Monday, June 30, 2014


They were blurry and grainy, but these photos marked a specific moment in history: the point at which people stopped wondering if galloping horses ever brought all four feet off the ground at the same time.

I guess a photo doesn't have to be artful to be pivotal. In fact, I offer another blurry, grainy example in evidence:

Gracie's Photo

I suppose most people would glance at this photo and see nothing of note. A snapshot of a dog, like any one of a million other dogs. But when I bumbled upon this picture, something electrical grabbed me by the lapels and shook hard--which must be what Destiny feels like.

Let me back up. After months of reeling from the loss of our dog, Madeline, my fallow heart had started to revive--and was aching in that empty place that only a dog could fill.

I went online to and began looking at photos of adoptable dogs. After a few weeks I had looked at hundreds of dogs. Hundreds of sweet-looking, please-bring-me-home-faced dogs. But none of them seemed quite right, and I was beginning to think that I must not be ready for another pup in my life.

And then up popped this photo. A picture of a dog who in no way met my search criteria. I had selected: a golden retriever-mix puppy, 8 to10 weeks old, who would grow into a large-sized dog. Trying to stifle her laughter, Fate slipped me this poorly-shot photo of a 4-month-old German shepherd mix who would grow up to be only medium in size.

And I just had to have her.

I couldn't tell from the photo that she had crazy-soft fur, a missing tooth, and four dainty little feet. But I could see the lapel-clutching reality that Tab A of her soul would fit into Slot B of mine.

On a less cosmic level, I found the splash of white on her chin adorable, as if she'd just lifted her face from a bowl of breakfast cereal. So of course I thought that Captain Crunch would make a perfect name for her. Mark, however, couldn't quite agree, so we named her Gracie, which I suppose suits her better (though I still call her Crunchy sometimes when no one's listening).

And from the first day we brought her home, she seemed to feel the same connection to us.

Gracie Helping with Dishes

More than 10 years later, I look at Gracie, and I can still get teary-eyed with gratefulness for the way this kooky ol' Universe makes things right.

Today I'm going to remind myself to listen more carefully for other messages I know are out there for me.

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