Gracie Saves the Day

gracie-saves-meThis week I was happy that I have a dog. Happy to have an excuse to take a walk and go up to the dog run. Dogs don’t think you are a freak. Dogs don’t need to talk everything out. I would say that dogs are simple, but Gracie is quirky. I’ve had her for over six years, and I still think of her as my “new” dog. I’ve watched Gracie, I’ve studied her, I’ve paid a lot of attention to her. I don’t completely get her. We are not a perfect match; but we are good enough.

Gracie is a black border collie mix. Her face is hard to read. I’ve learned to watch her ears. She has beautiful soft fluffy ears that usually fly at half mast. When they are relaxed and bouncy, she is content. When they are laid back flat against her head, she is happy. When they swivel sideways, she is tentative. When they perk up, she is alert or anxious. When they perk up and the tips fold over and point rigidly forward then she is about to do something that I will regret. I try to correct her before she reacts. Sometimes she is too fast for me.

My first dog, Lena, developed good manners and street smarts. Gracie still acts like a rural rube. Gracie does not differentiate between people who are odd and people who might actually be a threat. She wants to bark at construction workers carrying tool boxes, homeless people looking for cans to redeem, and runners in spandex tights. She will obey me if I tell her ahead of time to hush, but she may have a histrionic outburst if I am not paying attention or if I don’t see it coming.

I’ve made a lot of apologies on her behalf. I’m one of those dog owners who says “sorry, she’s really not a bad dog” after Gracie has, without warning, lunged like a lunatic or barked her head off. Sometimes she embarrasses me. I get over it as soon as she rubs up against me.

Lena was happy if one part of her body touched one part of mine. She’d curl up with me on the couch, put her head on my leg, and let me read in peace. Gracie likes to come up on the couch, but she insists that I put my book down. She gets annoyed If I pet her with one hand and read with the other. I have to focus on her, admire her, service her. She is into mindfulness. She does not like me to multi-task. I don’t read as much as I used to.

Gracie is perfectly content in her body. She knows what she likes. She has soft belly hair and tiny nipples. We both like it when I stroke her belly from her vulva to her chest, stopping for a light scratch at the top. She lies still, eyes closed, mouth open. When I stop, she squirms and sneezes. taps her tail against the cushion, and waves her paws in the air; she wants more. She is a pleasure hound. I continue to pet her. I forget about reading. My brain quiets down. I lose track of the time, my sadness, my dysphoria. We are both mesmerized. A boy and her dog.

 

12 thoughts on “Gracie Saves the Day

  1. Alex

    Sweet story, pets can be such a good distraction… Gracie reminds me of a certain femme I was involved in, especially the part about the admiring and the servicing 🙂 sounds very familiar!

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      Gracie is definitely femme (and straight/cisgender when it comes to other dogs). The polite thing about dogs is that they never tell you about their ex’s or who they used to live with, and they don’t mind if you do the same thing every time you get into bed with them.

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  2. Peter James Webster

    Gracie sounds a lot like Wylie…Wylie is a cat who thinks he’s a dog. Loves the belly rub…doesn’t bark but can sure meow a mean streak when he wants your attention. Even plays fetch once in a while. Great story!

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      Thanks. I can always count on unconditional love from Gracie and long as I give her walks, treats, and belly rubs (not a bad tradeoff all things considered).

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  3. hiddeninyoursoul

    Gracie has a few traits similar to my dog, Harry. I’m pretty sure he’s mostly border collie too (I think, he was a stray so I’m not sure of his exact lineage). This post made me smile because Harry doesn’t care if I am a guy or girl or somewhere in between, as long as I love him, he loves me back.

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  4. Jamie Ray Post author

    Exactly. Gracie was adopted, and they told me she part flat coated labrador retriever. This may explain why she is black – but she won’t retrieve anything she can’t eat, and she hates going in the water. Her body and body language are all border collie, but I’d have to do a DNA test to find out the truth, and I’d rather make it up.

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      1. Jamie Ray Post author

        Adoption agencies always use the most placid breed descriptions for their dogs to entice people like me to adopt them. Border Collies have a deserved reputation for being high strung and intense. Gracie is all ears and belly.

        There is a dog at my run who is made out of spare parts – he has a huge Lab head stuck on a Basset Hound body and then someone spray painted him chocolate brown. Funny looking pup.

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  5. Georgeann

    So great! Gracie sounds like my yellow monster, Ross. He has barking Tourette Syndrome and likes to poop on the neighbors’ lawns. Even though he is 85 pounds, he thinks he is a lap dog and insists on snuggling on the couch. But he will follow me and my husband all over the place and push at our hands until we scratch his ears. I can’t imagine life without a companion like a dog! On a side note, I love your couch — cool upholstery!

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  6. timethief

    I have three dogs and each one is a character. Two out of three are lively, bold and self entertaining. When time to hang out with me happens they demand eye contact and perpetual stroking. The third dog will allow me to pet her with one hand and read with the other. All three dogs love it when I sing. One makes strange sounds in an attempt to mimic me while she dances on her hind legs. My boy sings right along with me as though he’s Pavarotti. My second little lady likes me to sing only lullabies and rock her while I do. My life wouldn’t be the same without them loving me unconditionally and that’s why I will never be dog-free.

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