Amazing Gracie: A Dog's Tale

Amazing Gracie: A Dog's Tale

by Dan Dye, Mark Beckloff


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780761119371
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date: 09/28/2000
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.32(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: 1010L (what's this?)

About the Author

Mark Beckloff is a co-founder of Three Dog Bakery and co-author of Short Tails and Treats from Three Dog Bakery and Three Dog Bakery Cookbook. He and Dan Dye live with their dogs Claire, Dottie Mae, and Joe in Kansas City, Missouri.

Dan Dye is a co-founder of Three Dog Bakery and co-author of Short Tails and Treats from Three Dog Bakery and Three Dog Bakery Cookbook. He and Mark Beckloff live with their dogs Claire, Dottie Mae, and Joe in Kansas City, Missouri.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Blue is a nice word for how I felt. I must have looked like a cliché of mourning: gray late-November Sunday afternoon, me in raggedy sweats and a two-day beard, slumped down in a Sears Barca-Lounger that looked almost as good as it had the day I rescued it from a Dumpster my freshman year in college. All I needed was a half-empty bottle of whiskey, a crow on my shoulder, and an ashtray full of unfiltered cigarette stubs to finish the picture: Man Grieving Lost Loved One. It didn't make it any easier that the loved one was my childhood best friend of eighteen years-my dog, Blue. The phone could ring all day; I just sat and stared at it. I wasn't trying to avoid people. I just didn't have anything to say. Except to Blue. And she couldn't hear me anymore.

There aren't any diplomats or charm school graduates among my friends and family members, so their attempts to comfort me about Blue usually had the opposite effect. "She's probably happier now" was a favorite, along with "you can always get another one"-though nothing could top "thank God it was only a dog!" Only two people managed not to make me feel worse. One was Anne, my friend and fellow copywriter at Midwestern Company, who had lost her beloved golden retriever, Arthur, only a few months earlier. The other was Mark, my best friend, new housemate, future business partner, and generally the soul of good sense, skepticism, and bad taste.

Mark Beckloff and I had just gone in on a house together, a dilapidated "mansion" on Holmes Street in the heart of Kansas City. We planned to fix it up and sell it for a cool profit that would let us bankroll our business idea-as soon as we came up with one. For now it was our home until we did well enough to live somewhere else, or one of us pulled a Double Indemnity on the other-something I almost never considered. Blue's passing hadn't left us entirely dogless, because there were still Sarah and Dottie, aka "the girls," Mark's canine contribution to the household. He likes to think he's their human companion. Reality check: The girls are Mark's proud owners. Sarah's a two-year-old black Lab mix who's always in a good mood, especially when she's eating something Mark has to wear the next day. Dottie is an uncontrollable force of nature in the deceptive form of a year-old Dalmatian. Dottie wreaks havoc when she's in a good mood; only her spots keep people from mistaking her for a tornado.

Sarah, Dottie, Mark, and Anne gave me the most valuable gifts you can offer someone who's grieving: solitude and, occasionally, quiet company. Then one frigid morning a few weeks later, Anne added another great gift to quiet caring: distraction.

It was one of those bitter late-January days when you start wondering if a foot of snow might take the edge off the cold, and Anne, who always says her blood is too thin for Missouri winters, came into the office looking unseasonably happy. The fun-loving, energetic mom of two kids, Anne has the kind of call-'em-like-I-see-'em honesty that people associate with Harry S. Truman, who came from the same hometown. She's also a former prom queen with a way of flirting that always reminds me of a waitress in a greasy spoon-you know she doesn't mean it seriously, but it still makes you feel special. And once in a blue moon I get the eerie feeling she can read my mind.

I was a little suspicious about her good mood despite the single-digit temperature, and asked what was up. "Nothing!" she said brightly. How was her weekend? "Fine!" When I finally demanded to know what was going on, she pretended to be indignant: "Can't a gal be happy for no particular reason? Is there a law against being happy around here?" I knew better than to keep trying and went back to my work, which was just as well since we were up against a tight deadline on a new print-ad campaign for the Oh, So Delicioso! account.

They were expanding their "authentic sauces" line beyond "a bit o' Italy in every drop!" to "a bit o' Spain" and "a bit o' the Orient." Anne guessed that the company's authenticity experts must have logged grueling months of fieldwork in taco-terias and chop suey joints across the Midwest. (Market research had just told us that our leading contenders, "Oh-so es buen-o!" and "Ah, so-it's Oh-so!" didn't have the authentic foreign feel so prized by regular consumers of exotic canned goods.)

Anne left for lunch with a breezy "later, handsome!" but more than an hour later she wasn't back yet. I ran out to grab a slice at La Pizzateria Rusticana.

When I got back I found Anne crouched under her desk. I was just starting to think that the pressure of the Oh-So account had finally pushed her over the edge when she stood up, staggering under the weight of what looked like a small pony. She was beaming at the creature in her arms: a puppy. A squirmy and, for the moment, little Great Dane named Merlin.

