Gracie was a deaf, half-blind, albino Great Dane, who was about to be euthanized by an irresponsible breeder, when Dan Dye came to her rescue. Dan's love and patience allowed Gracie to lead a full life, and in turn Gracie's spirited, unique way of approaching life gave Dan a new perspective too. He began to see the world through Gracie's eyes and appreciate it's wonders. When Gracie's health began to decline and she refused to eat, a veterinarian suggested that Dan cook for her. For a guy who could barely cook his own dinner, this was no easy task. Dan had no idea what he was doing, but his compassion for Gracie and her indomitable spirit, made him determined to try.......and he never gave up until Gracie was eating heartily again. The thought that what had worked for his dog might work for others, slowly sparked into flames, as the idea for a fresh dog food business was born. Through the hard work and determination of Dan and his best friend, Mark, Three Dog Bakery, the first bakery for dogs, became a reality. As always, Gracie was in the forefront of their successes, as the main "spokesdog" for the business and the primary inspiration behind it. Yet, Gracie never let fame and fortune go to her head, preferring instead to share her gentleness, courage and joy with everyone she met.
Amazing Gracie is an incredibly heartwarming story that made me laugh at Gracie's puppy antics, cheer at her and her humans' success in business, and cry buckets as Gracie's life on this mortal plane drew to a close. I can see why Gracie was such an inspiration to the authors of this story. She overcame the disabilities with which she was born and which nearly had her euthanized as a pup, to live a long and happy life. I truly commend Dan Dye for being up to the challenge, and for having the care and compassion to accept a dog like Gracie into his heart and his life. It is truly amazing how one person or creature can change the course of our lives, and Dan and Gracie did just that for each other. It was Gracie's health problems that started Dan and his best friend, Mark down the road of creating healthy, fresh food for dogs and founding Three Dog Bakery. This in turn has led to their phenomenal success in business and the culmination of a life-long dream of getting out of the rat race and working for themselves. It is likely that without Gracie, none of that would have been possible, which is truly "amazing".
As I read Amazing Gracie, I got the feeling that Gracie must have been one of the greatest dogs in the world, and her "sisters" Sarah and Dottie weren't so bad themselves.:-) The authors' love for all the dogs, but particularly Gracie, really shines through in the narrative. I loved the humor of the story, especially when they assign human interpretations to doggie behavior. It simply made me laugh out loud. Their writing style is light, breezy and easily accessible to readers of all ages. I would even recommend the book for kids as young as middle school. I also thoroughly enjoyed the whimsical illustrations that can be found every few pages throughout the book. I thought they gave it the warm feeling of a Hallmark card. Most of the story was full of fun and games and delightful smiles, but I will warn readers to have a box of tissues handy for the ending. Having been through almost exactly the same thing with my own dog, I felt like I completely understood Dan Dye's thoughts and feelings at that time and what Gracie was going through too. That final chapter was heartbreaking, but in a good way, as I feel that Gracie's spirit lives on in the daily lives of the two men she inspired to start Three Dog Bakery and the bakery itself, as well as the Gracie Foundation. I imagine that Gracie must have touched the lives of nearly everyone she met in much the same way that she touched mine through her story. I borrowed Amazing Gracie from the library, but will definitely be acquiring a copy of my own for my keeper shelf. In my opinion, this book is a must read for all dog and general animal lovers. My dog and I just might have to pay a visit to our local Three Dog Bakery soon.
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