I love my kids.

Yes, Bear’s exhibiting some challenging behavior right now, but overall they’re kind of awesome. Despite the occasional bickering or flat-out stupid fights, T-man and Bear actually like each other and have a lot of fun together.  I watch them have good days and bad days, and through it all I’m fairly certain that they’ll be blessed to have each other as friends when they’re adults.


I love my kids…but still, when the day is done and we’ve finished mediating the squabbles and navigating the hormonal waters and doing the day-to-day stuff of life, I breathe a sigh of relief when they’re finally settled into their rooms for the night.  Because hopefully that means BrightSide and I have some downtime together in our day.

Late evening is a peaceful time around here.  (And, seeing as I’m old and all, by “late evening” I mean 9:00pm  Don’t judge.)  We chill out and watch tv…maybe I’ll write while BrightSide plays Hearts on his phone.  The dogs usually crash because they’re tired from their day, too.

Sounds pretty nice, right?  Sometimes a kid will bounce out of their room because they “forgot something important,” but overall?  I can usually count on a few hours of serenity time.

But there’s one creature in this house capable of shattering that peace without a second thought.


The only fur baby we’ve had since she was a puppy, and the one who’s caused more trouble than all of our other dogs combined.

Gracie is a dog who’ll gleefully lick all the lotion off your legs or sniff out socks hidden in the family room’s shoe basket.  The canine with a stomach of steel (Thank God) that she isn’t afraid to use.  Our dog with no discernible moral compass when it comes to making mischief.

This is our Gracie.  And if I were a betting gal, she’s the one I’d put money on for wreaking havoc during the peaceful hours I look forward to all day.

There’s nothing like that moment when we’re sitting together quietly in the family room and hear something…well…not quite right.  You might not be able to put your finger on what it is right away, but you know it’s a sound that’s out of place.  And that usually means Gracie.

Episodes that have all actually happened during what are supposed to be the serenity hours in our home:

  • “What’s that noise?!”
  • Find Gracie standing on hind legs in kitchen, trapped, head shoved completely into flip top trash can.  (Note to self: really must replace that with a closed trash can.  Soon.)
  • Yank dog out and reprimand her firmly.


  • “What’s that noise?!  GRACIE?!
  • Hear loud thump of paws hitting floor in kitchen.
  • Find Gracie huddled under kitchen table, happily eating a paper towel/napkin/Ziploc bag/whatever random item she’s stolen off the counter.
  • Pry open mouth, remove (gross, soggy, dog drool covered) item, reprimand dog firmly.


  • “What’s that noise?”  Brow furrowed in concentration.
  • Realize Gracie is missing from the room then hear noises coming from kids’ bathroom.
  • Find Gracie contentedly chewing a roll of toilet paper.
  • Remove dog from bathroom.  Put her in backyard to prevent beating.


  • “What’s that noise?!”
  • Sit paralyzed at sound of scratching cardboard and chomping teeth.
  • Sprint to kitchen to find Gracie standing at stove, paws planted firmly on counter as she shoves open a pizza box with her nose and snarfs down our pizza.
  • Yelling is involved.  Much yelling.  Sometimes incoherent yelling.  Put Gracie in backyard to prevent bloodshed.


  • “What’s that noise?”  (pause)  “No, really, what’s that noise?!”
  • Listen intently to hone in on direction.  (Note to self: research whether it’s possible to Lojack the dog.)
  • Find Gracie in the kids’ bathroom, standing in tub, gnawing on a bar of Irish Spring soap.
  • BrightSide returns her to family room and invites me to smell her “minty fresh breath.”


Much like the kids, I love this dog.  I really do.

But there are days when the only possible explanation is that Gracie lives in an alternate universe.  One where this is her house and we happen to live in it, with our primary purpose being to provide a wide variety of items for her to steal.

If we haven’t broken her of this delusion in four years together, I’m seriously beginning to doubt our ability to ever tame this dog.

Heaven help us all.