Ramble On

Friday, September 25, 2009

The loss of Gracie Dawg

Readers of the blog already know this, but Mary, Sofie and I lost our beloved friend Gracie a few weeks ago. Gracie, the Border Collie we adopted from relatives in 1995, suffered canine renal failure for about two years, entering the final stage in approximately January of this year.

Mary took on the primary care giver role for Gracie as the disease progressed. She compiled a series of previous entries on the disease; since Gracie passed away she put together her records from the last three months, July to September, 2009. You can follow the story by clicking on the “canine renal” label for this post or in the index in the right hand column.

It is still hard and perhaps too early to look back at these events for us. We definitely still feel the emptiness of loss. But we wanted to publish these notes on the blog for other owners who may be just receiving the diagnosis. I hope that in some way these posts will help prepare those owners for what’s ahead and the decisions that will need to be made along the way during the course of the disease.

For my part, I thought I might have more to add after reading Mary’s eloquent posts, and preparing them for the blog. It’s still too early for that, like it is for Mary and Sofie, although I find that now, more often when I think of her my thoughts are turning to fond memories:

· playing soccer with her on the hillside near the grade school in Adams Morgan, or at several of the other parks there in the District
· fun times we had when we first moved to Alexandria, when Sofie and Gracie would play up at the Masonic Memorial
· the special cove that both dogs liked at Great Falls, their anticipation picking up as soon as they got on the trail
· vacations in the Outer Banks and later at the Hawksbill Cabin, where the girls delighted in exploring the outdoors with us, an alternative to our urban environments – the city wasn’t a bad place for dogs, just necessarily constrained because of the confined populations.

Our vet sent a condolence card after Gracie died. As a near final note, her words:

Gracie was truly a special patient and I will share your loss. Her tenacity to forge ahead and live life to the fullest was admired by all. Your dedication to her these past nine months has been dearly recognized. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of her life all these years. My thoughts are with you, Fondly, Donna.

Thanks to everyone for the kinds thoughts and comforting words. We lost a good friend in Gracie.

12/27/1994 – 9/7/2009.

Over the weekend the posts will be focused on our story of Gracie’s canine kidney disease. We’ll return to other topics next week. Best, Jim and Mary


Andrea said...

I'm so sorry about Gracie. She was so fortunate to have such a loving and devoted family. Blessings to you.

Anonymous said...

Jim and Mary,

This news is heartbreaking. I am so sorry that you have lost Gracie. Dogs are such wondrous beings. So very worthy of love and admiration.

May Hawksbill Cabin and its surroundings supply you with comfort and wonderful memories of your family member.

I enjoy reading your blog and would especially like to hear about Gracie's life if you are so inclined.


Jim said...

Don and Andrea - thank you for the kind words. It's still a little tough, you know how it is with these things. We still have our Sofie - the trooper - through all of this, which has been a big help. Best, Jim

Anonymous said...

Jim and Mary,

I just lost my dog to renal disease. She was 11 years old and I am heartbroken.

The last several weeks of my dog's life were full of ups and downs, but the ups were becoming less high and the downs were coming more frequently. In the end, I knew that the loving thing to do was to end her discomfort and put her to sleep. It will take a long time for me to recover from this loss and I'm sure you felt the same way when you lost Gracie.

During the last weeks of my dog's life, I found your diary about Gracie's fight. It may sound strange, but I found comfort in your words because reading about your experience let me know that my vet and I were doing everything possible to help my dog. Reading about Gracie's struggle also prepared me for what lay ahead for me and my dog.

Thank you for sharing Gracie's story.

- Marty