A Letter To My Dog

In honor of National Dog Day today, I thought I would write a letter to my beautiful dog, Gracie. Don’t worry–I will read this aloud to her. She has excellent language comprehension skills. She is the puppy daughter of a speech-language pathologist after all.

To my Gracie Girl,

I have dreamed about having a dog my entire life. I almost got one for my 12th birthday, but I failed to win out in the great trampoline or puppy debate. That is a story for another time, however. Finally, when I was 27 years old I started looking online for puppies without informing your dad. I saw your sweet face and instantly knew you were the perfect dog for us. I took your dad on a walk around the block and tried to convince him that we needed a puppy. Towards the end of the walk, he agreed to the idea and I gave him the biggest, most giant hug. I contacted the breeder and she said we could have you in one week. It was the longest week of my life as I was anxiously awaiting to meet you, sweet girl.

Your dad and I discussed names for you that week. I wanted to name you Chloe, Haddie, or Lacy. Your dad had suggested Grace. I told him that name was not dog-ish enough, and together we decided on Gracie. From that moment on, I believe you were destined to be our saving Grace. Our amazing Grace.

On that next Friday after work, your dad and I drove to Illinois to bring you home. When we arrived, you had just been given a bath and were running around like crazy. You were the cutest, most fluffy puppy I had ever seen. I do believe in love at first sight–because Gracie girl I fell in love with you as soon as I saw you. Your dad did too. His eyes lit up and his smile widened whenever you were around him. He was so proud of and protective over you. Your dad was also the one who trained you primarily. He made you into the sweet, loving, good girl you are today. I was the pushover puppy parent–or as I would often remind your dad, the love provider.

I want to thank you, my dear Gracie girl. I truly believe you saved your daddy the last three years of his life–and now you have saved me. You have no idea how much you have meant to me; how much I have needed you these past seven months. You are my light. You are my angel. You are one of many reasons I choose to move forward in my life.

Thank you for being my constant companion, my best and loyal friend.  Thank you for making me laugh and smile on the most difficult of days. Thank you for allowing me to lean on you when I lack strength. Thank you for all the kisses, hugs, and snuggles I receive each and every day.

And most of all, thank you for your unconditional love–the love only a dog seems truly capable of.

I will love you always and forever, my sweet, saving Gracie.













My Million Dollar Dog

After losing Shawn to suicide, I felt as though the world stopped turning. My life stopped moving. I was left motionless and stuck in my grief. The world did not get the memo. It continued to move all around me. Which meant I was still left dealing with personal and financial responsibilities–paying bills and student loans, figuring out health insurance, canceling or changing certain services. This was just added stress on top of an already traumatic life event.

This past weekend, one of my younger cousins asked if he could purchase Gracie. His offer–a whopping one million dollars. He just graduated from the first grade, so this is well out of his price range. However, I responded that I would not sell Gracie for any amount of money. My dad obviously thought this was crazy, claiming I could buy hundreds of other dogs (as well as many other items) with a million dollars.

I know this is a hypothetical situation. No one will ever be offering me one million dollars for my dog. But I asked myself: Would my life be easier if I could sell Gracie for one million dollars? Yes, absolutely. Would my life be better? Absolutely not. While it may be true that I could purchase many other dogs, not any of those would be my Gracie. I really believe she was brought into my life to save me during this most difficult time–and that, to me, is worth well over one million dollars.

This topic of money and wealth was brought up again later in the weekend with my aunt and mom. My aunt has taught her sons that being rich is not necessarily equivalent to having a lot of money. You can be rich in many ways–rich with family, friends, love, and shared experiences. I found that to be such an important life reminder. So often lately I get bogged down by the thought of money and future financial concerns that I often forget that I already am rich–just in a different way.










My Saving Grace

Through this journey of grieving, I am not sure what I would have done without our dog, Gracie. She has truly been my saving grace. She is the sweetest, most loving dog–and I do not just say that because I am her mom. Gracie has been by my side from day one, showing nothing but her unconditional love.

When I realized Shawn was not home that first morning and searched for him frantically, Gracie was there.

When I found out Shawn was no longer living and dropped to the ground filled with such overwhelming sadness, Gracie was there.

When I could not get to sleep during so many late nights, Gracie was there.

When I woke up in the morning, and remembered the reality of what my life had become, Gracie was there.

When I went to our place by myself for the first time and surrounded myself with a pile of laundry and cried as I breathed in Shawn’s scent, Gracie was there.

When everyone went back to work and continued on in their everyday lives, Gracie was there.

When I made big life decisions about work and where to live, Gracie was there.

When I walked through the woods and realized there might still be beauty in this world, Gracie was there.

I am so incredibly grateful for my Gracie girl and she probably has no idea what she has meant to me. She is my beautiful, angel on earth. Gracie is apart of both me and Shawn–she is the piece of our little family that I have left here with me and maybe that’s what means the most.

If I were Oprah for the day, this is what I would do for all the individuals suffering from a significant loss. If you happen to not be a puppy person, then you are just out of luck I guess.

P.S. I had to make this meme-how has no one done this?

oprah meme