Written by Cheryl Knapp
Remembering Our Amazing Girl, Gracie
Beefeater's Amazin' Grace of SBK, CGC, CD, CDX, UD, UDX
October 15, 1995-April 9, 2003
Sire: Ch. Beefeater's Nigel
Dam: Beefeater's Pollywog
Breeders: Laura Haney & Renee McCandlish
It was January, 1996. I had just lost one of my two Bulldogs, along with a litter of eight. My Sitting Bull “Kennel” was now down to one--the namesake, rockinghorse-riding, skateboarding “Rosie” of America’s Funniest fame. I called Laura Haney of Beefeater Bulldogs to ask if she might have a show quality bitch that would have potential for the obedience ring.”I have a very special little girl that I’d consider parting with to the right home,” was her reply. Gracie shared the same birthday as me and was nearly identical to the beautiful bitch we’d lost. I took her home and immediately began her training, with Rosie as mentor.
In support of our local Bulldog club’s obedience, she was entered in her first trial at just 10 months of age--and came home with the first of many High In Trial awards. Her second time out she was Reserve HIT at a large all-breed show and captured the heart of the local AKC rep, who loved to watch her perform. Total strangers knew her by name and loved to watch her prance up to ringside towing her cart, and cheer her on as she gave the Goldens a run for their money. “She’s amazing!” they’d say. Gracie made Bulldog history on September 22, 2001 when she became the first of her breed to complete the Utility Dog Excellent title.
Gracie memories still bring smiles to my face: her love of water compelling her to burst through the bathroom door and leap into the tub with our young sons; the curiosity she had with noises which inspired her tradition of ringing the bell that hung on the Christmas tree; returning from a sit/stay exercise at a show to see Gracie sitting statuesquely between six Golden Retrievers; or the day Gracie her way into my bedroom closet, nosed open the zipper on her bag of equipment and came dancing out to greet me with her favorite squeaky toy in her mouth--her face framed in the pink tutu that happened to be sitting on top! She loved getting her prizes and would leap up and grab the ribbon out of the judge’s hand (sometimes even before her number was called!)
Gracie was honored by being the cover dog for the March 2004 Bulldogger and has been inducted into the BCA Performance Hall of Fame. She was also featured in the December 2001 issue of Front & Finish magazine (see her article under “Pacific Northwest Natter” by Sue Cox) and her photo can be seen on the Front & Finish website.
My only regret was that Gracie, being “hormonally challenged”, had to be spayed and was unable to pursue her championship--like BIS, BISS Ch Beefeater’s Brass Knuckles--nor pass on her wonderful talent and looks. Much credit goes to Beefeater Bulldogs for breeding such quality, sound and standard dogs.
Once again at Christmastime we hear the familiar ringing of the bell on the tree--this time by Gracie’s grandniece, Chubbs. Maybe the legacy was passed on after all!