My parents picked out Gracie with a little help from me from a no-kill shelter down the street from their home. She’s a good mutt — part beagle and corgi. We’ve had her for about 4 years, and she’ll be 5 soon. She hit the jackpot by being brought into my parent’s household. My mom and dad spoil her like a grand child while my sister, Beth and I are more firm with her, though our attempts at discipline turn out unsuccessfully, since she spends most of her time in their home. Beth always jokes that she should be diagnosed with ADD, since she’s strangely enthralled by different shadows and reflections of light. Whip out a cell phone while she’s on your lap, and she will immediately pounce on it paws-first, almost feline-like. And when she does sit on a lap she doesn’t really sit, so much as stand with all her weight on one leg, and if she’s taken off, will try to get back up a few seconds later. She must be pet and paid attention to at all times. I would call her a “stage 5 clinger.” She deserves to be spoiled and clung to, despite my annoyance with it at times. Her last household was one filled with domestic abuse. Apparently the father had alcohol problems, and when authorities came to rescue her, she was found in the backyard with the little girl of the home clinging to her. I would also like to think that little girl was rescued and taken out of the home as well. As a result, she’s leery of any male company that comes into my parents’ house who she hasn’t met before. I find myself having parental feelings toward her — strange since I have no plans on being a father in my lifetime at all — like worry that she’s not grateful enough for what we’ve given her. I found out this holiday season that she turns her nose up at honey ham and certain lunch meats. She’s become picky about her table scraps! Any other dog would take any human food they could get, but not Gracer for whom table scraps are commonplace and expected.
|begging for a belly rub|
Gifts from her sat under the tree. She got me a wine-themed calendar. In my stocking was a lint roller — they’re called “Gracie rollers” in the Holladay family — to get her hair off my clothes. I asked my mom, “Why didn’t you have Gracie’s gift be the lint roller?” She responded, as if she had a conscious choice in the matter, “Because she wanted to get you the calendar.” She’s a canine member of the family. I’m constantly amazed at how Gracie has the ability to bring all of us together. In my parents’ older age, she’s been good for them. Whenever we get together, she’s front and center, and in her eyes, we live for her, and that’s even true to an extent. Her life and energy give us life and energy, speaking to our inner need to provide care and comfort to a life that’s meek. In the midst of our stressful moments as a family at times, her innocence refreshes and revitalizes, a testament to what she gives back to us. While opening gifts, I slipped her a piece of sausage, and even though she may be used to getting what she wants from us, the calm and sheepish look on her face under that coffee table let me know that she really is grateful, even if she doesn’t know it.
Happy Holidays, from me and Gracie Bell!