Once upon a walk with our dog, Gracie, I noticed a couple stopped at a traffic light smiling and swooning over us.
By Jeanne Rollins
Once upon a walk with our dog, Gracie, I noticed a couple stopped at a traffic light smiling and swooning over us. Since I wasn’t a 5-year-old girl in a party dress, I assumed it was Gracie they were taken with and I was right. They rolled down the window and asked an unlikely question, “Can we have your dog?” I surprised and delighted them with an even less likely answer, “Actually, you can.”
The couple pulled into the parking lot at La Panetière and we exchanged information. I explained that our two rescue dogs had grown intolerant of one another. We didn’t know what went wrong, but a trail of trainers assured us that dogs communicate on a different level and ours had reached an unfortunate point of no return. I was convinced that Bella told Gracie she looked fat and, regardless, set out to find one of them a new home.
We never formally put either dog up for adoption since that would have required a photo, plea, and implied caption of “Unwanted.” We envisioned a better story for our dogs, one that would leave a smaller hole in our hearts when we said goodbye. We did our best to keep them apart and waited. After three years and two failed placements, it was on the corner of Milton and Oakland that Gracie’s story took a fairy tale turn and surpassed our wildest dreams.
Gracie’s knights in shining sedan turned out to be Hix Park neighbors with a long list of mutual friends. Over the next few days we found out as much as we could about one another and considered it to be a perfect match. Upon delivering Gracie I asked for clarification on their unlikely question, since people were finding my recounting of it hard to believe. The wife explained, “My husband asked the same question he’s asked every Yorkie owner since we lost ours, ‘Can we have your dog?’ You were the only one to say, ‘yes.’”
Gracie seemed instantly comfortable in her new home. Within ten minutes she had sniffed around and settled in. While her new parents offered us unlimited visitation, I planned to give it a month so they could bond. But three days later, Gracie and her new mommy stood in our driveway. Apparently all eight pounds of Gracie dragged her owner up the hill and around a few corners to our front door. After a quick reunion Gracie led us back to her new digs where I immediately spotted her throne: a sun-soaked perch on a knitted throw in a picture window with a harbor view. The word on the street was that Gracie traded up. After learning that she would summer in Amagansett, we couldn’t but agree.
As I walked away from this castle where Gracie was clearly queen, I knew that she came and went in our lives according to plan. I wondered if I had delivered Gracie or was it she who delivered me? I recognized her as a blessing that flowed through our family and into the next. My favorite bumper sticker caption came to mind: “Who Saved Who?” In this Cinderella story it seems we all saved one another. Given the cord of coincidences that drew us together, I think it’s safe to conclude that Gracie and Bella, each with a kingdom to rule, lived happily ever after.