Saving Grace

The Next Family

By: Tanya Ward Goodman

So, we got a dog. We were moving slowly on the dog front last week. Just “putting it out there.” But when you have kids nothing moves slowly and exactly one week later, we have a dog.

First, my daughter lost her pet caterpillar. This particular critter was about the size of my pinkie fingernail and covered with black spikes. Sadie named it Scout and made it a home in a Mason jar. In only two days, they had established a deep connection. The tragic separation occurred when my daughter decided to climb a tree and “put Scout on a branch so he could get some fresh air and exercise.” In the midst of climbing the tree, Scout fell to the ground and was lost in the leaves. There was extreme anguish.

“He’ll be lonely,” she wailed. “He loved me,” she sobbed. “We have to have memorial.”

“But he’s not dead,” my husband said. “He might even be happy in the leaves.”

“He is not happy,” Sadie scowled.

After the memorial, my husband wondered if Sadie shouldn’t have a bigger pet, the kind of pet who doesn’t get lost between blades of grass.

We found the right dog at the Pasadena Humane Society. My husband likes the fact that she is small, but her legs are not short. Sadie likes her kind eyes and her pinkish toenails. My son likes her floppy ears and the fact that she rarely barks. I like the way she curls herself into a little ball and sleeps at my feet. In only three days, we have been entirely won over.

We held a family meeting to determine her name. I was a bit nervous (we have a hamster named Flowersheartsandstars), but after a few suggestions like “Chandelier” and “Poop,” my son said “How about Grace.”

My daughter replied, “Grace means peace. And that’s good.”

Grace. Peace. I’ll accept them where I find them.

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