Saying Goodnight, and Goodbye to My Gracie

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Gracie (photo: Iris Taboh)
Gracie (photo: Iris Taboh)
Gracie at home on the porch (photo: Iris Taboh)

Each night, when I call it a night, I canvass the main floor for any lights left on or doors unlocked. I check the woodstove when needed, and the fireplace should embers be present.  As I turn off the last light, on a feeble little switch by the mantel, I head upstairs to the unheated hinterlands, where my sleigh-bed chariot and down-comforter shield fend off the winter chills. Creaks and cracks signal my ascent, as Gracie joins the beat with a snare-drum vibe, courtesy of her bare nails on fir floors. But last night the old treads sighed under my weight, and my weight only; this time no four-legged virtuoso completed the beat.  I wanted to call for Gracie like I had a hundred times before, “Come on Gracie, it’s bedtime,” but the silence punctuated the reality; Gracie was no longer with me. Even my house seemed to mourn her absence with an enveloping silence, and uncharacteristically somber mood that quieted all systems and souls within its walls.

Gracie enjoying the warm rays
The sunny stair landing, also known as Gracie’s Beach

I recall on some occasions, I would call Gracie to bed, and she would have none of it. Why leave a perfectly overstuffed chair for a cold room with a man who snores louder than she does. And then, about an hour later, she would vacate her throne, pressed to do so by my annoying practice of lowering the thermostat to 50 degrees at night. As she trundled up the stairs in her signature zig-zag climbing style, she’d pause on the landing to hack, cough, grunt, sneeze, snort and make other tried-and-true bulldog sounds. In most cases, I’d already be asleep, and Gracie would scratch the bed-frame to alert me that she needed to be lifted up and tucked in. In a sleepy stupor, I would roll out of bed pick up my fifty-pound foot-warmer, and see to her comfort and appropriate placement. In mere minutes we’d both be asleep, cuddled up and ready to dream about marrow bones, and macaroons, respectively.

Gracie's first day at my house
My first day with Gracie, love at first sight

The last several months have been tough. Gracie seemed to age overnight following the death of Boz. She was sad, I was sad; we sorely missed our bombastic little buddy. When I worked outside, she would follow me to the truck and then just sit there until I opened the door and lifted her in. She’d contently nap there for the rest of the day. I left the door ajar so she could leave at will, but it appeared sleeping shotgun in a parked truck was her preferred regimen in the absence of sofa-surfing with her main squeeze.

COPY CODE SNIPPET
riding shotgun
Gracie: riding and napping shotgun

She started sleeping all day (as opposed to three-quarters of the day) and was not too interested in eating or drinking. Toward the end, I was hand feeding her, and just trying to make her comfortable. She was a scrappy girl, one who had won my heart about ten years ago when I adopted her at two. We had a very good run: a decade of joyful memories, relatively good health, and lots of love, field trips, and treats along the way. What a gift she was, and what a gift my memory of her is.

sada

Goodnight Gracie, and give my love to Boz. May your new digs have a toasty hearth, bountiful butt rubs, and a bottomless bowl of treats.Gracies collar and leash

75 COMMENTS

  1. So sorry to hear about your loss! Those of us that greatly love our animals know that kind of pain. I had taken comfort in knowing that you still had Gracie! Your words are beautiful!

  2. So sorry to hear your Gracie has moved on to her next adventure. I think most of your readers will relate to losing a Pet, friend, companion. They leave us with a ache in our hearts that never go away. But the memories will always linger and we can Laugh at the silly things they did and the Love they gave us.

  3. Aw, Tom…a bit more darkness in this darkest time of year. By your words it sounds as though she stayed long enough to make sure you were okay, and then left by degrees, to help ease you into it. It is small comfort when the loss is this fresh, but I like to think of how it might be for all of us lovers of dogs, when we finally have those lively slobbery reunions in the great hereafter.

  4. Tom, sending love your way dear friend. I know what a part of your heart Miss Gracie filled. Let the memories warm you, heart to toes. ♡

  5. I found your blog a few months ago and I was so sad to read of you losing your Boz and now I’m crying for Gracie. I’m so sorry you’ve lost both your wonderful dogs. I hope you can take comfort in all the great memories they gave you, Tom.

  6. Oh, Tom, I’m sobbing. A touching tribute, to a wonderful friend. I couldn’t imagine Tall Clover Farm without Boz, and now Gracie? I am so incredibly sorry. I know you will always have a a pair of bulldog-shaped holes in your heart, but as you said, you have years of wonderful memories to draw on, as do all of us that have been following Boz and Gracie’s antics over the years. Thank you for sharing these wonderful dogs with all of us. They couldn’t have asked for a better life than the one they had with you. Farewell, sweet Gracie…

  7. Awww Tom – How wonderful that Gracie and Boz were such a big part of your life. How lucky you all were to have each other. Losing a family member is terribly difficult and overwhelmingly sad. Thankfully you have wonderful memories to last a lifetime. Hang in there – time lessens the pain and sharpens those memories as the stories get retold. Big dog hugs to you!

