January 31, 2012

Gracie & Cooper: a love story

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Once upon a time I dated a guy who had a dog.  That dog ended up knocked up with nine puppies, and I watched their birth on the evening of October 8th, 2005… the fall of my first semester in college.  Those births were amazing and disgusting and breathtaking all in one.

One of the puppies was Gracie.  She was third born and the first of only two girls, and as soon as I laid eyes on her I knew she was the puppy for me.  We bonded immediately, and my love for her has only grown every day since then.

2005_1016jenni0011 That ex boyfriend and I had two favorite puppies: Gracie and a little guy named Max.  Max was the sweetest and funniest puppy of all time, and while we gave away all of the other puppies, we couldn’t seem to give away Gracie, Max, or the sickly little runt of the litter we named Chance. 

So even though I wasn’t allowed to bring Gracie home with me (still lived with my Mom at the time), and even though the ex really couldn’t have any more dogs, we held onto these three puppies longer than we should have. And Gracie was the first to get sick.2006_0103puppiesetc20031It was New Year’s Day of 2006 when I took Gracie to the doggy emergency room and found out she had Parvo—because I didn’t get her shots soon enough. The vets told me Parvo is a deadly disease for dogs, and she probably wouldn’t make it even if they did everything they could to save her.  Then the vet asked me if she had littermates, and I told him about Max and Chance.  I learned that any un-vaccinated littermates would have the disease by now as well, even if they weren’t showing signs yet.

I was devastated. 

Essentially, I had to choose which puppy to save.  My ex was broke as a joke and I only had several thousand dollars of waiting tables money saved.  I couldn’t save all three, but a big chunk of my savings and 5 days of hospitalization later, Gracie survived.

Max and Chance passed before Gracie even came home from the hospital.  And every time I think of them I cry.

2006_0103puppiesetc20038^Max and Chance

2006_0103puppiesetc20034^Max the day he got sick. He was such a sweet little boy.

2006_0103puppiesetc20004^Gracie and Max (they were best buds) 

2006_0103puppiesetc20044copy ^Max and Chance

I could spend a lot more time describing just how horrible it was to lose those two sweet little ones, but this is meant to be a happy story, not a sad one.

So Gracie returned home at a mere 12 pounds—skin and bones, really, but she was alive!  And she continued to live with my ex while I still lived at home.  The mom dog had to be given away because she got really aggressive towards Gracie and other dogs in general (Gracie has a big scar between her eyes from where her mom bit her).

As time passed, though, Gracie became more and more neurotic when left alone.  She had severe separation anxiety, so whenever my ex or I left her, she would destroy everything in sight.  We decided to get her a “friend” in hopes this might help, and so began the search for the perfect addition to the pack.

About six animal shelters and a few days later, we wound up at one particular shelter after having looked at many dogs that didn’t seem like the right match for Gracie.  She is pretty dominant and we needed the perfect friend that wouldn’t try to be “alpha dog.”    So the ex and I were walking through the kennel, looking into the cages at the dogs, when suddenly I noticed that one of the kennel doors wasn’t shut all the way and the dog inside it was out and about to walk towards us! 

Nervously, I pointed to the dog and let the worker with us know that the dog was escaping! You just never know what the temperaments of these dogs are, and I didn’t feel like getting attacked. 

The worker put the dog back in his kennel and locked it securely, and we carried on looking at the dogs.  None of them stood out to me, though—except that one that got out. 

“Can we seem him?” I asked, pointing to “Kodak,” the black and white guy that nearly escaped when we arrived.

So the shelter worker put him on a leash and we followed her to the front.  She handed the leash to me, and I immediately sat down on the floor beside “Kodak” and began to pet him.

Instant love.  I knew immediately he was the one.  He literally collapsed into my lap as I pet him, like it was the best thing that had ever happened to him.

“We’ll take him!” I said. 

And a week later, after he was neutered, we did. We also found out he was 11 months old—the same exact age as Gracie. “Kodak” became “Cooper,” and we always commented about how much he looked like Max—such similar markings and close to how we thought Max would have looked when he grew up.  Plus, he and Gracie got along amazingly well.  They acted like old pals, and that was a pretty big deal since Gracie didn’t like most other dogs.

One day I was looking at pictures of all the puppies, and I commented to my ex that Cooper looked a whole lot like one of the other brothers we had named Oreo, but gave away fairly quickly.  “The markings all look so similar! Do you think this could somehow be the same dog?!”  I asked.

My ex said no.  He noticed that the ears were different colors than Cooper’s ears now, so we never really studied other markings.  Regardless, Cooper became one of the most loved dogs in the world, and Gracie’s best friend. It wasn’t until four years later that I discovered the truth.

