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Life with Gracie

Pictures from Gracie’s first weeks with us.  She was so cute!  When I see how large she is now, it’s hard to reconcile these images of this little puppy with her.

“Please rub my belly!”

Can’t you just smell the puppy breath?

“I have him right where I want him–under my paws!”

“Such a nice pillow!”


A few stolen moments

Image I had an early doctor’s appointment, and I went over to Venice Beach for a little while after I left the doctor’s office.  I rolled the windows down on the car as I approached the beach, and just enjoyed the smell of the salt water.  It’s such an unusual smell, but I really enjoy it. There’s a tanginess to the ocean smell that is quite intriguing to me. I’m not sure why I like the smell of the ocean so much.  I didn’t grow up around the ocean, so there are no memories that I know of associated with the smell.

It was so nice when I got to the beach.  There were not many people out, and I was able to enjoy a few minutes with nature.  It was one of those rare, magical moments when I felt one with nature.

Watching all the different types of water birds soar and wheel around in the air was good for my spirits.  Seeing them so free somehow freed me of some of the stress of life.

I stopped for a few moments, and just watched the sunlight play off the water.  For just a few moments, it was as if the ocean was full of diamonds that were twinkling in a vast show of beauty.

I took a few moments to just enjoy the beauty of nature.  I even slowed down enough to really look closely at some things:

The beautiful iridescence of a broken sea shell,

The tracks the birds left in the sand,

The strange patterns the barnacles and lichen make on the rocks,

The cuteness of the little crabs as they crawled around on the rocks,

The patterns that the seaweed had made in the sand,

The amazing variety of colors in a handful of sand…

I stood at the edge of the water, closed my eyes, and just enjoyed the beautiful music of nature.  The cry of the birds, the soft rhythm of the waves gently coming ashore and the slap of the waves against a big pile of rocks made a beautiful symphony.

That sound of the waves hitting the shore is almost hypnotic. I can become completely mesmerized by the sound. The waves seem to be the heartbeat of the earth.  I wondered if babes in the womb view the sound of their mother’s heart like I perceive the waves on a beach?

People began to show up, and the magic of the moment was broken.  However, I carry the beauty of the moment in my heart with me always.

I stopped as I was leaving, and looked at the ocean from a high bluff.  I was inspired anew by the beauty around me.











Those awkward “teenage” years

Here’s some pictures of Gracie while she was in that awkward stage, before she became graceful and elegant.

“Can we go? Please?”

“The best seat in the house”

“Are you talking to me?”

“Want to see me do my Sphinx impression?”

It’s a dog’s life…

These may not be the most artistic shots, but I think they show elements of my Gracie’s personality.  She’s a dear, dear friend.

“Yes, I do think I’m the Queen of Sheba!”

“All that playing just wore me out!”

“Sibling rivalry? What sibling rivalry?”

“Oh good! He FINALLY got out of the bed so I could get some beauty rest!”

“It’s good to be the queen!”


True love


My golden retriever, Gracie, loves to swim.  Here’s just a few pictures of her in the pool.  I have hundreds, so it was difficult to pick which ones to use.  I didn’t necessarily use the “artistic” shots, but the ones that show her having the most fun.  I think she would swim all day if I would let her.  We’ve been really lucky, she doesn’t go in the pool unless we’re out there.

“Will he throw me the ball again?”

“May I go swimming? Please? Please? Please? Please? I’ll be good. I promise.”

A girl must work on her tan…

Tippy, tippy paws, coming down the hall

I wrote this over two years ago when my precious, beautiful, wonderful golden retriever, Sammie, left me for the rainbow gate. This kinda flowed out of me. I wrote with no thought, it was just there. I NEVER write in a poetic form, but for some reason this came out somewhat poetic. I don’t know that it’s necessarily “good” writing, but it felt good to express some of my feelings.

Sammie started having seizures when she was about twelve.  Until she started these seizures, she had acted like a young puppy, always willing play.  Because of the medicine we had to give her for the seizures she lost her sure-footedness, and became very weak, and unable to jump or play.

Several times I have gone back and tried to edit this, but I still cannot.  I can barely read it because the pain is still fresh.  Fair warning, it is a tear jerker.

A word of explanation.  We have hardwood floors, and every time Sammie walked anywhere her claws made a sound that we called “tippy, tippy paws”.


No more tippy, tippy paws, as you wander down the hall, checking on us all. My ears are tuned, and I do wish to hear the sweet sound of tippy, tippy paws coming down the hall.

