This is Gracie Mae! She is the cutest German Shepherd I have ever seen. I got the chance to meet her this past weekend. I could go on and on about this sweet pup but I wanted it to be from her family's perspective! So here is her story...
Gracie Mae, often called Grace or "big pup" for short, was the second German shepherd to come into our lives. She was named with the same middle name as our late shepherd, Ellie Mae, who we lost at only 10 months old. Thankfully, we got 10 years with Gracie, even though we really could use 10 more. Gracie recently got diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy, which has been extremely hard for our family. We're thankful for the time we have been blessed with her but we just keep wishing for one more day. Looking back to when we brought Gracie home, it was so exciting, she was seriously the cutest puppy EVER. She grew fast, but her ears couldn't keep up with her. One ear would stand up and the other would be floppy. Then, just as the floppy ear would start to stand, the one that was standing would fall back down! We thought they both would never stand up! Grant has also been in Gracie's life since shortly after we brought her home, and she has always been crazy about him! They're definitely best pals.
Over the years Gracie has enjoyed off leash walks exploring in the woods, swimming in the lake, chasing bubbles, biting at the water hose, and most of all - chewing on tennis balls! I bet we've been through at least 1,000 tennis balls in the past 10 years. She would sit and chew on them until they popped! She was always ready to go wherever you would take her. She would follow you everywhere you went, because she always wanted to have eyes on you. I guess you could say she was quite the shadow, especially to our dad Paul. We have had numerous laughs about her green feet from following him on the lawn mower while he cut the grass.
Gracie has always been protective of our family, she always made sure to know where we were. Years ago when Shelby was little, Gracie and Shelby were in the back yard while Shelby played on the swing set. Shelby fell off and began crying, and Gracie sat next to her and barked until we came out to see what she was barking at. She knew what to do to get our attention and didn't leave Shelby's side. She has always loved to eat, and she would let you know when she was hungry. She would always walk up to Melissa and just rub her head into her, trying to get her to feed her something. For years I had a glass treat jar with a metal lid in my room, and I taught her to touch it with her nose to get a treat. She would go over there and hit it EVERY SINGLE TIME she went in my room. She had also figured out that if she didn't take what I offered her, I would get something else out of the jar. She would sit there and sniff each treat until I got to something she really wanted.
Going along with her loving to eat, I took her to the vet one summer for a routine check up and the vet told me that she needed to lose some weight. I told her she was perfect just the way she was and took her to McDonalds and got her an ice cream cone after we left the vet. She was also quite the beggar. We always thought it was so funny when she would stick her nose in between Melissa's elbow at the table. She couldn't see anything because her face was pushed up into her arm, but her nose and mouth were ready for action. When she would do this at dinner, we used to get a kick out of giving her a piece of meat and then offering her something less exciting, like a piece of bread. Her nose would be sniffing but she wouldn't take it.
These past 10 years have treated Gracie well, she was loved from day one. She has been the best dog we could have asked for. Our hearts are broken, but we know she is ready to cross the rainbow bridge. We look forward to the day we get to see her again. As for now, we hope she meets up with Ellie in doggy heaven, and they both wait for us at the gates of heaven.
Here is a little background on the Degenerative Myelopathy:
DM is a neurological disease that affects the brains ability to communicate with the limbs. It begins with the hind legs, generally compromising one leg and then moving to the other. As the disease progresses, the legs will become weak and make it difficult for the dog to stand, ultimately resulting in the loss of the ability to walk. As the disease progresses past the back legs, it will eventually lead to weakness in the front legs as well.