Fast forward to 2010. Matthew and I were just married, and I was showing him pictures of all of Gracie’s brothers and sisters after they were born.  “Look how much this puppy looks like Cooper! It’s how I imagine he would have looked when he was a puppy!” I told Matthew.

He squinted at the screen and said, “Oh my gosh… are you sure that ISN’T Cooper?  He looks identical!”

“Nope… can’t be.  Look—the ears are different.”

“Well look at Gracie when she was a puppy! She had a white spot almost between her eyes, but when her head grew it ended up on the back of her neck! His ears could have changed!” And then we studied the rest of the markings—something I’d never done before. 

Every single one matched up, besides the ears.  Impossible!  It HAD to be the same dog!

  2005_1112puppiesetc0052

c7 

So all along, Cooper was Oreo, and Gracie's brother.  Now it makes perfect sense.  God sent me Cooper to replace my sweet boy Max, and to be the friend that Gracie needed.  I'm not sure how his previous owners could have possibly given him up, but their loss is my gain.  I adore him, and Gracie too.  Words can't even express how much--they've been with me through so much, and are always the brightest little spots in my life.

Funny how fate works out sometimes, eh? Here's a little tribute to Gracie and Cooper. Hope this love story made you smile!  It is 100% true. :)

104 comments:

  1. ugh i am such a sucker for a good dog story...i still cry about my dog in cali that i had to give up because i stayed here..kills me..im actually about to cry now..

    but this story is sooo so sweet and beautiful. i am living for the day i can get another pup..life is just not the same without em. truly.

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  2. I love this story. Absolutely love it.

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  3. Love this story :)

    Do you think Rocky and Tucker could be brothers in real life?! They are both special needs... ha!

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  4. Aw how adorable! and sad about Max and Chance too :(

    xoxo
    Petchie
    http://itsallofthelittlethings.blogspot.com/

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  5. Sooo cute!! That's probably why they get along soo well!!

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  6. sweetest story ive ever read. made me tear up. how lucky you guys were!!

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  7. That is absolutely amazing. What a great story. And isn't it funny to think that Gracie and Cooper could have known from the time they were reunited that they were related?

    Have you read "The Art of Racing In The Rain"? If you haven't - read it as soon as you possibly can. You'll love it. Promise.

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  8. Ah I love this. Almost made me cry! Thanks for sharing!!

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  9. what a beautiful story, i knew when you said they got along right away that it had to be a sibling! i am tearing up at work (in a good way!) :)

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  10. Omg that is crazy!! I absolutely love things this. Solidifies that there just has to be something more out there guiding us :) Thank you for making my day!

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  11. Such a crazy and amazing story. I have two dogs and they are the best. Having a dog just makes you a better person in so many ways :).

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  12. LoL your dogs are so humanlike they way they sleep in bed and cuddle up in blankets!!! Loved the video, the seem like the bestest of friends!

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  13. oh my goodness your story made me cry and smile at the same time! I love to think that He has a plan for everything and this was the perfect example!

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  14. Sweetest story ever! We almost lost our pup (also named Cooper) too and it was so hard, but we are grateful he made it thru.

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  15. Wow, what are the chances that you get a dog from the original litter and not know it at the time! That's great!

    Huckleberry also had a parvo scare the first week after he came home. The vet said the entire little (9 pups) probably caught the virus and it makes me so sad to think how many of them probably didn't make it. It was a really traumatic experience. So glad he survived! :)

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  16. OH my gosh how I love this. Beautiful!

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  17. This story brought tears to my eyes! How sweet!! Some things are just meant to be, I love it!!

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  18. This is one of the very best posts I have ever read. I am such an animal lover, this made me cry! You have such a talent for telling a heartfelt story!

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  19. Beautiful story. How wonderful that all turned out to be! What an incredible blessing. I got all teary eyed and everything.

    Makes me miss my Tucker dog! We left him state side with my parents when we got orders to Germany because he, like Gracie, has major anxiety problems. We were terrified of the stress a big move (and 9 hour plane ride) would put on his body. Choosing to leave him was the hardest decision my husband and I have ever made seeing as we've been Tuck's sole caregivers since we rescued him from an unfit home when he was 6 weeks old. I wrote a post about it last April. Literally ripped my heart apart. Still does. There's not a day that goes by that I don't miss him. And it breaks my heart to know that the next time we will be a complete family with him in our home again, he will be 7 years old. I don't like to think about the aging I see in his face when we talk to him though Skype sessions. Funny how an animal can become such an essential and fulfilling part of your life!

