Gracie and I had a sometimes difficult relationship. I took it personally when she peed on my pillow not long after we got her (she was house trained, so she was indeed sending me a message). I didn't like the way she growled at me every time I tried to get back into bed after using the bathroom at night. I threw away a lot of socks after she chewed the dirty bottoms out of them (yuck!). I got mad when she gnawed through one of our seat belts and madder when she chewed through another. And her piercing bark nearly drove me insane.
But she was our dog, and I loved her despite all that. Sometimes we would go for long, brisk walks. Not often enough, and of course now I regret that. She was just reaching her prime, only 4.5 years old. We thought we'd have so much more time, so many more walks together. She had calmed down from her cheeky puppy years (we got her at 11 months), and I was looking forward to her mellowing further into a lady. She's the prettiest dog we've ever had, with soft, silky fur. I'll miss her youthful exuberance. She was literally bright-eyed and bushy-tailed all the time. We had to install a barrier inside our car to keep her from jumping up front. I'll miss the way she would jump off the bed and fly ten feet across the room (sometimes over Rosco), the way she would leap in the air with excitement at feeding time, the way she paced back and forth on the front window ledge, the way she excitedly pounded the window with her front paws when she saw something outside. She always stayed close to us -- even when she pushed open the backyard gate, she would merely run around to the front porch and wait for us to figure out where she went.
We lost Ginger only a month ago -- she hasn't even scrolled off the front page of this blog yet -- and now we had to say goodbye to Gracie. We treasured the past few days when we got to spoil her at home. She even discovered two new favorite foods: freeze-dried lamb patties and ice cream (the latter being the only way to get her to swallow pills). My wife always teased that I didn't like Gracie, but I really did love her, and this is hitting me hard. She'll always be our little girl.