly touched by a good dog know our lives started the day we met them.
Magnificent dogs don’t die. They shepherd our dreams and only allow the good ones through the gates of our consciousness. They watch over us much as they did in life, and that moment when we step just barely outside of death or disaster, it’s because they moved our feet or they stopped short in front of us as they did in life.
You see, a good dog is something only given to a few people. They are a gift from the universe and, though they’re with us only a short time, they never really leave us.
They are loyalty and love perfected, and once we are graced with that sort of love we can never lose it. We merely lose sight of it for a time, and that is our fault for how can love like that ever go away? It can’t and it never will. For these brave souls trade their hearts for ours, and they beat together beyond sickness, beyond death.
They are ours, and we are theirs, for every sunrise and every sunset, until the sun blazes its last and we once again join the stars.
By Leigh Curtis, K9 Companion Dog Training, Port Jervis, NY