I don't write about her often but today she deserves a shout out. You see, Gracie is our silly little black and white K9 companion. We reference her with several other names, too. Such as: The Princess; Goat Dog; The Vacuum; Aggravating Mutt and believe me, she has earned each of these monikers.
Some days she looks up at us with genuine distain if we dare to suggest she should move from her place on the couch. She has been seen eating some truly disgusting things and we can always count on her to glean any food the grands may drop under our table. She chooses the most inopportune times to not come back to me after going outdoors; sometimes making me late for the office.
Gracie is not a large dog but she is almost 13 years old. So being 91 in doggie years, I guess she has earned the right to be a bit stubborn, rather grouchy and most definitely set in her ways. Today, however, I have only good to tell of the four-legged, fur baby entrusted to us.
What a comfort this little companion provides. She often helps me feel I'm not alone. Even though we both work for the church, Frank is away from home more than I with additional meetings and such. But I never have to feel alone because Gracie is here to study me with her coal black eyes and smile at me with her crooked under bite. (Oh yes, we also call her the Elvis Dog for that reason.)
She's smart as a whip.
- She knows that my tennis shoes going on after dinner mean a walk is imminent. She starts running back and forth from the door to the couch.
- She knows our suitcases mean we're going away for awhile. So she sits with her head on her paws looking up at us like we're traitors.
- She knows that when the grandchildren come her safest refuge is our bedroom so she runs to that door and paws to be let in.
- She knows that if she comes back in promptly when I'm leaving, she'll earn a treat. (This she trained ME to do.)
I've spent the past two days trying to get over a terrible something that knocked me flat on my back. Part of our family was diagnosed with strep and with school starting back there were already several runny noses. Sleep had been evading me for over a week so I was a prime candidate for whatever this was.
Unfortunately, this is absolutely the worst time I could be sick. Meagan is due to go into labor at any moment. (In fact, she and Nathan spent 5 hours in triage Tuesday night. Frank had to go stay with the babies because Noni was fevered.) John was out with strep. Joy has gone back to school and needed help. We have 5 grands in school this year. (Noah came home from his first full day of kindergarten reporting all that had happened. Then he paused and said, "Mommy it's just so loooong!" And promptly burst into tears. Poor boy! Only 12 more years, Noah.)
All this happening around me and I'm no help whatsoever. Yesterday, for me, was literally spent moving from the bed to the couch to the recliner and back to the bed. I usually hate NyQuil but I've chugged it down as though it were the nectar of the gods. I knew it would help me sleep deeply and that's what I needed most.
Today, I seem to be improving but I'm well aware I must get fully recovered and back on my feet asap. So, I stayed home from the office one more day to keep resting and to avoid spreading whatever germs are germinating in my nasal system. (Frank has carried around the Lysol can every minute he's home.)
When I woke this morning, Gracie was there right on my side of the bed. I had slept well past her normal time for going out but she had waited patiently. Frank had long been awake and could have let her out but she was waiting for me. She never whined or barked for me to get up; never even pawed at my covers. She just waited.
Both days I've been aware that she moves from spot to spot with me. If I'm lying on the couch, she's lying under the coffee table near my head. If I'm in the recliner, she jumps up beside me. If I get up to go to the bathroom, she's immediately alert and watching. Even now as I'm writing in the dining room, she's sprawled out on the rug beside me.
Gracie has been with us a long time and I know that she won't outlive me. Someday, I'll have to bid farewell to this faithful companion. But for today, I'll scratch her ears the way she likes and give her an extra treat for no particular reason at all. Hopefully, she'll feel as loved as she makes me feel. I'll finish with the "prayer" we've all seen from time to time. . .
"Lord, please make me the person my dog things I am!"