About a Dog – Craziest story ever…

Back before my Buddy Cuddle days (our current dog) when I was fresh out of highschool and living on my own in an apartment for the first time, I decided I needed a vicious attack dog.

Not just any viscous attack dog, but one that could also pass for a cat, because my building didn’t allow dogs. I’m not sure why my 18 year old self thought I could pass a dog off as a cat, but let’s not dwell on my ridiculousness. Enter my fluffy 5 lb pomeranian Gracie, or G-face as her friends called her, or Ghost Face Killa as I called her when there was a creepy noise in the hall. As in (loudly) “C’mon Ghost Face Killa lets go see what that scary noise is in the hall, it better not be a robber/axe murderer cuz you will rip their face off right???” I’m not sure the logic behind this one as she was clearly a cat, ahem…at least as far as my building manager was concerned.

She had some pretty major issues when I adopted her, as she had been rescued from a puppy mill and never touched by a human in her life. It took her about a week to voluntarily come out of her kennel on her own, even when I was armed with a side of bacon. She finally warmed up to me and became velcroed to my side, my permanent little lap warmer.

Just so you get the level of her devotion to me I should mention I was dating the Mr. and this point, so she saw a lot of him and it wasn’t til about 3 years later when we were 6 months into marriage that she finally begrudgingly accepted him and would sit on his lap from time to time.

Sidenote: you may be wondering how I passed her off as a cat, she actually used a litter box! She was terrified of the snow, because the puppy mill was in Georgia where I’m sure she didn’t see much of the white stuff. I got her January, so I gave the litter box thing a try. The sound of her own bark scared her as well that first year, so she was pretty much in stealth cat mode already.

Ok now that you have some background on Gracie, it’s time for the craziest story you ever heard…

I was working in an office part time and my coworkers and I decided we should all submit our dogs photos to the Dog Fancy Day by Day Calendar. My friend had one on her desk and it’s filled with reader photo submissions. Clearly Gracie was the cutest dog/cat ever, so I had the utmost confidence that we would soon be world famous.

Months went by and my coworker got a letter in the mail along with the new edition of the Dog Fancy calendar that her dog had made it in!


I could believe it because her dog was awesome, but the rest of us were totally ready to boycott Dog Fancy’s offices with signs like “Down with Dog Fancy” and “It’s a Ruff life, let our dogs in!”.

Ok, so, maybe this was just me, but I was pretty bummed!

Fast forward now with me 4 years later….

The Mr. and I were now married and living in Des Moines, Iowa. It was summer, July 28 to be exact and he was out to lunch with his coworkers. They had walked to a vietnamese restaurant called ADong that he hadn’t been to before (any Iowans out there, is ADong still around?). As he went up to the counter to pay for his lunch he noticed a little day by day calendar sitting by the register (!). He glanced at it when he noticed that it was a photo of a Pomeranian (!) and said “Hey this dog looks like my dog” as his coworkers were all like huh cool.

He then picked up the calendar and noticed the dog’s name was Gracie.

This is when he was really stumped.

He kept reading and there was my name right underneath!!


Now the Mr. was freaking out! “Like holy cow this is actually my dog!!”

“Guys this is my dog, on a calendar, inside a vietnamese restaurant!! What is going on?!”

I think he was scaring the poor woman at the register who didn’t speak any english. He kept asking her if he could take the calendar page and she just wanted him to pay for his lunch. :)

After he finally paid, he just ripped the page off the calendar as he left the restaurant while the poor confused woman just stared at him.

He then calls me at home practically shouting at me saying “You are never going to believe this! Gracie is downtown at ADongs!!”

Which had me frantically searching our house for Gracie yelling “WHAT? She ran away?” only to find her asleep on top of the warm laundry I was folding.

So, somehow Dog Fancy recognized the cuteness of my sweet Gracie and held onto her photo for 4 years! They couldn’t notify me and send me my free calendar, because at that point the Mr. and I had already moved 4 times.

