God’s Gracie- The HeART of Spirituality

I’ve not been able to write about Freddie in over one and a half years when he first had a series of seizures.  He was able to be stabilized  with medication but suddenly lost his vision and became increasingly disoriented.  All his symptoms were indicative of a brain tumor.  Even though he was stabilized, I spent the last year and a half of his life in anticipatory grief, mourning the wonderful, loving dog we had adopted.  From the day we took him home Freddie was gentle, sweet spirited, almost perfect – didn’t shed, didn’t bark and liked everyone.  His only “flaws” were an insatiable appetite, making sure there wasn’t a crumb on the floor and obsessively lifting his leg on plants, grass, trees and once on a Shih Tzu . . .  to the horror of its owner.  The Shih Tzu didn’t blink and luckily Freddie was on “empty”. 

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Freddie’s Bio Page, Fabulous Felted Freddie, made with love by Lyn G.

It was painful to watch his deterioration and when he no longer could enjoy doggie things we tearfully made the decision to euthanize him.  To this very moment, I can’t stop crying when remembering . . . 

In December 2021 we decided to look for another rescue dog to adopt – a small dog with a small appetite and small poo.  In Orange County, CA, where we live, the shelters are all no-kill and we quickly found out that rescue foundations – both non-profit and for profit – “rescue” small dogs and the most adoptable from the public shelters to foster.  Consequently the public shelters are full of Pit Bull mixes and Great Danes.  (No disrespect to Pit Bulls and Great Danes)

“No matter how strong the measure of Divine grace, unless supplemented by personal, sustained and intelligent effort it cannot become fully effective and be of any real and abiding advantage.”

It took an inordinate amount of time, doing on-line searches and filling out many, many, MANY adoption applications. The applications were mind-bending, asking everything from the make and model of our cars, to:

  • Requiring the name of a co-adopter under the age of 60 (since we were over the age of 70) who would take the dog in the case of our demise.
  •  Asking what would happen to the dog if there was a divorce – I answered that I got the dog, the house and the money. 
  • Wanting descriptions of how a destructive dog would be disciplined.  I answered that the dog would sleep in the dog-house with my husband. 

When we received no responses, I  suspected  the rescue foundation members had no sense of humor . .  .  . more applications with very serious answer . . . still no responses.  It seemed we weren’t good candidates even though we have had 4 rescue dogs prior, our yard was fully dog-proofed and were willing to spend the $1000/year on care. Perhaps my reputation for levity had made the rounds.

After two-plus months of many applications and no responses we drove an hour and a half to the next county’s animal shelter where there were two small dogs among a throng of Bullmastiffs and Rottweilers.  No applications, first-come-first-served, pay the fee and no matter what your political leanings the dog is yours.

To protect me from Covid exposure my husband went into the shelter while I waited, sans mask, in the car.  He was told both small dogs were in the adjacent clinic to be spayed and one of the dogs had been adopted.  He could wait until the spaying was finished to see the remaining dog but there was no guarantee that it would still be available.  We paid the fee and were the proud parents of one small dog, sight unseen – only fair since the dog hadn’t seen us either – with no name, only a number.

We spent the next 4 1/2 hours in the parking lot, waiting for her recovery, reading the adoption papers and googling her FAS (Fear, anxiety, stress) scores.  Her high score of teeth bared and growling were more concerning than learning she was a stray who just had a litter of puppies.  She was ours.  Thankfully, she was subdued after having just gone through major surgery when she joined us in the car for the 1-1/2 hour ride to her new home.

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“The whole duty of man in this Day is to attain that share of the flood of graceI which God poureth forth for him. Let none, therefore, consider the largeness or smallness of the receptacle. The portion of some might lie in the palm of a man’s hand, the portion of others might fill a cup, and of others even a gallon-measure.”   Bahá’u’lláh, The Baha’i World Faith

Cute face peering out of a large collar, VERY scruffy, parts of coat shaven in places that did not indicate grooming for a dog show, large distended nipples, a tail that curls up on her back like a pug . . . we had just adopted a 17 pound 1 year old who was no virgin.  She didn’t smell good and per the post-spaying instructions there was to be no bath, no jumping for the next two weeks and wearing the collar 24/7.

The Good news:

  • She’s only growled at my husband twice.
  • She has completely bonded with me, like gorilla glue.
  • I cut off more of her dirty hair and she doesn’t smell quite as bad.
  • The collar doesn’t bother her at all
  • She’s an affectionate lap dog.

The Bad News:

  • She’s not house broken and is a stealth pee’er
  • She wakes me up at 4:00 am
  • She eats plants, preferably all the toxic ones which we’ve either removed or transplanted. 
  • She’s scared of anyone who don’t feed her regularly and let her sleep with them.
  • We haven’t done DNA although we suspect she’s part kangaroo as she takes standing leaps onto our laps and jumped over a fence more than three times her height . . . mountain goat is a possibility too.

Our biggest struggle was choosing the appropriate name.  I was partial to Schnapsie because she is a “hard licker”.  My grandfather made Schnaps (a strong alcoholic drink flavored with fruit or herbs and spices) from the fruit he grew so the name was nostalgic as well as descriptive.  My husband nixed Schnapsie as he was afraid people would mispronounce it, think she was a lush and give her a complex. 

She is now officially Gracie Westerfield

Grace’s meanings include charm, goodness, and generosity.

(We will patiently wait for her to grow into her name)

A little tribute to Gracie Allen –  (Grace Ethel Cecile Rosalie Allen was an American vaudevillian and comedian who became internationally famous as the zany partner and comic foil of husband George Burns)

A tiny bit of Greek goddesses (In Greek mythology, the name Grace is tied to beauty and joy.)

A small remembrance to all Gracie-dogs inspired by Karen Nichols’ beloved Gracie who passed last year.

and

A big reminder of God’s grace

“God’s grace is like the rain that cometh down from heaven: the water is not bounded by the limitations of form, yet on whatever place it poureth down, it taketh on limitations — dimensions, appearance, shape — according to the characteristics of that place. In a square pool, the water, previously unconfined, becometh a square; in a six-sided pool it becometh a hexagon, in an eight-sided pool an octagon, and so forth. The rain itself hath no geometry, no limits, no form, but it taketh on one form or another, according to the restrictions of its vessel. In the same way, the Holy Essence of the Lord God is boundless, immeasurable, but His graces and splendours become finite in the creatures, because of their limitations, wherefore the prayers of given persons will receive favourable answers in certain cases.”   The Baha’i World Faith

Freddie would have loved Gracie

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