An Irreplaceable Friend

She looked like a miniature Ewok; soft and cuddly. And from the moment she scooted underneath my hair to nuzzle my neck, I knew I had to have her. Two weeks later, I signed the papers and made her mine forever.

Image (8) Gracie

At home, she became my constant companion. Everywhere I went, Gracie followed. I taught her words such as sit, stay, no, and I love you. In return, she educated me in the fine art of puppy language. Staring declared, “I need to potty.” Dancing said, “I want a treat.” Barking demanded, “I want attention.” Day after day, we bonded over conversations, feedings, bathing, and training until we understood each other perfectly.

Still, we’ve had our moments of disagreements. For instance, as a pup, Gracie played the sibling and often nipped at my daughter. Her first Christmas she played the thief, stealing figurines from the Victorian village we’d assembled beneath the tree. Even now, she plays the escape artist, squeezing through or climbing over the bars of her pen.


These days, I dwell on the good things about Gracie, because I see more of her slipping away each day. Her eyes are dim, and she’s hard of hearing. Her steps are slow, and she’s forgetful. I’m preparing for a life without her.

When she and I walk, I reminisce about the way her eyes express her concern while sitting with me during storms and through sickness. I smile at her patience with my daughter, who used to dress her in doll clothes. I marvel over her delight when floating on a raft in the pool with my teenage son. Such memories are unforgettable treasures.

After fifteen years with Gracie, one thing is certain. She has become an irreplaceable friend, and I shall never be without her.


Note: I wrote this for a class this year and thought I would share my thoughts with you about this sweet friend of mine. I’m not sure I’ll be able to write about her when she decides to leave me. 🙂 I do hope you enjoyed meeting my pup.

ClicktoTweet: Her first Christmas she played the thief, stealing figurines from the Victorian village we’d assembled beneath the tree. ~ @GailJohnson87 #petlove


34 thoughts on “An Irreplaceable Friend

  1. Oh Gail, you made me cry! I know what it’s like to see our beloved pets age. It’s hard to know when we should actually let go. We had two Lhasa which lived 16 1/2 years, that’s nearly as long as our children lived at home. I have to remember that the love is still worth the heartache. Lovely tribute and hugs across the miles, ❤

  2. Aww, she’s so precious.
    One of the hardest things to deal with is when you realize their time is getting short. Dogs (and even some cats!) are such wonderful, loving companions-almost nothing on earth can compare.
    ((((Hugs, dear friend))))
    Give your sweet companion a scratch behind the ears for me!

  3. Beautiful and moving tribute to your loving pet, Gracie. I can relate to how you’re feeling. It’s how I feel about my pets as well. Jewel left us on February 14, 2012 (Valentine’s Day)…we had to put her down, she was not doing well…couldn’t see, couldn’t hear, liver and kidney problems, incontinence, and seizures. After she dove off the second floor balcony and landed on the landing to the front door below, we had to put her down. 😦 I know you cherish your pup as much as I did mine (still think about her, of course, and my wonderful, loving cat of 19 years when I was growing up and into my early thirties). Presently, we’ve got two dogs that are 12 years old and one cat that’s 6 years old. We love them, also (naturally). ❤

  4. Aaaaw, tears came to my eyes. As an avid dog lover & fur-mom to ours (a Yorkie), I do understand & relate to every word. They are so sweet, so loyal, so loving, so much of a friend, its beyond comprehension. May you enjoy every day you have with the little fur-ball of blessing God gifted you. Gracie is beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Awww, Gail. What a lovely post. Your sweet Gracie seems like a wonderful dog. I’m so sorry she’s slowing down. I’m sure that makes your heart ache.

    I loved reading about her and the relationship you two have.

  6. So sweet. People can’t seem to understand the bond unless they’ve had a bond with one that long.

    • Thank you. So true on the bonding, A. Deitz. Everyone should experience that bond at least once in their life. Thanks for reading and commenting, dear friend.

  7. Ah, so sweet! We’ve been years without our best pal and sometimes still miss him. Most of all, we miss our “granddog” Gusto, who lives with his mom (our ex-daughter-in-law). She sends us pictures! They are so special to us, giving us unconditional love and devotion. Something we all crave. 🙂

    • They do give us unconditional love and devotion! Thanks for reading and commenting, Betty. Congratulations on the launch of your new book, Rebecca’s Legacy!

  8. Precious! I don’t think you can ever prepare yourself for her loss, Gail. They imprint our hearts forever. ❤

    • So true, Tori. Every time I think about getting another Shih Tzu, Mr. Incredible reminds me that I will not find another Gracie. She is my one and only. Thanks for reading and commenting, sweet friend.

  9. Thank you for sharing Gail. The way you described Gracie is beautiful. Our two boys and I are very interested in adding a dog to our family. Hoping and praying for a good match, and for my husband to agree:)

    • Hi, Julie. Thank you for reading, dear friend. I will be praying for the perfect fur baby. Dogs bring so much love to a family. I pray your boys will get to know that kind of love. Blessing, dear friend.

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