Gracie, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel whose rescue from a puppy mill was chronicled in the book Saving Gracie (Wiley; 2010), died yesterday after suffering complications from an inoperable tumor in her throat.
The black and white dog was 10 years old and practically blind, but had spent the last four years of her life in a loving home with her devoted companion, Linda Jackson, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania.
Before her rescue, Gracie spent six years confined to a cage giving birth to puppies at a kennel in Oxford, Pennsylvania. She was removed along with 336 other dogs during a raid on the kennel in 2006. The breeder, Michael Wolf, was convicted of animal cruelty, fined and and forced to give up his dogs. After spending five months in a shelter in Reading, Pennsylvania, Gracie was adopted out to Jackson, a single mother of three who bonded instantly with the frightened and ailing dog. Over time Gracie regained her health, except for her eyesight, and learned to accept the human kindness she had earlier been denied.
Gracie’s story touched the lives of thousands of readers, many of whom were unaware of the atrocities of large-volume commercial dog-breeding. ”Puppy mills need to be regulated. Puppy mills need to be overseen. But more than that, puppy mills need to be closed down and done away with,” one reader, Jeannie Rogers, wrote.
Gracie was euthanized at the family home. She is survived by her adopter, Linda; Linda’s children Ryan, Erika and Julia; and two other former breeding Cavaliers, Jackie and Molly.