When I was a kid I wanted a chocolate lab so bad I couldn't stand it. My parents wouldn't let me have one because they knew I'd never take care of it. Well, when I was 17, right before Christmas, I got in the shower and when I got out there was the cutest black lab puppy sitting in a box in my room. (imagine a really cute picture of a black lab puppy) I was smitten from the get go. My aunt got her for me and my mom was less than thrilled. I'm pretty sure I spent all my Christmas money that year on Gracie. I was 17 and had no idea what I was getting myself into. I don't remember much about her as a puppy. I think she slept in a crate in my room. I don't know what she did while I was at school. I do know that she was always waiting on me when I got home from school. In fact, when she was about 5 months old, she was so excited for us to get home from school she came barreling down the driveway at the same time as I was turning to go up the driveway and we collided. I panicked. She ran off wimpering. I was hysterical. I tried to call my mom on my cellphone from the driveway and luckily my little brother (who was around 11 at the time and had the most level head and handled the whole situation) was coming in the back door at the same time I called so my mom knew we were ok. We took her to the vet. Her leg was broken but because it was so close to her growth plate we had to see a specialist. You can imagine how expensive that was. She had a cast on her leg and I'd have to wrap a grocery sack around it every time I took her out.
(I'm going to have to dig out some cute puppy pictures to add here)
My first year of college she had to stay home with my parents because I lived in the dorm. I missed her. She was always so happy to see me when I came home.
She came to live with me my sophomore year when I lived in a house. The first tailgate party we hosted happened to fall around my aunt's birthday. Gracie was never to be left in the house loose alone. Well everyone got a ticket to the game last minute and the last person out left Gracie in the house. When I got back there was cake and icing everywhere. She had gotten the birthday cake off the table and had her own little party. She was so bad. She would get food off the counter all the time. Once she got chicken fingers out of the toaster oven while they were cooking. That's talent.
She loved the lake. She would swim out and try to get on your float with you. Most people hated that. When we would all go out to ski or tube, I never could go right in front of the house because she would swim out and chase me. I think the lake was one of her favorite places.