    I have to say, for some reason, seeing your sweet pups happy and playing in your photos reassures me that Tuck's probably doing the very same thing with his "Grandma & Grandpa" back home! We can't always control the circumstances life throws at us, but greater forces are definitely at work making sure that the well-being of our "fur-children" is just as secure as the well-being of our own hearts. That's evident in your story about Gracie & Cooper. Thank you for sharing, Jenni!

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  20. This is such an amazing story!

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  21. Yay, I'm so happy it ended up being Oreo! Do you think he came out of his cage to see you because he remembered you?

    http://bronsonbloopers.blogspot.com

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  22. Oh my goodness! This story is amazing and so sweet.

    Hugs and kisses to Gracie and Cooper!

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  23. The best love story I have ever read :)

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  24. Made me smile and cry.
    Makes me miss my dogs, ones who have gone and on that is still at my moms.
    I cannot wait to get a dog of my own soon.
    thanks for sharing such a loving story.
    http://inthekitchenandonthecouch.blogspot.com/

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  25. I can't get over how sweet this story is. It's like a Lifetime movie for pups. They were always meant to be together!!

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  26. Oh my gosh!!! SUCH an amazing story! He is absolutely the same dog - the markings are incredible. This whole post made me so emotional. Great story :-)

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  27. P.S. What font did you use for "Gracie & Cooper:" in the picture at the top?

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  28. What am amazing story!!!!

    Those two are so sweet :)
    I've always wondered about the siblings of Boots (my furball))...but unfortunatly the guy I got her from moved away and I don't know where they all went to....But I would so love to meet her sisters and brothers.

    I Love this story so much.....

    Words just can't describe the Love for ones dog, can it...

    Melanie

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  29. what a beautiful story jen! got a teary eyes a few times throughout it lol. love those dogs too!

    -kelly

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  30. Oh poor Max and Chance :( so glad this had a happy ending!

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  31. Such a sad and wonderful story all at the same time. It's crazy when things like this happen in life. Beautiful.

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  32. Seriously crazy that Oreo was Cooper. It was totally fate. I'm a sucker for a love story... even a puppy one! :)

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  33. I love the story... and the truth in it all... I think you should weave it into a children's book.... There is nothing like it. It's a simple story, full of love and joy! Try to get it published.

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  34. What a moving and beautiful story Jenni ! loved it. Hugs to Gracie and Cooper :)

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  35. So amazing that they were reunited :) Truly meant to be BFFs! And they're adorable to boot. I love that their personalities balance each other out.

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  36. I've always loved hearing this story! Our pup, Stella (who is a pit mix) also had Parvo as a puppy and almost died. And she seems to have major separation anxiety as well. I wonder if it has to do with spending time at the vet for so long, so young? Anyways, I can definitely relate to your love for your cuties! There's nothing else like it!

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  37. That is definitely the same dog, the spots on his back are exactly the same.

    The story made me cry and then the video made me laugh out loud while being teary at the same time. Fabulous post Jenni.
    xx

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  38. I am a sucker for happy dog stories. Just recently I had to separate my dogs because one had to stay with the step family and the other came with me. This was amazing and kind of gave me hope that maybe one day my dog will reunite with her brother.

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  39. Jenni! This story brought tears. Tears of sadness at first about Max and Chance and then happiness about little Cooper. Thanks for the emotional roller coaster this Tuesday morning! ;) Dogs really are the best creatures on this earth.

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  40. The first time I read this story on Lauren's blog my heart just melted, and reading it again reassures me that dreams really do come true!

    I can totally see it now. Gracie and Astro look so much alike. :)

    I can't remember if it was a blog post or an instagram picture, but you mentioned Gracie and Cooper and hoping not to find signs of age. Girl, that really got me stirred up about Astro. He'll be 7 this March and I'm so worried about losing him. If only our best friends could live forever…

    xoxo

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  41. This story was really really sad. But the ending totally made up for it - that is just incredible! Seriously, how awesome.

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  42. oh man, that is SOOooOooooOOooo incredible! I love it when you share these lovely stories with us. Makes my heart pitter patter

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  43. OH.my goodness! This story just made my day!! You HAVE to come read this post about my Brady versus Brody and how the Lord worked to heal my totally devastated heart.

    http://shuginboots.blogspot.com/2011/09/when-lord-closes-one-door.html

    I love how God works through animals! Love, love, love, love this post!!

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  44. Oh my goodness I LOVE this!! Love love love! How sweet. Whenever I see pictures of them it makes me smile to think that they are best buds and now I know they really are!

