Letting Gracie go...

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Letting Gracie go...

...after a terrible decline due to, what else?... cancer, in this instance of the mast cell variety.

Her story over her ±14 years is an interest­ing one, for we found her in Spring 2003, courtesy of a tip from friend Cathy Loviglio, at the Brookhaven Town Shelter shortly after the loss of my sweet little Rotty pup Jessie.

Jeanne had stopped in to scope her out on the way up to Smithhaven Mall, and deemed her promising enough to take me back there several hours later.

She was sulky and curled up in her pen, with nipples the length of pencil erasers... she'd just whelped a litter of 13 which had been torn untimely from her breasts and des­troyed because, well, that's what they do at that shelter.

But when Jeanne got down on the floor of the "interview area" with her, she quickly determined that there was an ineluctable positivity to her, pronouncing:

"The girl's got dance!"

Two days later Gracie was formally adopted and became a member of our household.

What we didn't know was that, aside from "dance," she also had "jump," easily surmounting the 6½-foot kennel with a single bounce followed by a prodigious leap.

This came in handy during the seven or so years Gracie and I set about to reduce the squirrel population that had nefarious designs on our attic... Gracie also had an amaz­ing climbing ability if there was any sort of incline to the tree.

Puppy Boy Rosco

The most remarkable part of Gracie's story came to light while adopting Rosco, the puppy Jeanne never had as a little girl, from the Riverhead Town Shelter in early 2008.

When Gracie and I went over to socialize with the new puppy the day prior to Rosco being released from quarantine, the gal at the shelter immediately greeted her by name.

I was flabbergasted!

"How do you know Gracie?"

"Well, if it wasn't from here," she said, "it has to be from Kent, the other place I work."

I explained that we'd redeemed Gracie from Brookhaven Shelter, where they'd averred that they'd taken her off the streets of Medford, very pregnant and living on what she could forage.

The woman asserted she knew nothing about that, but it was indisputable that she knew Gracie from somewhere.

I pondered this matter for several years until I shared it with a local doggie do-gooder I'd known for decades... and she was confident that she knew what had occurred.

"Kent doesn't like to keep animals they feel are unlike­ly to be adopted, and they swap with shelters to get more desirable dogs."

Since that revelation, I've felt a little sick everytime I've thought about how close our precious Gracie came to the exhaust pipe death chamber on Horseblock Road, and Kent has been atop my list of places to abjure at every opportunity.

Bad signs...

Late last year, what we initially thought was a bug bite of some sort, when it declined to heal, the vet ordered tests and the pathology report came back "dirty." We agreed to a surgical excising of the tumor which Gracie survived.


Most know some version of the "Three Biggest Lies," chest­nuts like...

  1. I gave at the office.
  2. The check is in the mail.
  3. I'll still respect you in the morning.

My dear wife enlightened me on the post-operative surgeon's platitude:

"I think we got it all...."

We don't hold it against the vet... it's just one of those quasi-sincere things one says when the one is trying to stave off a creditor, get laid or offer hope in a health crisis.

While she healed, she had several good months with us, and when they began to not be so good, Jeanne started giving her some prednisone in little balls of liverwurst, and she was a happy girl once again.

Gracie's final resting place...

She let us know it was her time Friday... her body had erupted in the nasty little tumors, and she was hurting.

Gracie's final resting place; flowers by Mary Hoch

In the company of Spunky (1951-1957), Dashiell (1972-1977), Breed (1989-1996), Charles (1986-1999), TeeJaye (1991-2002) and Jessie (1996-2003).


1. Barbara Ramsay said...

Sunday morning tears for Gracie and the entire Speir family......

You have to know that you and Otto crossed my mind several times over the past three days.

2. Jackie Bennett said...

We are so sad for all of you. Gracie was a great gal and you gave her a happy home. She had a good life as did all the dogs who luckily became part of your family.

Thank you, dear lady... the same may be said of those whose four legs find their way to your home o'er there on the crick.

3. JD said...

So sorry for Gracie and for you two....

Thank, Jimmy... isn't it time for ice cream in the Hamptoms?

4. Hampton West said...

So sorry, Dean and Jeanne. I had a cat my boys selected at Bid-a-wee on Old Country Road; the cat quickly became my cat which had an uncanny sense of knowing when you were sick or upset she would cuddle and purr and was a great help to my wife Sheila while she battled cancer. Oxie the cat lived 20+ years and it was a sad day when I had to put her down. Oh our pets....

Indeed! Thanks for the thought, HW.

5. David Powell said...

My Condolences, Dean. God Bless.

Thanks, David... always good to hear from you.

6. Lorelei said...

So sorry for your loss. You, Jeanne and Gracie were lucky to have found each other.

We were, at that, and we commented about that to one another regularly over our dozen years together.

She was an inveterate "dumpster diver," and a regular skidaddler if we weren't alert... both "hangovers" from her early months "on the streets" somewhere in Brookhaven Town, but she was a lovely gal and missed greatly.

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