For Gracie: Godspeed, Tiny Puppy
December 26, 2012

If we’re connected on any social network, you know by now that we lost one of our four dogs on Christmas Day. We’re not really sure what happened, but the best guess is that she had an illness we didn’t know about and just found a place in my mom’s back yard to curl up and die. We found her on Christmas morning, after combing the neighborhood for hours on Christmas Eve, thinking she had simply gotten out of the yard.

She was a tiny teacup chihuahua that we discovered at a gas station in Bald Knob, Arkansas in the summer of 2009. On our way home from a lake trip, we stopped for gas. The moment Sara Ann got out of the car, she spied a woman and her daughter with six small puppies in a laundry basket. They were giving them away free. Jim saw them at about the same time and called out to Sara Ann, “Don’t look at the puppies … ” But it was too late.

Bringing her home from the Bald Knob gas station
Bringing her home from the Bald Knob gas station

It was hard to imagine how tiny she was when she first came to us. At her first vet visit, she weighted .8 lbs.

In Sara Ann's shoe box
In Sara Ann’s shoe box
Sara Ann loved her dearly
Sara Ann loved her dearly, as we all did.

She loved to curl up in our laundry room, in this laundry basket that had a cozy blanket in it. It took her a few months to be able to get in and out of the basket, but she finally figured out to do it.

Here she is napping on Ethan’s lap with her sister Layla in my mom’s office

I’ll never forget the way she wanted to be held, with her head in the crook of my arm and my hand cradling her tiny butt. She’d lie still forever in that position, as if she could stay there forever. When I worked in my home office, she’d sit on my legs and curl up between my legs and the desk. We would laugh at the way she ran on those tiny legs, more like a rabbit hop than a running dog, and how she would bark just like the big dogs at anyone who entered our house. We always thought she fancied herself a terrifying watchdog.

She was not terribly well-behaved or well-trained; she didn’t come when we called her unless she felt like it, and never really got the hang of doing her doggy business outdoors. She was so tiny and cute it didn’t matter much, so we let her slide. I’d like to think that we gave her a life filled with love and comfort and that she died knowing how dear she was to all of us.

It’s been a long time since I’ve lost a pet, and it’s already been harder than I remember. I’ll never forget the look of utter devastation on Sara Ann’s face when she found Gracie in the yard. Seeing a child in pain will wrench a mother’s gut. I held her as she sobbed and I watched as Elizabeth and Jim rushed to comfort her.

I believe God always sends us a ray of beauty in the midst of pain. Elizabeth and Jim gathered Gracie up, wrapped her and placed her in a box and we buried her near where we found her in my mom’s yard. Though it was freezing cold, we all stood by while Jim dug a grave for her and lowered her into the ground. We held and comforted one another as a family and, though it’s hard for her to tolerate the cold at 77, my mom stood with us the entire time.

The outpouring of love and support we’ve all received on our social networks has been a comfort and solace to us on a day that should have been filled with laughter, joy and celebration. In a sense, it was. I think Sara Ann summed it all up well with these two tweets.

Still shocked & broken hearted over the loss of my most favorite two pound pup. Miss her like crazy already.

— Sara Ann Sanders (@SaraAnnSanders) December 26, 2012

But you know what, at the end of the day, I’m blessed. It’s been a sad, tough day, but I have a supportive family to be thankful for.

— Sara Ann Sanders (@SaraAnnSanders) December 26, 2012

Thanks, all, for you thoughts, prayers, kind words and support. It’s meant a lot.

Godspeed, tiny puppy. You were loved well and you are missed dearly. Rest in peace.


  1. beth g sanders

    Thank you, Carolyn. It’s been a hard Christmas. Ready for a new year. 🙂

  2. Carolyn Bahm

    Awwww. I didn’t know your little pup, but I’ve got a lump in my throat, reading this. So sorry. I am *certain* she knew she was loved, though!

  3. beth g sanders

    Thanks so much, Alys. That means so much. We miss her terribly.

  4. Alys Drake

    Sweet, sweet Gracie. I never met you but knew you through your mom. I was even your Facebook friend and I loved you. Godspeed indeed, sweet pup. You were loved.


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