I never would have know of her glory and fame if the Mr. hadn’t somehow walked into that vietnamese restaurant on that exact day and spotted the calendar sitting on the register!

Is that not the craziest thing you have ever heard?

My mom had her page framed for me for Christmas and it still cracks me up every time I see it.

A screen shot of a small dog

Wasn’t she just the cutest?

Unfortunately you can all maybe imagine what happened 6 months later when a certain bouncing drooling baby girl showed up at our house. Gracie was none too accepting of the new stranger who was permanently attached to my side and it was the saddest thing for me. She was almost 10 years old and had tried to bite our 6 month old daughter, so we had to put her to sleep. It broke my heart.

She will always be my first randomly almost famous, axe murderer scaring, favorite dog/cat ever.

Just don’t tell Buddy…

PS I know it has been quiet over here this week, but I’m working on a huge DIY project that has been taking over my life, I’m hoping to share it next week! So, excuse the random dog post, I will be back to my regularly scheduled programming next week ;)

PPS I was looking back for more photos of Gracie, but had a hard time finding any since this was all before the days of camera phones, but I did come across this gem of Buddy when he was still a puppy…bahahaha!

A dog lying on the floor


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  1. I’m new to your blog and have been thoroughly enjoying going through your archives. I came upon this incredible story and plan to show it to my Mr. whom I’m sure will find it just as incredible. Regarding the decision you had to make, I wanted to share with you that our family had to make a similar decision with a lhasa apso I had while growing up. He would bite without provocation, sometimes just while petting him. Despite his small size, he inflicted real damage. Your job as mother is to protect your child, period. Most dog bites to children come from the family dog. Gracie was a “one person” kind of dog and it would have been heartbreaking for her to be taken from the only home and only mom she ever knew. The vet made the right call. We always adopt rescues (we have an older rescue Yorkie right now). You gave this dog a chance and a beautiful life she wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for your kind heart.

  2. Poor Kelly, I totally understand your story, speaking of little Gracie and her temperament. I am the owner of a little shadow named Lola. She loves to bark and act tough, just like your Gracie did. I think it is in some Pom’s nature to have that demeanor. Little Lola was originally my daughter’s, until she came to be a nuisance to her boyfriend and just didn’t blend well with him either. I had taken care of her (early Nonni training) when they would be out on outings, so yes, I became attached to her..as much as she me. I couldn’t see them getting rid of her, hence how she came to be my little shadow. :) She follows me every second..Ugh! I know it is hard to put an animal down. I have been there. How heartwarming to know you gave Gracie so much love. Sweet memories of the same joy that came back to you in abundance. Oh the excitement, of her making her little mark in this world. Calendar girl! Our real babies are most important and their safety is foremost. I don’t question the Vet’s suggestion and your decision. You did what you felt was right for your baby’s safety and situation. Who’s to say, if you could have placed her, that she would have had such a loving environment that you had given her when you took her on. She might have been tormented or miserable in the later of her life, once again…. No judgement here, Kelly. <3

  3. Oh Kelly! I so remember this! Good times!!! I tried so hard to get Gracie to like me…but she just wasn’t having any of it.
    Thanks for the journey down memory lane!!

  4. What a neat story! How exciting that your pup was a calendar girl.
    Also wanted to say that we had to have the vet put our dog down last spring and it is such a heart-wrenching decision. This is a prefect stranger’s opinion, but for what it’s worth, I think it sounds like you did the right thing for Gracie.

  5. Kelly,
    You crack me up. Every. Single. Time!
    As far as me, I call your husband finding Gracie on that calendar, a God moment!


  6. Such a fun story! awww cute little doggie. I’m sorry you had to put her down…what a tough decision. : ( what patience you had with her. : )

  7. Oh little Grace-Face. I remember when she half-bonded with me when you were on your honeymoon. I swear one night she allowed her fur to touch my toes at the end of the bed.

