On Sunday, May 26, the other shoe fell. After receiving a clean bill of health from her vet just three days earlier, our beloved Gracie suddenly crossed the Rainbow Bridge. She was lethargic, slept most of the day, and began bleeding in the late afternoon. Dot rushed her to an emergency vet, but she died on the way. It was doubly unexpected — Gracie, our retired champion who had just turned 15, came from a strong lifeline.
We’ve decided that Gracie was the victim of an undetectable colon or intestinal cancer. Such a condition is not unknown. Recognizing a cause, however, did very little to salve the uncontrollable grief that Dot felt – and I shared. Gracie was the closest to the center of Dot’s heart. Willie also died quite unexpectedly in 2010; the pair joined our family within a couple of months of each other in 2007, and they constituted Dot’s team, while Ted and Allie were my team.
Dot was dangerously depressed. Without letting her know, I sent an urgent plea to six of my closest Schipperke “resources” – rescuers and breeders alike. Within 48 hours, I was blessed with an offer of another champion in search of a retirement home. Melody – CH Sheradin’s Summer Rhapsody – was a month short of seven. She was infertile, and Diane Harris, her breeder, felt she would be much happier in a smaller Schip environment.
There were more surprises:
Tanner was a very successful champion from Tom and Carol Luke’s kennel in Illinois. Tanner was Gracie’s father — and Melody’s great- grandfather!
Diane’s beloved Thumper was a renowned champion until his death at 18 in 2010. Thumper was Gracie’s step-brother – and Melody’s grandfather!
So you can see why we had extra hope that Melody could significantly ease Dot’s pain. On June 9, she drove to Tennessee to bring Melody to her new home. They bonded quickly and have continued to do so.
We continue to openly adore Gracie and all the others who’ve gone before us. She is aboard on our bedroom dresser — along with Barnacle, Teddy, Serena and Willie — in their tiny boxes, each topped with a Schip angel.