Tribute: Heaven Can Wait

They say, “All Dogs Go to Heaven” but I’m starting to have my doubts.
By David Warren, October 2021, Updated November 2021
aussie dog

They say, “All Dogs Go to Heaven” but I’m starting to have my doubts.

The reason for this is our almost one-year-old puppy that we inappropriately named Gracie. She is a “Border Aussie” mix with Tasmanian Devil, Shark, Goat, and a bit of Cujo thrown in.

The day we brought Gracie home, she was shy, adorably scared, and docile…it was the most peaceful twenty-four hours we had with her. Since that time, she has been a full-time terror.

In the span of a few months, Gracie has bitten into a bottle of expensive perfume (she smelled like Chanel # 5 for a week), she’s eaten through 14 pairs of our underwear, several pairs of socks, two of my wife’s nightgowns, and part of my favorite T-shirt. She tore the wires off the motor of our electric lounge chair, smashed through our patio screen door, and gnarled the lenses out of our eyeglasses. (My wife insisted we needed new eyeglasses anyway). Then, God forbid, she bit into my new Jimmy Buffett CD—proving she’s a landshark!

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Jewelry isn’t safe. TV remotes have to be hidden. Slippers never survive … you get the picture. At least once an evening, our Gracie, aka The Terror, becomes a four-legged pinball and runs laps at full speed, ricocheting off chairs, recliners, our hallway bench, and more. When she does this, we duck and hold pillows out to shield our bodies. She flies at us with no regard for anyone’s safety.

Gracie has even figured out how to open and close the new screen door. She lets herself in and out. We put in a new fence so that Gracie could run off some of her energy, and Gracie promptly got her head stuck while trying to squeeze through it.

Every lunch and dinner, Gracie barks, begs and howls like she has never been fed. In fact, Gracie barks a lot. She barks at things both visible and invisible for no reason. Often Gracie’s favorite way to wake us up is to lick the back of our necks or bite a small chunk of our hair off (I’m getting older and really need my hair now).

I know what you’re thinking… This is not a great tribute to a dog. You are right—so far, it isn’t. But I forgot one thing, Gracie has a trait that overrides all of her destructive ones—she loves people. All people. She loves anyone who visits, our daughter, parents, friends, neighbors, contractors, repairmen, and believe it or not, Gracie even loves the Mailman!

Visitors fawn all over Gracie because she loves them so much. They all want to take her home with them. (At times, we’ve considered it.) Gracie hasn’t met a stranger that she doesn’t like. She doesn’t judge people, just loves them. This is the part of Gracie that justifies her name!

Thankfully, Gracie shows the most love to my wife and me. She follows us everywhere, always looks at us with adoring eyes, and greets us as if we have been gone a month if we just take the trash out. Gracie may not know how to behave yet, but she sure knows how to love!

Her tail constantly wags when we greet her, and it brings both of us a sense of comfort. She lays by us, watches TV with us, sits on a patio chair next to us, and she even tries to herd us.

Some days, when Gracie is extra rambunctious, it feels like we’ve had her for eight years instead of eight months. But when Gracie shows us how much love she has to give, I think to myself, what would life have been like if she had never come along. When the time comes (hopefully a long time from now), I’m not sure if Gracie will go to heaven—heck, I’m not even sure if I will—but I am sure that wherever Gracie ends up, she’ll deeply love whoever she is with!

Photo: Joanna Reichert / Pixabay

David Warren’s work has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Reader’s Digest, Guidepost, Country Magazine, Reminisce Grand Magazine and Beer Advocate.