8-23-15 Gracie

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July 23, 2008 – August 18, 2015.

In case you missed Wednesday’s post, we said goodbye to Gracie on Tuesday. This post is my tribute to her.


We adopted George and Gracie in December of 2008. Fred had recently built a big coop in the back forty, and we’d started losing chickens to hawks. We wanted dogs – a couple of them – to keep watch over the flock. The problem was that the rescues we contacted wanted something like $300 a dog, and also our assurance that they’d live in the house and be pampered forever. That wasn’t going to work for us, obviously, since if a dog was sacked out on the kitchen floor waiting for food to come their way, they wouldn’t be out protecting the flock.

I happened to pick up one of those free community newspapers at the grocery store one Sunday, and was looking through the ads when I spotted someone selling Great Pyrenees puppies. Fred called and talked to the guy – who was in Tennessee – and found that he was desperate to find a home for these puppies. They were eating him out of house and home!

It took very little discussion for us to decide that we wanted two of the puppies, and we arranged to meet the guy (and the puppies) in Tennessee.

And that’s how we came to have George and Gracie.

They’d been raised around kids and around chickens, and they were sweet and friendly, and immediately wanted to be friends. They especially thought Fred was AWESOME.

We’d only had them for a couple of days, and I was out at the coop gathering eggs. A man walked up to the fence, and I didn’t hear him until he said something. I jumped and gasped, and George and Gracie immediately got between me and the fence and barked their heads off at the guy (who only wanted to know if we’d sell him some chickens). They were protecting me, and they wouldn’t stop barking until the guy left.

It became clear pretty quickly that Gracie was the brains of the operation. She was always the first to notice a threat to her flock, to bark away any intruders, to spot and chase the planes and hot air balloons that flew overhead until they were no longer over the back forty, and no longer a threat.

She was so smart and had such a good heart. Every now and then she’d figure out how to get out of the back forty. She didn’t go far, because she wouldn’t leave George. We’d find her laying by the fence with George on the other side, and she’d happily go back in with her brother. It wasn’t that she wanted to be out of the back forty, I always figured, she just wanted to let us know that she could get out if she wanted.

At first, the pigs freaked her out a little. But once she got used to their presence, she considered them part of her flock as well, even though the pigs were closed in their own yard. I suspect that, given the chance, she would have loved to play with those pigs.

She loved to be petted, and she loved the occasional kiss on her snout. It was easy to get her to run with me – all I had to do was start running and yell “Come on, Gracie!”, and she’d race right by me, then stop short and grin at me while she waited for me to catch up.

What she loved the most, though, was harassing George. She’d get up in his space, dance around him, nip at his tail, and eventually he’d give in and chase her.

The few times we had a significant amount of snow (and yes, a “significant” amount of snow in Alabama is only a foot or two. People don’t move to Alabama because they’re hoping it’ll snow), Gracie was THRILLED. She loved to run through the snow, roll around in it, and sit with her nose buried in the snow like a polar bear.

She was just so GOOD – protected her flock, loved her brother and her humans and her treats. Everything she did, she did wholeheartedly. It’s so wrong to look out there and not see her so full of life and joy, bouncing around in greeting or racing across the field to check on a potential threat or something of interest. She was always so happy to see us coming, whether we had a treat for her or not.

She did her job incredibly well, and she loved it.

We had her cremated, and have ordered a stone with her name on it. Fred will lay the stone in the spot near the coop where she loved to sit and watch over her flock.

Good girl, Gracie. Good girl.


There’s an album of pictures of Gracie and her brother over at Flickr if you’d like to see them.

George seems to be dealing with Gracie’s absence okay. I think that the animals sense what’s going on long before the humans do, so perhaps her leaving us wasn’t a surprise to him. I know he must miss her in his own way, but we’re spending a lot of time with him, spoiling him rotten. I’ve suggested to Archie (who often accompanies us out to the back forty) that he befriend George. He doesn’t seem inclined to do that, but if I mention it often enough, maybe he’ll decide it’s a good idea. Stranger things have happened.


2014: No entry.
2013: Sweet rumpled little monkey girl.
2011: “Wush up, guysh?”
2010: I guess that toy knows who the boss is now!
2009: No entry.
2008: No entry.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



8-23-15 Gracie — 43 Comments

  1. Poor Gracie! RIP, dear girl. Hope George does ok after losing his buddy. Again, heartbroken for yall! Sniff!

  2. What an amazing tribute to Gracie. I’m so sorry you lost her so suddenly. *hugs* from me & my boys in Ga

  3. Oh Gracie, we will also miss your goofy grin and the pure joy that radiated from you in every picture we saw! Guard your new flock at The Bridge well, and try not to bark too much at the Angels flying overhead! <3

  4. thank you for this lovely tribute. What a beautiful dog – and OF COURSE she adored Fred – don’t all your little furry friends?? Remember her with joy and go well

  5. i so enjoyed reading this and I am heartbroken for you and Fred and George. There are no words that I can say to erase your pain so all I got is keep on keeping on.

