Gracie Elizabeth Niedzielski 2018-02-01


It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Gracie Elizabeth on Thursday, 1 February 2018. She fought a great battle for several months while maintaining her positive attitude and “everyone is my friend” mind-set. She was preceded in death by her pack mates: Kassie Jane Marie and Kodie. She is survived by Roscoe and Sweet Pea, the last of the pack, and her grieving parents.

Gracie arrived in our hearts via a re-homing from Caro, Michigan – land of the Flat Coated Retriever. Around 10 months old, she was a shiny black furry ball of friendliness – eager to play with any available toy. She was called Stormy at the time. But after an escape from her kennel where she went through our house like some fiend from a slasher movie – we renamed her Gracie Elizabeth. We wanted to promote dignity and proper behavior. Grace was after the Princess of Monaco and Elizabeth after Queen Elizabeth I. And the names worked! She became a model of good behavior and proper etiquette – to the point that she would not leave the house if it was raining!

Stories of Gracie are vast and varied. Her nickname “The Ambassador” was earned when a forlorn Anatolian Shepherd mix street pooch arrived to live with her family to recover from a gunshot wound inflicted by a neighbor. “Caroline”, (later to be shortened to Lina), was having a hard time assimilating to life in “the house.” She would lay, alone, by the back door and not engage with the other pack members. One day I found Lina lying on the rug by the kitchen sink. In a half circle in front of her were a variety of doggy toys with Gracie lying close by - pushing a tennis ball to Lina. It would bounce off Lina and roll back to Gracie – where she would push it back to Lina with her nose. She was very patient and eventually won Lina over.

Gracie also had the ability to “transport” herself out of her kennel. We would arrive home and find her resting peacefully in a sunbeam or on a piece of furniture (her slasher days being long gone). Her kennel would be sitting in one piece where we had left her in it. Nothing would be amiss. Door would be intact. Walls intact. Somehow this 70lb. dog had removed herself without inflicting any damage to her crate. Even when we began to push the door against the wall, she continued to escape its confines! This is a mystery only she knew how to explain.

Gracie could coo like a dove. Bark with a huge ball in her mouth. She knew how to Break Dance. Her fur was incredibly soft. She was quietly affectionate. Observant. Our daughter Andrea remarked that despite Gracie’s recent increased discomfort - she was always friendly and wagging her tail. She made no demands of us and was just happy being in our company.

My doggy-child Gracie taught me another dimension to compassion, patience and hope. She has inspired me in many ways. I didn’t teach her to be an Ambassador – I’m not sure that is something you can teach – that is a gift that, truly, comes from the heart. I think she had the “Heart of a Champion.”

She will be greatly missed. Rest in peace my darling doggy daughter.