    1. I think she had a special spot in her tiny heart for you Meg! It helps that you are blonde and her eyesight was poor…ha :)

  8. I can see why people give up their blogs. Any comment you make may get negative feedback even just saying you put a dog to sleep. What is more important the safety of your child or a dog? Plus it had bitten a baby why would anyone want to take it if she had tried to give it to them. Jeez stop the judgement of other people. If you want to look at this blog or others keep your nasty comments to yourself. The people doing these blogs don’t need you making them feel bad. EWW put a dog to sleep?? its frickin 10 years old and a nutcase to begin with. NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. Why cant people just be nice to others??

    1. Thanks Marilyn, it is hard sometimes to read comments that you disagree with but you take the good with the bad I guess. Thanks so much for being understanding and always being encouraging to me!

    2. Kelly,
      You did put yourself out there telling this story. While it is a nice story, it does prick those of us who love our animals. Pam, I too would have to be a mama bear if people were saying hurtful things to my child, but I don’t think they are. They’re just wondering if an alternative solution could have been found. Kelly left some holes in the story that you plugged. Marilyn, I am most concerned over your remarks. Very biting to say the least. I am a mother AND a dog rescuer. I run a rescue for former pet owners that find that they cannot fulfill the obligation they made when taking in an animal. No one should keep a dangerous animal but many dog owners who own older dogs or who adopt them at an older age can add years not only to their own lives but to those of the animal. No one wishes any animal to suffer any longer than God intended them to show us their love and trust here on earth, but please do not judge that just because Gracie was ten, it was that fact that made Kelly put her to sleep. I am sure Kelly did this with a very heavy heart. Please be kind. Kelly you gave Gracie a great life. Rest with that knowledge.

  9. Fun story! I live near Des Moines and, yes, A Dong is still there and still a very popular, highly rated restaurant.

  10. Great story Kel! ! Puts the definition of a coincidence to a whole new level! It was crazy that Dan would walk into that restaurant THE day Gracie was the featured dog. Gracie lived a wonderful life with you after being rescued, and was one of the most pampered loved dogs on the planet. She would have been miserable and aggressive if placed somewhere else. Her seizures were getting worse and she was having bladder problems, and many health issues. It takes a very loving dog owner to decide and follow thru the decision to humanely put a loved pet to sleep, when it comes to their quality of life. I know what a wonderful home you provided for Gracie. You did the absolutely right thing for your family but most of all for Gracie. Excuse me but my mother bear is coming out for people being judgemental without understanding the entire scenario.

  11. I liked the story till you decided to have her put to sleep. Would have been more humane to find her a new home. Ew!

    1. I already posted this in reply to another comment, but I’ll post it again for you so maybe you can understand a bit –
      Actually our vet would not allow me to find a new home for her, because she had bit my daughter in the face once and tried to go after her again. Also the vet said it was the more humane thing to do because she was terrified of everyone but my husband and I. In his opinion she would never bond to another family and I agreed with him. Especially since she took 4 years to bond to my husband. She also suffered from seizures and some other health conditions and probably only had a year or so of her life left. It was a heartbreaking decision that I did not make lightly and ultimately the vet made for me because he said he would have to report the biting if I decided not to put her to sleep.

  12. Don’t want to put a damper on your story but couldn’t you have found a nice home for Gracie. She had at least five more years of her life left to live. Sad story not crazy.

    1. Actually our vet would not allow me to find a new home for her, because she had bit my daughter in the face once and tried to go after her again. Also the vet said it was the more humane thing to do because she was terrified of everyone but my husband and I. In his opinion she would never bond to another family and I agreed with him. Especially since she took 4 years to bond to my husband. She also suffered from seizures and some other health conditions and probably only had a year or so of her life left. It was a heartbreaking decision that I did not make lightly and ultimately the vet made for me because he said he would have to report the biting if I decided not to put her to sleep.

  13. What a terrific story…Serendipity is funny like that! Looking forward to hearing all about your big project…no doubt it’ll be amazing!

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