  8. Oh Tom, I’m so sorry to hear this…first sweet Boz and now lovely Gracie. I hope you can take comfort in the good memories and the knowledge that you gave them a pretty damn good life 🙂

  9. My heart goes out to you. It is so hard losing our furry family members. I have enjoyed the stories of Gracie and Boz over the years. The nice thing is they remain in our hearts forever. Miss Gracie give a Boz a sloppy bully dog kiss from all of us, we will miss you. God bless you Tom.

  10. RIP Gracie, it is so hard to lose our fur-partners. What a wonderful and tearful tribute to her, Tom. When you least expect it, they always seem to remind you that they stay with you forever.

  11. I am so sorry to to hear of Gracie’s passing. It must seem unbearable to feel the huge void left by Boz & now Gracie.. We grow so used to living with our animal companions only to have them leave us far too soon. Your post is a wonderful & loving tribute to your Gracie & it is clear how much love you had for her . Give yourself the time & permission to grieve your losses and adjust to the “new normal” in your home. Anyone who ever felt the pain that comes with the passing of a beloved pet dies understands that it takes time for one’s heart to begin to heal. I hope good memories of your life with Gracie will soon replace your sadness.

  12. I can’t imagine a more beautiful and heartfelt tribute. Thanks for triggering a good cry. Sending appreciation for your beautiful post and warmth to you at this tender time.

  13. Tom, your eulogy for Gracie grabs my heart so heavily for your loss. Gracie and Boz were both characters and brought many laughs to all of us who followed their antics on this site. They were blessed to have such a caring and loving friend as you. Hang in there.

  14. I am so sorry to hear that Gracie has also passed. I shed tears as I read your beautiful tribute. Take care of yourself during this dark and sad time.

  15. Oh Tom, there are no words. Only thoughts. Only emotions. Only memories. My heart aches for you. with love and a huge HUG…

  16. Oh, Tom, it is so hard to lose a good friend and then two lose another dear friend the same year is hard to imagine. Just remind your self what a good life they had and what sweet memories you have of them both.

  17. Awwww, Tom. I always enjoys reading your blog and the antics of the various personalities, and Gracie and Boz were such wonderful denizens of your kingdom. I am so sorry to hear of your loss and am sending you big love and hugs. Our animals become such a part of our lives, and then we have to say goodbye too soon. I hope you will have a merry holiday and that you will find joy in the midst of losing your two buddies. And I love the photo of Gracie with her tongue sticking out. Thank You for sharing your love of farm and furry guys with us.

  18. Oh Tom, I am so sad to hear you have lost the second of your dear bulldogs. What a beautiful tribute. I know how heartbreaking it is to loose a bulldog. The house must seem terribly silent now. I wish you comfort to know that she can now run free and healthy with Boz. May your memories comfort you. Know that you have so many friends who share your sorrow.

  19. Oh my dear, I can only imagine the loss on you. Dear Tom-I’m so so sorry about Gracie. What a beautiful job you did on this post. The tears are streaming down my face. Sending you hugs from a Michigan reader……….

  20. So sorry for your loss, Tom! I lost my dear cat last year after 18 years. He was the sweetest cat ever. Never met a stranger…loved people…tolerated the birth and torture of six grandkids. Still miss him. He was my daughter’s cat that I inherited when she decided to go off into the world. She found him at the restaurant she was working at. He was named Basil Hayden after a sour mash bourbon they served there. He was my ‘B’. Still miss him but have some great memories.

    Enjoy your blog!

  21. I am so sorry for your loss. The joy and love is so real, as is the sadness at their passing. The way you have shared them in life and in their passing will ensure they are in all of our hearts, and their memory will keep them alive. Your island community is holding you during these dark and wet times, and always. <3

  22. Nothing harder than losing a good dog, and you’ve lost two. My three (a Wire pup and two Cairns) are piled on my shoulders and feet while I have an eggnog latté. I’m shedding a tear or two for Gracie, but hoping your new year will find a new dog in your life. I can’t imagine not having that special companionship.

  23. I’m so sorry to hear this news. I didn’t know about Boz… and now Gracie! Such a shocker. I’m sure you will know what to do when the time is right (whether to get new companions). For now, mourning is just fine. Next time I see you I want to give you a hug. Your Vashon community is holding you up. Blessing and healing to you…..

  24. Oh, dear. Your grief, sadness is felt here in Oregon. New follower, I too have enjoyed reading the antics of Boz and Gracie. My Gracie left 8 years ago and your post is a reminder of those painful early days. But, still, their presence never really leaves. Please continue to share all they have so richly given you.