No more scratching at the door, to be let in, and then scratching again to be let out–to roam the house again. No more waking me in the night with the touch of a cold nose on  my hand, as you check to be certain all is well. Never again will I have to lift you onto the bed, so you can lay your head on my pillow.  No more setting you off the bed, because you had aged and you couldn’t quite jump down. No more tippy, tippy paws to rouse me from my sleep. That “tippy, tippy paws” sound told me you were walking your beat.  Tippy, tippy paws—in the night, and in my heart. My heart will always long for the sound of those tippy tippy paws.

No more wads of hair to fuss about.  No more wondering how the hair got there…and under there…and over there…heck, your hair is everywhere. I see the hair still there, and it makes me long to see you laying there…and under there…and over there…or anywhere…the sofa, the hallway, the kitchen floor, the doorway, the walkway or lounging in the sun. No more lying in the middle of the room, or tripping me as I turn around. I often said, “Excuse me”, as I tried to go around you. I’d give my soul, to have you lying there to trip me again when I walk around the bend.

No more raised eyebrows, as you listen while I talk. I said I wanted to video you, as you showed me that you heard. Now, I cannot record you, ‘cause the eyebrows are now still.  Those expressive eyebrows will never raise in question or response. Never again can I sit on the floor, to talk and to play with you—no more will you give me kisses to let me know you were hearing what I said.

No more gentle paws, scratching on my lap. Those paws that quietly said, “Popcorn would make you a good chap”. It no longer aggravates to think about sharing what is on my plate. It seems such a big mistake that I ate steak, but was cruel and made you nibble on your kibble. I laugh when I think of how you would bounce for just an ounce of my meat. You loved me, and you did not berate, when I was late to put your dinner on your plate. No more will a gentle lady, delicately take my offered treat.

No more head coming to lay upon my lap, no more interruptions as I do my work. No more tippy paws announcing you’re on your way to visit me at my desk—to ask me to have a seat on the floor and speak with you. No more tippy, tippy paws and a nudge of the nose you as you dropped the ball into my lap, picked it up, dropped it into my lap, again and again, until I looked into those eyes. Those eyes always said, “Playing ball would be much more fun than playing a piano song.”

No more balls dropping on my head while I float in the pool, no more looking up to see your eyes begging me to throw the ball yet again. No more diving in to retrieve a ball, only to have it thrown again.

I wish I had not said, “That’s enough ball, Sammie. Go lay down” quite as often as I did. I regret the sad looks you gave me each and every time I did. It would not have hurt me to throw that ball again.

No more tippy, tippy paws, to announce that a nose was soon to open a door. You opened the door so you could drop in–just to say you care. You always thought the only reason I sat on the pot was so that I could scratch your special spot.

No more will you come to me when I am sad. I cannot cry in your fur, when I feel so very bad. I thank you for each time that you came and sat by my side–for letting me hold you while I cried. I thank you for kissing my tears away every time you were by my side. You even kissed my tears away as I cried for your approaching death.  As I cry for you, I long to hear tippy, tippy paws coming down the hall, to let me know that you’re coming to my side.

No more unconditional love—but wait! I feel your love for me, as you wait for me to again be your playmate. I pray that you’re waiting there for me, as I pass through the gates.

So many “no mores”, yet there are so many memories and lessons learned that I cannot regret. I cannot regret the love I received from you, the love you so freely gave…so much love that I cannot forget. So many memories from all the years—every memory brings a smile or tears—or fears that I failed to acknowledge all that you gave, or failed to say that you were a dear.

Tears continue to flow, and I can’t help but show that it feels as if all my tomorrows will be full of woe. I will not always be sad. In time, I will be glad for the time that we had. Although I fear my heart may break, I cannot regret (or negate) the love you brought—the lessons you taught—or the joy you had in every ball you caught–I knew you were going far away from me when the call “ball” no longer made your ears perk, and your eyes glow.

I am angry, and it makes me very mad. Why couldn’t you have passed when you were happy, not so very sad? No more graceful leaps and bounds. The thought of how your looks said, “What the hell” every time you fell (as your legs began to fail) are so hurtful. Sorrow runs deep, but memories of you I keep for all the tomorrows that I may meet.

I thank you for kissing my tears away while I wept for your upcoming death. You showed your love for us, even as you went.

Tippy, tippy paws, how the thought claws at my heart. Know I love you, and I do miss, the sound of your tippy, tippy paws, walking down the hall.

My visitor

This beautiful little guy comes to visit us regularly. He’s quite friendly, and will listen while I talk to him.  He lets me get very close, as long as I am talking to him.  I feel as if he’s a friend.

When he comes to visit, he perches on the end of a piece of bamboo in one of my gardens.  I made the mistake of moving the bamboo, and my little visitor seemed to be confused.  He would fly around in circles, as if trying to find his bamboo.  I put the bamboo back in place, and in just a few minutes he was perched there again.  He seemed happy, and I was was happy.

He doesn’t live here, but I always enjoy his visits.