(Originally posted to Hawksbill Cabin September 25, 2009, by Jim) 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 (they’ve also been published here on the WordPress blog in a digest format); since Gracie passed away she put together her records from the last three months, July to September, 2009. On the Hawksbill Cabin blog you can follow the story by clicking on the “canine renal” label in the index in the right hand column.
Even as I am consolidating and editing these posts in October 2009, it is still hard, and perhaps too early, to look back at these events for us (note: re-posting this here, four months later, it’s still hard). We definitely still feel the emptiness of loss. But we wanted to publish these notes on the blog and elsewhere 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, sometimes my thoughts are turning to fond memories:
- Playing soccer with Gracie on the hillside near the grade school in Adams Morgan, or at several of the other parks there in the District.
- The fun times we had when we first moved to Alexandria, when Sofie and Gracie would play up at the Masonic Memorial.
- A special cove that both dogs liked at Great Falls, their anticipation picking up as soon as they got on the trail to it. During the summer, they would lie down in the shallow water to cool off.
- Our 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.