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  45. Crazy animal lady over here loved that story!! What a funny and wonderful world we live in :)

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  46. Jenni! This story is amazing!! I am in love with the fate of it all!

    -Lindsay

    Ps...Enter my MASSIVE Giveaway!
    http://lindzaynicole.blogspot.com/2012/01/because-i-love-you-giveaway.html

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  47. no way jose. thats crazy. and so sweet that you all ended up together again :)

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  48. aww! what an amazingly sweet story! it's a small world..even in dog world :)

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  49. It did make me smile, it' so sweet! I can't wait to have a dog of my own someday...

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  50. such an amazingly heartwarming and unbelievable tale of fate! i will definitely have my boyfriend read this. he loves a good dog story. and, he will probably end up reading it to our lab-weiler, Belle :)

    http://itslalalauren.blogspot.com/

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  51. Definitely gave me the chills!

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  52. What a lovely story! Thanks so much for sharing :)

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  53. Oh.my.gosh. This is the best story ever! I'm all wishy washy now!

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  54. Such a sweet story! I love seeing my pups together to. They def aren't related, but they're now BFFs after just a few months and they hate being away from each other.

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  55. OH MY GOSH I think I needed a little warning that I might tear up a little at this story - so heartbreaking at the start but so heartwarming at the end! Puppies are such little miracles :)

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  56. that is an amazing story! I mean....what are the odds?!

    very sweet!

    xo,
    ash

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  57. HOW SWEET. I love animals. I know they aren't people, and don't have human souls, but gosh darn it, God created them amazing. And He sure uses them in special special ways.

    Last summer I took in a little stray :) She was abused, full of ticks, and too scared to stand up for herself even to kittens. Now she's fat, happy, and actually looks people in the eyes.

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  58. This is such a great story! It was definitely fate - no doubt.

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  59. Such a sweet sweet story!!! I was crying it made me so sad & happy!

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  60. Aww you're story brought tears to my eyes (I'm such a softie!). I'm so happy Cooper made it back to his true home :)

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  61. Thank you! This made me SMILE! My Scully (schnauzer) is a rescue dog that I found on Petfinder one day when I was "just looking". Now 3 years later I'm so glad I did.

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  62. Aww. This is the sweetest story.

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  63. I love love love this story!! Such. sweet. pups. And yes, it did make me smile. God has a wonderful way of rekindling and renewing all situations. :)

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  64. That is such a sweet story! I love that they are brother and sister. No wonder they got along so well : ) how happy!

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  65. Jenni!! This had me all in tears! What a WONDERFUL story! Cooper knew you were at the shelter and was on his way to find you, I just know it. :) Happiest story ever!

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  66. OMG I cant believe how this ended! So nuts but oh so sweet. Our puggles had puppies last year and I cant imagine how hard it was to go through all of that. It was hard enough to let them all go. We ended up keeping the runt of the litter but 3 dogs was way too much so when we gave her to a friend it was so difficult. Your dogs are sooo cute, this story made my day!

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  67. I've read the story about Cooper and Gracie before, I think you posted it once, but it's still such a great story! It's pretty incredible how both Gracie and Cooper found each other again! Definitively makes you believe in fate.
    It's sad about those dogs you couldn't save though :9
    And those pictures of them as puppies!! Aww. So cute!!
    I need to get a dog in my life at some point. For sure.

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  68. oh hun you just made me cry :-(. i ammm so crazy over our dogs. I am such a believer that dogs make our lives better. this was one of my favorite posts you have ever done. i love their love story.


    what kind of program did you use to make this? I would love to make me and my sweetie something like this. it was perrrrfect!

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  69. This is such a sweet story... I am definitely tearing up! Glad you have so much fur love in your life - its the best!

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  70. This totally made me tear up! Diesel had parvo when he was a puppy, too! He barely made it...and he was really close to dying when I found him. He weighed FIVE pounds and was totally sickly...and then he just fit right into my life and started getting better!! So cool that G and C are long lost family!

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  71. This is seriously the most amazing story ever! I'm so glad they were able to be reunited! They're so lucky to have such a caring owner as well. :)

    xx Melina

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  72. REALLY????
    Ohmygosh.
    I'm so in love with this love story.
    God is good. :)

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  73. I love the video you made. I truly believe that our fur babies come into our lives {and each others} because they are meant to.

    I have two feline fur babies and adore them. I try to fight the crazy cat lady label {why is't there a crazy dog lady title out there? LOL } In the end I just embrace it because I love them dearly and couldn't be without.

