It was an ordinary Saturday morning when I opened my newspaper to see an article with cute animals dressed up in Christmas costumes. My eyes scanned the page and instantly locked on a little white dog with a lopsided santa hat they called Gracie.
Every year the Lost Dogs Home has a “12 Strays of Christmas” campaign when they advertise 12 stray pets in the newspaper to try and find them homes by Christmas.
Although I had occasionally considered that I might like to have a doggy companion I had no real intention of getting one and I wouldn’t even describe myself as a true dog lover. But something made me sit up and pay attention to this picture of Gracie.
Thoughts of ‘should I or shouldn’t I?’ raced around in my head. Do I want her? Will I get her? What if I can’t manage her? What if she bites me? What if she yaps and yaps? What if she wees on the floor?
My hubby said ‘we don’t want a dog because it will restrict our lifestyle’. My daughter said ‘yes, yes, yes’. I said ‘I think I want give this dog a home’.
My excitement was building and I couldn’t get that cute picture out of my head. I wanted Gracie.
What if someone else wants her and gets her first? What if I see her and change my mind?
I anxiously dialled the phone number at the shelter over and over again until I finally got through to ask how I could adopt Gracie. I could hear pandemonium in the background with eager people who had already arrived at the animal shelter to meet the strays.
My heart sank thinking that I had missed out but I was the first to ask about Gracie and so had first option to adopt her. The lady told me to come and meet Gracie by 10.30am and if I warmed to her and she warmed to me then it would be a perfect match and I could taker her home with me.
Now what? Panic. I don’t have anything for a dog. I need a bed, a bowl and lots of other stuff. Oh well I’ll worry about that later.
When I arrived at the shelter I could hear what sounded like hundreds of dogs barking and howling and there were hoards of people everywhere. It was hot, noisy and confusing. Clutching my newspaper article I saw lots of other people with the same thing in their hand. I heard little children shouting, “I want Gracie”.
With my heart pounding I made my way to the counter and told them I was here to see Gracie. A kind young woman took me through the maze of dog cages. I peered in to each cage and saw lots of huge dogs anxiously pacing around in their small area. I saw what I thought was an empty cage but then a little white animal got off the giant bed to come over to see who I was. It was Gracie.
I tentatively held out my hand through the bars of the cage and Gracie put her warm nose on it and breathed in my scent. She looked directly at me and pleaded with me through her expressive eyes to rescue her. It was as if she summed me up in a few seconds and said to herself “yes I’ll go with her”.
The lady suggested that Gracie and I get to know each other on the grassed area. When we got out there it was chaotic with lots of loud and excited dogs and people. Gracie started to bark and jump up and run around me in circles and I didn’t know what to do.
My heart sank. After all the excitement and build up of coming to see Gracie I started to hesitate about whether I was doing the right thing. I doubted that I had the skills to manage and look after her. I waited there for quite some time trying to decide what to do.
I kept looking at Gracie’s face and somehow she convinced me that it would be okay and something in my heart urged me to adopt her. I have never once regretted that decision.
It is a now a year since I adopted Gracie from the Lost Dog’s Home. This little dog has changed my life in so many happy ways.
Gracie Dee quickly settled comfortably in to our home. She didn’t appear to fret for her previous owner but I often wonder who her owner was and the type of home she came from. That type of stuff intrigues me.
As a stray dog she didn’t have any identity so couldn’t be reunited with her owner. The Lost Dogs Home desexed her, gave her a new name, estimated her age and put her up for adoption. Basically her life history was erased. How sad.
Gracie brings joy and love to so many people. Her sweet loving nature brings out the best in everybody and she helps people overcome difficult times in their lives. When I had two operations she sensed I was unwell and loyally laid by my side while I recovered.
When I go out she faithfully waits until I return and then excitedly barks telling me she is so happy that I came back. Now I realise that this is what she was doing on the first day that I first met her.
My heart melts when I cuddle her and watch her sleeping and also when her tiny face peers through the glass door to look for me.
I have never before felt so much love for a dog. The love and loyalty she gives me makes me feel fulfilled and special. She is the light of my life and I can’t imagine my life without her in it.
My Gracie Dee is one in a million. She is my Christmas miracle.