Success Story "Gracie"
a perfect story for the holidays to remind us of the little things that make life special for our furry family members.
thanks to russell for sharing the story of a little senior lady named Gracie:
this is gracie’s story. the story of a most ordinary dog living an extraordinary life. the story of despair and fear turned to joy – and a little less fear. and this story has the ending that every dog’s tale should have… a happy one.
today, gracie is my dog. her life is extraordinary. she gives love and gets love – and in case i’ve forgotten, she reminds me that nothing else matters. she writes blogs for other old dogs, she poses for pictures and shares her deep thoughts online. with her compassion and experience, she helps our Muttville foster dogs adjust to their new lives and prepare for forever homes. she enjoys daily adventures with senior small club – sniffing more than walking, but this is how old dogs get their exercise!
on the weekends she joins us for long hikes along the beach, riding on my back in a backpack, watching the scenery, and eventually being lulled to sleep by the rhythm of my footsteps. and when she is with me she feels safe.
being loved by gracie changed my life. i didn’t expect it. i thought she would be like most of the dogs we foster at small club – in need of a little extra care before being ready for a forever home. emotionally, physically, spiritually neglected, these dogs open up and slowly transform into beings who can trust and love again. then they meet the right person, get adopted and live happily ever after. gracie progressed slowly. after 3 weeks she chose to come out of her crate. after 3 months she decided it was safe to hang out on the couch. patiently we gave her space to grow; tenaciously we posted pictures, blogs and videos of this secretly hilarious girl. despite our efforts – and the popularity of her videos – no adoption applications arrived with gracie’s name on them. ever. not one.
we began to call her “one of a million,” because she appeared to be the most ordinary muttville dog: an overlooked 10-12 year old mutt, brown, with a cherry eye and no teeth. this is usually no obstacle to finding a perfect home, since each of these truly unique dogs is meant to go on to enrich the life of a lucky person. turns out that for gracie, i was that person.
over time, gracie learned to connect with me while struggling to feel comfortable around any other humans, even ones she saw every day. she let me carry her, she let me take her to cautious canine class, and she learned that she could kind of trust me. for many dogs, trusting their foster is just a step on the way to trusting people in general. and we had foster dogs in the past who had lived with us for more than 6 months before the right person came along. so i was reluctant to adopt gracie… i already had a dog who needs a lot of time. and if i kept gracie, i might be giving up a spot in our home reserved for the next homeless dog in need. it was the words of muttville executive director sherri franklin that changed my mind. after inquiring about the other foster dogs,“how’s lady? and prince william?” she smiled, laughed and asked, “…and how’s gracie?” i gave her the usual update: “a little bit better.” she looked me straight in the eyes and said, “russell, why don’t you just give her what she wants?”i thought about it: gracie doesn’t ask for much… all she wants is to rest on her corner of the couch, eat as often as possible, and look forward to me coming through the door at the end of the day. she wants to stay where she feels safe, and she wants to be with me.
so gracie will spend her golden years here. every day she forgets a little more of her past, replacing her sad memories with dreams and deep thoughts created while snoozing the day away in a warm bed. she needed someone to love, but had never had the chance. almost 2 years ago she was delivered from some hellish backyard in bakersfield – now she loves not just 1 person but 2 people, 2 dogs, and all our foster dogs. she wouldn’t admit it, but she needed someone to love her. someone like me, who will challenge her but never ask her to be anything other than who she is… my touchstone, my philosopher, my laughter, my ordinary old dog.
If you adopted a Muttville dog, we would love to feature you in an upcoming ‘Success Story’. Please contact email@example.com with the Subject line ‘Success Story’
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