Our ten year old labrador retriever died last month, her name was Gracie and she was a force in our house. We got her as an 8 week old puppy with very little understanding about the breed, other than knowing they are great with kids and a vision of a big yellow dog lying near the kitchen while I cooked. We welcomed her into a house full of young children and chaos, and she thrived.
It was tough for me to have this large, exuberant, messy body in my house. I am a cat person. Cats need less from people than people need from them. Dogs need as much as you’re willing to give. I struggled because we had three children who, for the most part, listened and obeyed; but this dog…..didn’t.
I won’t bore you with the antics and the list of things she consumed over the years, but she does have quite a reputation. Although she was a source of frustration for me, I will concede that there were several qualities about Gracie that I appreciated and could learn from:
Always be eager to welcome someone into your home.
Choose love over anything else – food, water or even a chew toy.
Forgive quickly when someone yells at you or steps on your foot.
When someone gives you something, don’t turn your nose up to it. Embrace it or eat it with gusto.
Find your place in your family and be known for it, earn your reputation.
This morning I was sweeping crumbs from the kitchen floor, marveling at how much I depended on that dog to clean up after us. I miss her consistency and loyalty to the family. I miss my dog.
Good girl, Gracie.