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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Furry Valentine

Three years ago I drove to pick up a new foster dog.  I drove an hour each way.  When I picked her up, I put her in the front seat next to me.  I’m not sure why, as I don’t normally let my dogs ride there.  Grace was 11 months old.  She had run wild circles when let out of the house and we had to chase her and tackle her to get a leash on her.  Yet she sat there in that seat, very still and serene looking.  She sat for the whole hour, and she stared.  She stared at my face with her brilliant sky blue eyes.  
I had to keep reminding myself that she was just a puppy because the energy emanating from her small white form was that of an old, experienced soul.  By the time we got home, she had taken over my heart and I knew she would be staying. 

Obedience class graduation day.
I don’t blog much about Grace, so I thought I would devote today’s space to her.  It is the day I picked her up and it has become the day that I celebrate her.  Grace is my tom girl – by every sense of the word!  She is mostly white, but she is very rarely white.  Next to my other white dogs, she is a yellowish color.  I remember after getting her home and giving her a bath, how I marveled at how pure white she was.  Even today, it is such a difference after her bath.  The white is almost blinding!  You see, Grace loves nature.  Ok, that’s a polite way of saying it.  She loves dirt, and mud, and puddles, and dirt, and more dirt!  She runs and rolls and wrestles with the other dogs.  She digs, she pounces.  She lives every moment outside to its fullest.  And there is no way I can keep up with keeping her clean and white.
She loves to be pet, but only on her terms.  When she wants petting she will come and ask.  If she doesn’t want it, she will turn and go away about her business.  She plays with toys on her terms too.  She will watch, amused, while I wiggle a toy near her and toss it away.  She pauses, looks from the toy to me and back again, trying to decide if she is in the mood.  But if she brings you a toy, you can be sure she wants you to throw it or play a little game of tug!
Grace likes to lick my bare toes.  Any time she can find my toes with nothing covering them, she lies down to lick them.  I wonder why some dogs do that …
Grace has a slight visual impairment that affects her depth perception and her night vision.  Grace loves (and I mean really loves!!) agility!  I already mentioned the tom boy part … she loves to run and go fast and jump around.  So the running and tunnels were great for her.  She can see the jumps and can do them if I keep them low and always jump her at the same height.  But if we are outside and the sun is in her eyes, she can’t judge them very well.  She loves to climb and the contact equipment never fazed her. 

Grace and Owen
The first time I helped her over the dog walk, she got to the middle of the top (on leash with me holding her close, mind you) and she LEAPED straight out into the air with all four of her legs spread eagle, her tail out straight behind her, and a goofy grin on her face with her tongue hanging out the side of her mouth!  I can see the moment in my mind… it is like a freeze frame.  She looked like a fluffy white flying squirrel.  In that moment of stunned response, I heard Grace hit the ground with a thud! Thankfully she was not hurt.  I tried it again, this time ready for her leap. And she showed no fear.  In the same spot, she turned and launched herself again!  But this time I was ready and caught her as her feet left the board. 
When I bought a teeter to practice with my other dog and put it up in the fenced yard, it was Grace who discovered it.  She walked up and over the plank, banging it onto the ground and walking to the bottom edge, hopping off, then immediately hopping right back on and riding it the other direction!  She did this several times in a row before becoming bored with the whole thing and going off to find some dirt to play in.  Because of Grace’s visual impairment, we limit our agility work to our back yard doing low jumps and tunnels mostly and sometimes a teeter.  I won’t let her do the contact equipment anymore.  She is too reckless and doesn’t realize she can be hurt. 
Grace is such a combination of traits all wrapped up into one dog.  She is always surprising me.  She is always my tom girl.  She always has an opinion and she knows what she wants and when she wants it.  She brings an element of surprise into our lives.  Happy Birthday Gracie girl!!

Beautiful Grace


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