Goodbye Grrtie

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Yesterday my sister said goodbye to her best friend of more than 14 years. She adopted Grrtie, a beagle mix, from a rescue agency.  Gertie (as she was called then) had mothered 9 puppies who were all adopted and she was awaiting her forever home.  She found it with my sister, Angie. They were fast friends immediately. Angie changed the spelling of her name when she would respond to hugs with a low and gentle…”Grrrrrr”.

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Grrtie & Angie at Keawakapu Beach


Angie took Grrtie everywhere.  When she moved from Chicago to Maui, so did Grrtie.  When she moved to Boston several years after that, so did Grrtie.  Not many dogs have frolicked in the waves of both the Pacific and the Atlantic. She was a real beach babe.  She loved making nests in the warm sand, and digging up hidden ‘treasures’ humans had left behind. Everyone loved Grrtie-she was incredibly loveable!

Every day they would take walks together, if not on a beach, on a city sidewalk, or a neighborhood park.  “Grrtie, walk?”  would get her prancing around like a puppy.

IMG_0518They helped each other through some tough times and were constant companions.  In the last several months, as Grrtie’s 17 years were taking it’s toll, my sister (and her equally caring husband), went to extraordinary lengths to make their friend’s life as healthy, comfortable, and enjoyable as possible.  I never saw a more devoted friendship.  With loving kindness she made the most heart- wrenching decision this past Saturday, as Grrtie stopped eating and had trouble walking.

She got her some palliative meds to make her comfortable, scheduled a vet to come to her home on Monday, and spent the next day and a half pampering, cuddling, and loving on her baby.  My other sister spent the night on Saturday, getting in her love and goodbyes. If it hadn’t been my daughter’s last dance competition I would have eagerly joined them. She made Grrtie’s last days so beautiful. She even spent Sunday night curled up on the floor next to her.

IMG_6866I know it took courage to hold and kiss Grrtie as she slipped away.  It took courage and compassion to make the decision.  It took kindness and selflessness to make her last day so special.  She saved Grrtie’s life fourteen years ago. She saved Grrtie from suffering yesterday.  My sister is my hero. Goodbye Grrtie.  Thank you for being my sister’s best friend.  Our lives are all richer for having you in it.

9 thoughts on “Goodbye Grrtie

  1. Grrtie is a beautiful companion. Animals hold a special place in my heart, especially ones from a shelter. Saying goodbye is difficult. This post is a touching tribute to Grrtie and your sister.

  2. A beautiful post. Our pets become a part of the family (even extended family) and saying goodbye with grace is difficult. Your sister did this. I hope she will find comfort in the days ahead knowing she did all she could for Grrtie.

  3. Good thing I haven’t put my make up on yet. This was so beautiful! I love my dog so much – totally crazy but they do become our best friends! Hugs to you and your sister. Thank you for sharing.

  4. A beautiful tribute. It is so hard to say good-bye; we had to do so a year ago. I haven’t yet been able to say yes to the kids’ requests for a new dog. It isn’t because I don’t want another companion for them, but more because the saying good-bye part is too difficult.

  5. It is so hard to make that decision. We have had to make it several times for some of our cats. Our furry friends depend on us to know when it is time to let go. The love pets give is unconditional. I believe that mine are all waiting for me at the bridge as Grrtie will wait for your sister.

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