  25. Raising high my cup of coffee this morning to Ms. Gracie and Sir Boz and to all of the precious animals that open wide our hearts ! Knowing you three gave each other the best possible love will inform the rest of your life with their warmth. Tom, I sincerely wish you whatever helps heal your loss.

  26. I’m fairly new to this blog, but have enjoyed it immensely. I am so sorry about Gracie. I know how much this must hurt, especially since Boz left so recently. I think there is a reason for this. They wanted to be together, and you, of course, will be seeing them — and will be happy together again.

  27. I’m so sad to hear you are without your canine companions. With tears in my eyes as I write this note, I wish you comfort in your memories of Boz and Gracie and all your good times together.

  28. You capture the true spirit of bulldog love. My 10 year old Buster is snoring cuddled up to me this moment as I cry for both Boz and Gracie. I savor every moment I have with my beautiful bulldog and I know you did too. My heartfelt condolences.

  29. Tom, I’m so very sorry. I lost my furry friend this year as well, but two in one year is a very tough row to hoe. Thank goodness they leave such wonderful and happy memories. Hugs to you.

  30. So, so sorry. I’ll never forget them both. Our hearts break for your loss. May memories of Boz and Gracie by a blessing for all who knew them.

    Bart & Andrea

  31. Like Emily and so many others, I now have tears rolling my cheeks, hearing your news. Gracie and Boz are together again, and on to new adventures. And you still have us and the farm and all the love in all of that. But, oh! To not have your buddies, after such a long and loving time together, is wrenching. And I’m not even you. I’m imagining Boz and Gracie angels hovering near you, tapping along after you, and sleeping by the fire, and napping in the truck, and snoozing in the sleigh bed, with you wherever you go. And those wings and that Santa hat (always rakishingly styling) look good on them!

  32. I’m so incredibly sorry to hear about Gracie. My heart is breaking and I’m sitting here crying through my eggs and toast. It feels like just yesterday that you were posting about Boz and I can’t believe that Gracie is gone now too. I wish it was possible for me to come keep you company. No words. I would just clatter and bang around. That silence that exists in the void that dogs used to occupy is one of the most heartbreaking. In a way, I’m happy and sad for Gracie. How torn she must have felt to leave you, but happy to meet up with Boz again. At least they can keep each other company until all three of you are together again.

  33. This outpouring says so much, Tom, for the ways you share your heart and create community. Thank you for letting those of us who love you know of Gracie’s soul launch. Your tribute to her life is appreciated. For when you articulate what you are feeling about your beloved canine companion, we readers touch a place inside ourselves connected to all that matters in the world. Seems Gracie lived a good life. As did Boz. And now their human navigates the tough places of grieving, sensing, missing, remembering and dreaming. You are held close, Tom, as you held your dear pups close throughout their lives with you. Denise and I send you our very best healing energy. And love.

  34. Dear Tom, I’m so sorry for your loss. A house without its dogs is sad indeed.
    I recently read a novel with some delightful dogs in it, enjoying the afterlife. It made me smile. It might make you smile too. If you are a reader, consider ‘Elsewhere’, by Gabrielle Zefin. Best wishes, S.

  35. My heart goes out to you for your loss. Pets are members of our family and are mourned as much. Gracie and Boz were as lucky to have you in their lives as you were to have them. There’s a lot of love and memories to carry in your heart. As old age creeps up on my dog I fear the day he is no longer with me but wouldn’t give up the time we have had together for anything in the world.

  36. Oh Tom,
    I am so sorry to hear that your beloved Gracie has died. Losing Boz and now Gracie seems more than a heart can bear. They were quite a duo, those two, and I’d like to think they are together again curled up on some heavenly sofa. You must feel both their absence so acutely. Actually you three were quite a trio. Much love to you, Tom. Bless that Gracie, Bless you.
    Catherine

  37. Dear Tom,
    Six years ago, I lost my dear dog Leon, then a few months later my dear husband Teddy (only I was allowed to call him that)and my sweet Emma (dog).

    The last words Ted spoke to me was to always ” celebrate life”. I miss them in many very special ways but now I celebrate my Harris, Saige, Abbey. They needed a home and someone to love them. They even tolerate Miss Meg (kitty)

    I know you offer so much love from your stories so there are many waiting for your love.

    Boz,Gracie and you have been so blessed with each other .

    What joy you have grown in your heart from your furry friends,

    V

  38. Darling Tom,
    I never met your precious pups, Boz and Gracie, but my love for English Bulldogs runs deep. I share the sadness of all your friends with you over the loss of them. They always live in our hearts, and according to the Pope, they do go to heaven and wait for us. I’ve always known this and didn’t need him to tell me, but it’s nice to have that confirmation. They will always be close to you in spirit, and when you think you’ve heard a sneeze, snort, or other Bulldog noises, know that you have, they are still with you and love you. All your friends do too.

