On Friday, December 8th at 10:30am, our dog Gracie passed away from congestive heart failure. She was one-in-a-million and blessed our lives for over 14 and-a-half years. We couldn’t have asked for a better dog and we were sorry to see her go but it was her time and, thankfully, she went peacefully.

She was born with a heart murmur and we knew that, in time, it would probably present a major issue as she grew older. Although she had overcome a tumor on her stomach over 3-years ago, we learned early this summer that her murmur had become a major issue. Thanks to the overwhelming support and stellar care provided by Dr. Courtney Merrow, DVM at PedMed and the staff at Blue Pearl we did everything we could to prolong her life as long as possible. Unfortunately, her body stopped responding to the diuretics, as we were told they would, and the fluid build-up became too much. With no more remaining options, we put her to sleep.

Gracie found us on July 15, 2003, to be exact, and to say that she was member of our family would be an understatement. She went with us everywhere — to the office, on vacations, running errands, you name it. Everywhere she went, she seemed to have friends and fans.

At the office, people would stop by my door to come say hello and give her a pet. “She is just the best office dog”, said Dan on more occasions than I can count. Across the street, at Greko Street Food, several staff members would come to the outdoor area where we’d sit and eat our lunch just to see her. She was the star and I was proud to be in her entourage.

Or her chauffeur. She absolutely LOVED taking trips in the car and after I bought my MINI Cooper Clubman, she insisted on standing in my lap with her face out the window. Regardless of the weather, she was always ready for window time. Some weekends, we would go for a drive just so she could enjoy the trip.

If we were out somewhere, the most common question we’d get is, “What kind of dog is that?” Our best guess is that she was a cockapoo — a mix of cocker spaniel and poodle — but that is just a guess because we never really knew.

After her passing, my Mom, Holly and I recounted all the wonderful ways that she touched our lives and all the many things that she did. Our tears quickly turned to laugher recounting all the many adventures that she had. Here’s a short list:

  • Swam in the Atlantic ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific ocean and the Great Lakes (Lake Erie)
  • Rode shotgun on the Atlanta Motor Speedway and the Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • Sat at the board room table at the CMA for a meeting of the WMBA
  • Kayaked down the Cumberland River into downtown Nashville at sunset
  • Stood on the corner of Winslow, AZ
  • Peed in the Grand Canyon
  • Rode shotgun on Blimey’s Tiny Tour of Terror, which includes The Dragon, Cherohala Skyway, Wayah Road for over 7-hours of every “twistie” two states had to offer.
  • Rolled on the floor with Two-Foot Fred of the MuzikMafia
  • Drove cross-county from Nashville, TN to Pacific Grove, CA and back
  • Went wine tasting in three states (didn’t drink, of course, but did enjoy the treats provided)
  • Rode down Route-66
  • Kayaked around Cedar Key in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Peed on top of Sandia Peak
  • Stayed at the President’s Suite at the Padre Hotel in Bakersfield
  • Watched the sun come up, while otters swam by at Lovers Point
  • Watched the sunset on Carmel-by-the-sea beach next to a campfire, which is where the photo at the top of this entry was taken

I named her Gracie because “it was by the grace of God that she found me” and I am so, so very glad that she did. She was a blessing and enriched my life more than I can measure. For as long as I have left here on Earth, I will strive to be half the man she thought I was. Gracie was the child I’ll never have and although I did everything I could to spoil her rotten, it just wouldn’t take — she was always a sweetheart.

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