Amazing Gracie settles in at Almost Heaven Ranch - Dr. Marty Becker

Amazing Gracie settles in at Almost Heaven Ranch

Tuesday, Jan 25th, 2011 | By Dr. Marty Becker

Folks, I’m just so in love with my little Amazing Gracie I’m probably going to embarrass myself in this post. But I can’t help it.

In case you don’t remember, we adopted Gracie on Christmas Day from Second Chance Animal Adoption in our hometown of Bonners Ferry. Mikkel told the “love at first sight” story already, but I can tell you, it’s gone on to be a real “Love Story” for all of us — well, except maybe for Quora, but my theory is that she’ll come around soon.

I like to think I’m Gracie’s new best friend, and when she’s cuddling in my lap and wriggling and moaning as I give her a full body massage, I probably am. Her rear legs have some kind of deformity, and regular massage helps keep them limber.

But I have to admit, she might possibly love our Golden Retriever, Shakira, best of all. And playing, running and rough-housing with Shakira is probably the best therapy for her hind legs, too.

Quixote gets in on the action sometimes, but Shakira and Gracie can play for hours out in the snow on Almost Heaven Ranch.

Gracie spent her whole life since puppyhood in a shelter — they gave me this photo of her, taken on admission — so this is her first experience of being a beloved family pet. I’m so glad Shakira’s here to show her how it’s done!

But I’m sharing a lot of “firsts” with Gracie, too. Just today she tasted an apple I took up to the barn for the horse and went wild for its sweet flavor. She followed me up the steep stairs to the hay loft of the barn but after she made her passes around looking for kibble the cats have spilled, she walked over to the stairs and presented herself for me to pack down (I worry about her going down with those bad rear wheels) the to the ground.

Don’t tell the other dogs (or Teresa or Mikkel, for that matter), but when I give all the dogs a treat every morning, I give Gracie two. Okay, three. I figure she needs lots of spoiling if she’s ever going to catch up.

It snowed hard this weekend, and I got a real kick out of how she goes on her walks with her head down, lapping up snow — something I guess she never got to taste during her life in the shelter.

But our Gracie is an “all-seasons” kind of gal. She loves to lie out in the sun on the grassy area under a big pine tree. No matter how clean the shelter, or well-run, or how loving the people there, there’s nothing to compare with fresh air, sunshine, lots of exercise, and being part of a family!

Gracie’s been playing so much, in fact, that I’ve started her on Rimadyl. And despite the extra treats, I’m making sure she stays lean, to keep her rear legs from carrying any more weight than they have to. After we’ve gotten her loved up and muscled up, we’re going to take her to Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine for a complete checkup, and to see if surgery might not be helpful to her.

So that’s it. I’m in love, and our Gracie’s a real part of the family now. I just couldn’t love her more, and encourage all my readers to consider giving a second chance to one of the amazing dogs in shelters everywhere — even if I did already get the best one!