  39. Wow Tom. So sorry we are no longer neighbors, as Karen and I could stop by and bring you some much needed cheering up! A year that you will always hold in a special place in your heart, and with the ever renewal of Spring you will come through this to warmer times of mirth and merriment. Long live Gracie, and of course Boz!

  40. So sorry to hear about Gracie! My 18 year old beloved dog died several weeks after Boz and we miss him so much. Nick was the best dog ever in our eyes. I am currently getting to know a new pup, Cooper. He is adorable and already loved by my family. We just missed having a loyal companion around the house. We really feel Nick some how sent him our way. Nick will always be missed just like Boz and Gracie! I know your heart must ache. Take care. This dog lover from Alabama will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Merry Christmas Tom! Kelly Simmons

  41. Tom…I am so so sorry to hear about Gracie, and so soon after Boz. Sometimes that is how it goes with best buddies. Your words have me crying….I have followed you, Gracie and Boz for a few years now and I know how much you loved your 4 legged buddies. Bless your heart, and please know my heart is with you in this time of grieving.

  42. I was honored to have been the photographer on that first day with Gracie. Many years have passed since that day, but not enough. Never enough. I know too well that deafening silence of a dog’s absence that you write about. I also know how much you loved those dogs so my heart aches along with yours. I’m not sure on what level, in which dimension, or which place in time their bulldog energy now occupies but I want to believe they are in a realm with Maggie, and Sparkle, and Tippy, and Duncan, and Lucy, and Tucker, and Strider, and Bingo, and Noah, and Nathan, and Tuesday, and all the four-legged lives that have enriched ours. What great dogs they were.

  43. I was so moved by your tribute Tom. So sorry you had to go through this loss twice in such as short time. Courage my friend. Things will get back to normal , just some other normalcy. Thinking of you. You were blessed with wonderful companions.

  44. I’m reading this post with tears in my eyes blessing AND cursing your excellent writing skills. Gracie and Boz were the ultimate team and were fortunate to have had you as their human.

  45. Greetings from Victoria, BC. So sorry to read about the loss of your two dogs Tom. May you be enveloped by the love and hugs of family, neighbours and friends during this difficult time of
    bereavement and adjustment.

  46. Brought tears to my eyes after I read the sad news. I’m so sorry for your loss of Gracie. I know your circle of family and friends will comfort you during this difficult and quiet time. It’s always so hard to lose our furry friends. Peace to you this Christmas.

  47. This sad post about Gracie has me in tears. Homes aren’t the same without our furry friends. We lost our dear Doodle, Rupert, in November. Although we have a new pup to bring home at the end of this month, we know that each dog is irreplaceable. Gracie and Boz will have a place in your heart eternally. We followers of your blog will remember them dearly for providing smiles, laughter, and mischief in your tales of their exploits. Thanks for sharing your four legged friends.

  48. What an outpouring and gift of love and kindness and sympathy and humanity I feel this very moment, and actually, I felt it all week as I checked back here often. Your words and big hearts have touched me deeply, and your concern for me and my loss, has simply confirmed what I already knew: lots of good people in the world, earnest souls who wish the best for their family, friends and humankind. You have made me feel better in a time when sadness had overstayed its welcome, and for that I thank you. Tom

  49. Oh Tom, I am in belated tears here, reading about Gracie. I can’t say I’m surprised — I was sure she was missing Boz badly. But so very sad on your behalf, to think that you are bulldogless so suddenly. Good that they are together — for surely they must be in some doggy afterlife. All we can offer from out in blog land is our virtual hugs, pies, and understanding. I know you are hunkering down in the dark of winter, for that what this season is about. The Light will return, in your heart and in your garden. Much love to you.

  50. Gracie and Boz were such sweeties. I remember when I met them how wonderful they were. I remember your story about carrying them home in the heat when one of them–Gracie?–could not complete the walk. How lucky they were to have you as their human.

    • Thanks Frances, what a lovely thing to read this evening and to recollect about Boz and Gracie. I still miss them. I hope all is well with you. We miss you in the neighborhood!

  51. I just realized that Gracie must be in heaven when I saw too many packages without her in them. I looked it up on the internet and found my thoughts to be true. I am truly and wholeheartedly sorry. She was a kick. She would look at some interviewees like you’re boring, I dont like you (but as long as you’re nice to my mom, I’ll let you pass) this might be a nice dog person I really like you or I’m tired of filming “Mr Demille”. We were all lucky to have her in our life even if it was only through TV. I cried for awhile. It was like lassie. God Bless you you and your family and especially your new family member. Alicia

    • Thank you Alicia, your words are so kind and loving and appreciated. I still miss her, but have some wonderful memories to revisit when those moments call.

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