A psychic named Lady Wonder once told me, "The number of dogs you will have will never end."

She was telling this to the person sitting across from her who at the time had 4 cats and no dogs.

She then said, "You will leave your job working with people (which at the time was with a major insurance company) and begin a job working with animals."

At that particular time in my life I had no plans and no desire whatsoever to change jobs.

Lady Wonder continued by saying, "You will develop an understanding of animals that most people do not and will not ever have." (This would probably be something that I inherited from my father.)

And for those of you who do not believe in psychics and the like, let me say that at the time, I did not either.

I thought to myself, "Well, that was  fifteen dollars down the drain."

A week later a co-worker gave us a pregnant dog who was in desperate need of a home. We named her Lady (after Lady Wonder) and she was part of the family for sixteen years.   Two weeks later I quit my job at the insurance company and became a vet tech with the Pleasant Garden Animal Hospital.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Even troubled dogs such as Gracie always managed to come around.

It was an early February morning and I was sitting in our den drinking coffee – staring at the phone when it rang.

On the line was my friend Sharon, who was and still is, the Executive Director of the Animal Rescue and Foster Program - a no-kill organization that rescues stray animals and places them in responsible homes. I say responsible because they believe in having a fenced back yard for dogs and cats must be kept indoors.

She began by saying, "I know you of all people do not need any additional family members. BUT - we have this very cute, very small mother dog that needs a home. We will find a home for her pups. But as you know, adult dogs are a lot harder to place. And to be honest she is very skittish so she needs someone who will give her a lot of love and attention."

At the time we had over 25 dogs in the family. But if the word no is in my vocabulary I don't know it or know how to use it. And I certainly couldn't say it when a homeless animal was involved.

I named her Gracie because she looked like a Gracie.

She never really liked being picked up and held or even petted. She would let us do it but you could see in her eyes she never really liked it.

I let her sleep on one of the pillows at the head of the bed and every night, just before lights out, I would say to her, "Say goodnight, Gracie," and she would yodel letting me know that everything was okay. It was her way of saying, "Thank you."

In her eighteen years with us it was a nightly occurrence.

The bedroom is silent now, but her pillow with her indentation remains at the head of the bed.

And every night, just before retiring, when all of the dogs have situated themselves around the bed, I look at them and I speak the nightly words, "Say goodnight, Gracie."

 

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