What seems like forever ago, my darling hubby and I were living in Michigan, on the campus of a small, private Christian university.  I won’t say which one, just in case I ever slip and vent about why it was a less-than-lovely experience.  Don’t worry, former students….you were the bright spot in that time of life!

Anyway, as our time there drew to an end, we met our first baby.  The Hubs had to return a school van that he had used to bring a group of his residence life staff to Cedar Point.  I drove our car to meet him at the security office and as I waited in the car for him, I noticed it was taking a bit longer than I would have thought.  Then I saw Hubs peek his head out of the door, smiling like a goon, and waving me inside. 

I walked in, my four-month baby bump leading the way.  I could see a lump of something in Hubs’ arms.  After working for this school and living on campus, you just never know what to expect so the sight of a lump of something was a bit unnerving.  As I got closer though, I saw the lump was furry, had a sweet little nose and velvety ears.  Oh good gravy.  A puppy.  If you know me at all, you know what an obsession I have with dogs.  So the sight of a puppy is enough to reduce me to a puddle of goo.

Our Gracie Girl

There she was.  Soft and brown and ridiculously adorable.  She fit in my hands.  MY hands.  I have freakishly small hands.  Like a carnie.  And yet she fit perfectly.  Oh she was so warm and soft and lovely with her puppy fur and her round puppy belly that you couldn’t help but squeal over.

She belonged to a student who was working at the front desk and she had apparently shoved her under the desk when she saw Hubs come in.  And because we were at the end our stint there, we really didn’t care what rules were being broken, as long as no one was being murdered or experiencing alcohol poisoning or drug overdose.  So Hubs said, “Aw, it’s cool.  What are you hiding?” and she brought out the ball of cuteness.

I was immediately smitten.  I asked her name.  Gracie.  It suited her to perfection.  We asked her breed.  That’s when the girl looked a bit sad.  “She’s a lab/pitbull mix.  I’m going to have to find a new home for her because my mom is nervous about the pitbull half.”  Oh for crying… Breed prejudice.  Don’t get me started.  Let me just say this.  Pitbulls are awesome dogs, extremely loyal and loving and GREAT with kids.  They were once referred to as “nanny dogs” because of how great they are with kids.  Okay, I will not continue to rant because it could get ugly.

Snoozing. Oh how I love her little teeth

Because our time was drawing to a close, we were looking forward to our move to a new house in the next two weeks.  When I heard her say that she needed to find little Gracie a new home, all I did was look at Hubs.  All I had to do was look at Hubs.  He smiled because he knew.  She was ours.

Two weeks later, we welcomed that precious ball of soft brownness into our new house.  My family thought we were crazy because I was pregnant (with our first), but I didn’t care.  I happily carried that pup downstairs in the middle of the night to pee.  I happily cleaned up the puddles of pee and piles of poop.  She was a quick learner, so the clean-up wasn’t a terribly long time to endure.  She was my first dog.  MY first.  Mine.  All mine.  And Hubs.  But mostly MINE.

Gracie was our first baby, and she has been the perfect dog.  She is loving, cuddly, entertaining and wonderfully patient with the kids. 

And for the record, the moment I plopped Gracie in the laps of my parents, their protests stopped.  And now, they are just as in love.  My Dad especially.  It borders on ridiculous.  Whenever we’re at their house, he can never just feed her straight dog food, it must be laced with some kind of meat.  And now she knows to never accept plain dog food at Grampy’s house.  She will literally turn her nose up at the thought.

Bathing Beauty

When I am tired, stressed out, just generally in need of some love, Gracie is there.  No amount of therapy is like burying your face into some dog fur.  Laying your head on her side, and feeling the gentle rise and fall of her breathing, hearing the sound of her heartbeat.  It’s the oasis in the desert.