Baby Grey’s best friend Gracie died a year ago, but the cat still visits their planned playdates.
Every day at the same time, Baby Grey will stray into the yard and stand by the sliding door, as though expecting her pal to hurry and meet her there. She waits there for anything between 20 and more minutes.
Gracie’s owner, Shea Belew Brennaman, a fourth-grade teacher in Decatur, Alabama, first noticed the mysterious cat visiting her yard two and a half years ago. “I think it lives two cul-de-sacs over from us and I don’t know its name,” Brennaman told The Dodo. “Me and my family just refer to it as Baby Grey.”
When Baby Grey first climbed into Brennaman’s fenced-in backyard, she was greeted by Gracie, a guard dog more interested in making friends than scaring off intruders.
“Gracie was an American Eskimo and stayed outside almost all the time,” Brennaman said. “She loved nature and, while she was a protector of our house, she loved all other animals and they loved her.”
Gracie had made friends with every animal that lived on her yard, including the hawks, chipmunks, and bunnies, and she was curious to find out more about the newest intruder.
Brennaman recalled that “Gracie welcomed her into our yard instantly and the two quickly became friends.”
Baby Grey’s visits increased in frequency over time. When her cat companion visited, Gracie was always a kind host; it appeared that the two animals had discovered a similar spirit in one another.
As tomatoes were Gracie’s favorite reward, Brennaman said that “we would leave Gracie tomatoes on our porch, and she would share them with the cat,” which was a big thing because Gracie was picky about who got what.
“They shared tomatoes and sunbathed together until Baby Grey started dropping by often,” she said. Their ultimate favorite hobby was sunbathing.
While Brennaman marveled at the animals’ close relationship, it seemed in keeping with the dog’s personality. Gracie would do anything for her friends and family — including saving Brennaman from a water moccasin attack when she was just an 8-month-old puppy.
“She had a sweet personality,” Brennaman noted. “[She] was a friend to all and was very motherly, especially to our Yorkie.”
Just after Gracie turned 12 years old, in late October 2017, Brennaman observed the dog was moving a lot more slowly. The cause was discovered after a trip to the veterinarian, multiple exams, and X-rays: Gracie had severe lymphoma.
Brennaman said that “Gracie spent the most of her last days on the chilly porch.” I believe that she felt some relief, but in actuality, she was bidding farewell to her home and to all of her neighborhood acquaintances.
And, sure enough, Baby Grey was there.
In her final days, “Baby Grey visited her numerous times, and while there was no tomato eating, the two just lay there to be with one other,” she continued. “They connected in a way where there was nothing to say or do. They only want one other’s company.
Gracie lost her battle with cancer in November 2017, less than a month after receiving the news. While the loss of the tiny dog has been difficult for everyone, Baby Grey appears to be handling her sorrow by keeping a particular type of vigil for her comrade.
Either that, or she doesn’t think the small puppy truly vanished.
Since Gracie’s passing, Baby Grey has visited our porch many times every week, according to Brennaman. She will initially approach the door quickly to check for Gracie. I don’t know how long she waits, but occasionally she waits for 20 minutes before leaving to go sit on the porch. Eventually, she lies down and takes a sunbath.
While Brennaman detests seeing Baby Grey suffer and has become accustomed to his frequent visits, she also finds some solace in them.
Baby Grey continuously searching for Gracie breaks my heart, but at the same time it gives me so much hope that these two creatures have such a close love, said Brennaman.
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