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  74. What a sad (and sweet!) story! I always smile when I see photos of your doggies on here! :)

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  75. what a sweet, sad, and adorable story! love your doggies! i got my golden from a farm and 4 years later i wanted another and when i drove up i realized it was the same farm...so my dogs ended up being real brother and sister too!

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  76. This is such a cute story..sad, of course, but it is crazy how life brings things into our lives that we need...even if it is dog! They are precious.

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  77. such a sweet story and a little sad too. They remind me of my family's old dog Rex (he is now deceased.) He looked a lot like Gracie. What breed are they?

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  78. OMG it brought tears to my eyes! I love dogs! My little dog is like literally my baby. This was a wonderful story! Thanx for sharing! Such cute sweet pups you have.

    Natalie
    www.projectdowhatyoulove.wordpress.com

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  79. Oh my goodness! What a heart-warming story ... beautiful. Those are two amazingly special dogs!

    Big hugs to them from me!:)

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  80. How devastating to have sick puppies & to have to choose who to save. That makes me cry :( I couldn't do it. BUT what an awesome ending! That's SO, so cool!

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  81. That is absolutely AMAZING!!! I totally cried happy tears reading that. Animals...especially dogs, have a massive place in my heart. I just LOVE to hear happy stories!

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  82. This is so sweet! I'm so glad that Gracie got a brother to love again!

    Also - I love that our dogs have the same names. So random. :)

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  83. You hope this made me smile? Are you kidding? I'm grinning from ear to ear. This is the best little dog love story EVER! It's amazing!!! Gave me chills. What a sweet story!

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  84. i absolutely adore this story! thanks for making me smile a bunch :)

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  85. What an amazing story! They are adorable!

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  86. I love, love, love this story. We rescued our dog as a puppy and I immediately melted into a giant pool of crazy dog lady. Interestingly, had this been about humans, I probably wouldn't have cared!

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  87. OMG! This is so crazy that Oreo & Cooper ended up being the same dog! How the world works in mysterious ways:)

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  88. This made me cry! My sweet puppy Charlie (now 3 years old) was diagnosed with parvo when he was 6 weeks old, only a couple days after we brought him home. He was sick for 8 days, we had even been called in the day before Easter to say goodbye to him because he wasn't going to make it until that evening. The vet was closed Easter day, but that evening a vet called us to tell us that somehow Charlie as recovered! He was eating and everything. We got to bring him home the next day :) We still call him out little miracle puppy. I think it's so amazing how God works through dogs to reach us!

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  89. Oh my goodness, this is such a cool story. I love stories about where people's pets come from, and this one is extra special. No wonder they acted like old pals. :)

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  90. Thank you so much for sharing this love story... it's beautiful! and I teared up just by reading this. I am so glad that Gracie found a best buddy, and whom you picked up from the shelter not know that "Kodak" is actually "Oreo". That is crazy!
    You are incredibly lucky to have two beautiful dogs. This post kind of makes me want to own a big dog now hhhmm... Good one J!

    Have a great weekend! Kisses to Gracie and Cooper!

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  91. I'm sorry about Max & Chance but you must know that they are in doggy heaven watching over you guys. Such a beautiful ending that brother and sis are reaunited! Gracie & Cooper Love it! <3 <3 xo

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  92. What an amazing story! It's incredible that Oreo/Cooper found his way back into Gracie's life again :)

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  93. Wow, this really brought a tear to my eye. I have two terrors myself and I know how awful it would be to choose so brave! But on a happy note what a beautiful ending, sometimes they just choose you at those dogs homes! Lovin' your blog by the way! Lisa xx

    http://lisaseaside.blogspot.co.uk/

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  94. Jenni, I'm sobbing over this right now. I can't even tell you how much joy this post brought me. How I missed reading this, I have no idea since I've been reading your blog for about a year now. So glad you posted this link under today's post, because this just brought me extreme happiness. What a crazy thing that y'all found Gracie's brother!
    The day we adopted our little Rayne, we could not take her sister, and it kills me to this day not to know what eveer happened to her. This gave me hope that maybe we've even crossed paths with her and just didn't know it. I just love this story, it's amazing!

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  95. What a great story!! I love that you rescue dogs instead of getting them from breeders. One of the first posts I read on here was about the puppy you got and found a new home for where you talked about getting a shelter dog for your next one. As an (occasional) fosterer, I love that you go shelter. :)

    Have you read A Dog's Purpose?? Such a GREAT read for all dog lovers out there. Lots of laughing and crying, but so, so sweet.

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  96. This is absolutely adorable (except the sad part, of course)

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