  6. Such a beautiful beautiful girl, and such a happy life she had. I’m crying again…

  7. Many thanks for sharing Gracie with us and, infinitely more important, giving her a wonderful world and the ideal mix of love, work, and play at Crooked Acres.

  8. Beautiful, Robyn. <3 Gracie was obviously a good, happy, girl.

    Now to see who's been chopping all those onions – my sleeping husband or one of the cats?

  9. We are sending many wishes that this is the last tribute you have to write for a very long time. Mom loves to tell people about how George and Gracie protect their flock from marauding hot air balloons. And we didn’t realize she knew how to get out of the back 40….too funny.

  10. The way you write about your babies always brings a smile to my face. I admire you and Fred, you two live your life with such open hearts!

  11. Robyn and Fred, Thank you so much for sharing Gracie with us all. For sharing all of your Crooked Acres life. The ups and downs, joys and heartache we all are feeling the pain in your heart with all that you have endured recently. May you have more joys in the days that come than heartache. May God bless you and keep you safe.

  12. Beautiful Gracie, she had a lovely life with you. I wish your hearts may heal from all the stunning losses this year.

  13. Goodnight, Gracie. You were, are, and always will be so very loved. May there be fields of snow to romp in and hot air balloons to chase away over the bridge.

  14. Gracie had the life every Great Pyr dreams of, and no doubt, she is still running around and protecting her flock and her people. The love in her face for you both is so evident in every beautiful picture of her smiling up at the camera. Rest in peace sweet baby girl.

    Archie and George bro’ing together would make an epic sitcom.

  15. What a sweet girl. She was lucky to have you and Fred and I am tearing up all over again reading that tribute. ((hugs)) and again I am so sorry for your loss.

  16. What a beautiful, smart, sweet girl, who got to have one of the best dog lives I’ve ever heard about. I am so sorry. (((hugs)))

  17. A beautiful and moving tribute for a truly great girl.

    Oh, Gracie… I’m glad to have known you, if only from afar.

  18. What a good good girl! Dogs are so whole-hearted in everything they do. She had a lovely life with you and I’m so sorry about the way it came to an end. What a terrible year – I so hope the hard times have come to an end.

  19. of all the permanent residents at Crooked Acres, Gracie was my favorite. Such a beautiful and loving dog. That was a wonderful tribute, Robyn.

  20. Oh Robyn, you wrote about her so well. I second the wish from another commenter that you not need to write another tribute for a long, long time. So sad for you. What a lovely pup she was.

  21. I agree, as beautiful as the tributes to these beloved animals are, heartily hope that there’s a very long time before another. Thank you for sharing, so many lovely pictures of Gracie. Glad to hear that George is holding up so far.

  22. What a wonderful tribute to Gracie, friend and guardian! I hope you have solace in knowing you gave her a life of joy.

  23. What a lovely tribute to beautiful Gracie. Thank you for giving her a wonderful life and for sharing her with us.

  24. What a beautiful tribute. I actually smiled as I looked at all the beautiful pictures and read her story and how she touched each of you. R.I.P., dear Gracie. You will forever remain in our hearts!

  25. The photo of Fred holding Gracies head in in his hands and her looking up with total devotion is simply beautiful. Such a sweet lovely girl.

  26. As much as I love cats, there is just something special about dogs. They have such total devotion and love and are so free spirited and happy and they show it. Gracie lived so well and I know how badly she is missed.

  27. One of my favorite picture memories will always be Gracie chasing George around on dirt mountain. If ever two dogs personified joy, they would be George and Gracie. I’m so very glad Gracie got to spend her life at Crooked Acres.

  28. Good girl, indeed. She just radiates joy–how wonderful that she had such a happy life with you.

  29. Robyn, you and Fred have my deepest sympathies on the loss of Gracie. She was a lovely girl, a wonderful Guardian dog, and a good friend to all.

  30. I was at the dog park last week, and a Grand Pyr came bounding up to me to say hello. She looked so much like your pictures of Gracie that I started crying – it’s a tribute to your talents as a writer that I am so sad about a dog and cats I have never met.