When Shea Belew Brennaman, a fourth-grade teacher social studies teacher from Alabama, lost the dog she had grown up with in November of 2017, she was heartbroken.
Her family got Gracie, a little white American Eskimo pup, when she was 11. The dog lived a good long life, passing away over a year after Brennaman finished college at Auburn University in 2016.
In a memorial post on her Instagram page, she said:
“I knew at the age of 11, when you were 8 months old and you saved my life from a water mocassin that you would be my very best friend. You were my pal during middle school, my rock in high school, my comfort in college, and in the last and most difficult year of my life you have been my constant. There are many days when I come home and feel like no other being in the world possibly understands me, but that was okay because you did. Today, I lost you, but I take comfort in knowing that one of God’s most amazing creations has returned to him. You are so loved, Gracie.”
But Brennaman wouldn’t be the only one to miss Gracie. As she told The Dodo, Gracie had a friend in the neighborhood cat. The pair had been playing together for over two years.
While the family didn’t know the cat’s name, they assumed it lived in one of the nearby neighborhoods and they came to refer to it as Baby Grey.
It turns out Gracie loved just about any animal that came into the yard and would happily play with squirrels and rabbits instead of trying to scare them off. But she had a special relationship with the cat that would climb over the fence and wait at the sliding glass door to play every day.
“Gracie accepted her into our yard immediately and the two became fast friends,” Brennaman said.
It’s been a year since Gracie passed away, but the cat still shows up at the door, waiting for her friend. The family said the cat will wait for 20 minutes or longer, hoping that Gracie will remember her.
And if you think cats and dogs can’t be friends and the two merely put up with each other, think again. Brennaman described their adorable and unusual friendship:
“We would leave Gracie tomatoes on our porch, as they were her favorite treat, and she would share them with the cat,” Brennaman said, “which was a huge deal because Gracie was very particular about sharing food.
When Baby Grey started coming over frequently the two of them shared tomatoes and sunbathed together,” she said. “Sunbathing was their absolute favorite activity.”
Even in Gracie’s final days, when she would simply lay on the cold porch to relieve her body of the pain from an aggressive lymphoma, the two were inseparable.
“Baby Grey came to see her several times in her last days and, while there was no tomato eating, the two just laid there to be with each other,” she added. “They had that kind of connection where nothing needed to be said or done. They just wanted to be with each other.”
While the cat’s constant vigil is heartbreaking, Brennaman finds their connection uplifting as well.
“It breaks my heart to see Baby Grey still looking for Gracie, but at the same time it gives me so much hope that these two animals had such a strong bond.”
After the story was published on The Dodo’s website, Brennaman thanked them on her Facebook page for telling her sweet story and mentioned that many people who had lost pets reached out to her.
“I’ve had so many people reach out to me today who have lost a pet tell me that this article helped them better cope. Gracie passed away a year and a half ago and while the pain eases with time, I know I will never be the same. She was like a soulmate to me.
Animals are so full of love, and to know Gracie was to love her. Anyone who met her over the years will say that. She was not only my best friend but was a best friend to many, and the void she left when she passed was huge and is still felt every single day.”
And, of course, the story of Gracie and “Baby Grey” has some important lessons for all of us. As Brennaman said:
“Animals like Gracie build friendships across species everyday and humans should do the same. Many lessons can be learned from Gracie’s and Baby Grey’s unique friendship. Love one another.”
Let’s hope Baby Grey’s owners eventually see the story and comfort their lonely cat.
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Source: The Dodo