She was with us for 15 years almost to the day. We had another dog, Bess, that came with us when we moved in here but she was a runner. As soon as she got about three steps on you, she'd bolt. One day she took off and made it the half mile to the highway before I could catch her. I managed to catch up with her right after she got hit in the head by a big RV bumper and died in my arms. Three weeks to the day later, I looked out the window and saw a dog that was the spittin' image of Bess out in front of the barn. It was pretty spooky. Gracie was just a big pup then - probably no more than about three months old - and probably had been dumped by somebody. The weather had been almost as hot as it has been here lately and the poor thing was just about used up. She laid under the porch for a few days doing nothing but drinking water and eating a little. Once she got back on her feed, we spent a lot of time together hiking around the area and running chores together in the truck.
She was a big, shaggy thing that didn't like being in the house. I fixed her up with a doghouse inside the old barn but if it was snowing out, she'd curl up and sleep next to the door with snow covering her back. When the old barn came down, I fixed her up with a lean-to with the dog house under it behind my machinery shed. Unless it was storming, she'd still sleep outside. When she was in the old barn I went out there one morning and Gracie was sound asleep and so was a coyote about three feet from her. Not much of a guard dog, but we loved her.