He was a funny-looking guy, blue merle coated except for his cocoa brown eyes and the dark mask around his mouth that looked like a purple puppy version of Fred Flintstone's five o'clock shadow. His ears had just been cropped, and they were taped flat over his head with a bandage that reminded me of the bonnet on Whistler's mother. The way he was squirming around, you would have thought Anne had doused his fur with itching powder. Everything tickled him-if a puppy could laugh, Merlin had a case of the giggles. As it was Anne was doing enough giggling for the two of them, dropping barmaid lines like "baby, where ya been all my life?" in her husky alto. It was as if someone had taken my mature, wisecracking, accomplished colleague and replaced her with a wisecracking seven-year-old girl. If Merlin had been a man, I'd have worried about the spell he was casting on her, but it's hard to doubt the intentions of a puppy. Watching them, the Oh-So deadline vanished.

He wasn't even two months old and there wasn't much dog body to speak of yet, but he was bursting with puppy energy, all excited about being alive. As I cradled him in my arms, all the wonderful things I missed about Blue melded into one amazing and ineffable force I felt thrumping away in Merlin's heart-dog spirit. I wondered if I'd ever feel that force in my own life again.

Anne was transformed. Every day for the rest of the week she came in bubbling with stories and Polaroids of Merlin in action-getting a bath, wrestling with the dirty laundry, gnawing on his own tail, eating, sleeping, breathing . . . The temperature hadn't clawed its way above the twenty-degree mark in five days but Honolulu Annie hadn't even mentioned it, let alone taken personal offense the way she usually did. The reason was obviously Merlin. I could see how cute he was, and how much joy he gave her ("Yeah, yeah, yeah. Right in the middle of the rug. Adorable."), but by the end of the week I realized that I just wasn't sharing her joy. I was starting to narrow my eyes and grit my teeth whenever I saw her smiling. It was a subtle change, but she picked up on it.

"Something bothering you, hon?"

"Ha. Me, bothered? Never."

"You sure about that?"


"Maybe something you can't put into words?"

"Look," I snapped. "If something was going on in my subconscious, don't you think I'd know about it?"

"Hmm. Well, let me know if anything does bother you, okay?"

Not likely. I felt the way you do when your best friend falls in love, and suddenly the running buddy who gave you all that no-strings attention is focusing the spotlight on someone else-in this case, someone who generally has his face in a bowl of soggy kibble. Merlin was a walking reminder of everything about Blue that was gone. It seemed like everyone I knew had a dog, and they were all so darn happy about it. I couldn't even get away from it at home, since Mark had the girls, who might as well have been his shadows the way they stuck to his side. (Of course, real shadows don't shed, or beg for treats whenever you're cooking.) The girls were great in their way, especially if you have a soft spot for hyperactive narcissistic adolescent canine maniacs-which the historical record seems to suggest I do. And even though Sarah and Dottie hung out with me more and more, I could never shake the thought that they weren't Blue, and they weren't technically mine, even if we were living under the same leaky roof.

At the stroke of noon, my phone rang. "Listen, Dan, I hate to bother you..." It was Anne, calling from the other side of the office."...but I have a problem, and I really need your help."

I turned halfway around to look at her, but kept talking into the phone. "What kind of problem?"

"Well," she said, with a serious look. "It's Merlin's sister. She needs our help!"

It sounded like a call from the Justice League. I tried to swivel all the way around but ended up dropping the phone on my foot. "Oww-Merlin has a sister?"

Five minutes later we were in my car.

Table of Contents

Foreword (vii)

1. Kansas City Blues (1)

2. Finding Grace (9)

3. Here Comes Trouble (17)

4. Little Miracle (29)

5. Smell the Flowers (35)

6. Sister Trouble (43)

7. First Love (71)

8. The Gracious Gourmet (93)

9. My First Christmas (109)

10. Auld Lang Syne (121)

11. A Bakery for Dogs? (135)

12. GracieAs Prime Time (181)

13. Motherly Grace (217)

14. Goodnight, Gracie (235)

Epilogue (247)

Customer Reviews

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Amazing Gracie: A Dog's Tale 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
TheDivineOomba on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I nice little book about the Great Dane that inspired a business. Not overly sweet, but quite endearing. Nicely written. A bit fluffy, but cute.
anmlaw6 More than 1 year ago
A fabulous story of love, loyalty, and a once-in-a-lifetime relationship. The story of Gracie, a Great Dane who was on the brink of being put down because she was deaf and blind in one eye, and her human companions; this story is touching for anyone who has ever had the special relationship with a canine friend. The love that these guys had for this little girl; their dedication to make food that she would eat...and that was good for her. I laughed at many of Gracie's antics and cried at the love they shared. I do not have a Great Dane; however, I am a Dachshund mom and I understand the joy that dogs can bring into a person's life. Do not miss this is a memorable story of love!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would give this book 10 stars if I could! My 7-year-old daughter and I read it together and we laughed out loud at some of Gracie's exploits (for those who've read the book, picture the limo and the pill-box hat...). What a sweet, amazing dog. And, what fabulous parents to save her from the horrible breeding conditions she was is, to adapt their lives to accommodate her 'handicaps', to hide her indiscretions so that she could have a friend, and to try every cookie recipe they could find to get the girl to eat. This book not only shows us the love these men have for their dog, but also teaches us about Gracie's unending capacity for unconditional love. You'll laugh a lot, but I warn you -- get the big box of tissues for the last chapter. You will need it. Read this book! And read it to your kids.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gracie is the sweetest dog ever! I love her because her personality resembles my bloodhound's personality. I love all the little stunts she pulls. The end is so sad! But despite the ending, I love this book. I gave it to my friend to borrow, and she became obsessed with Gracie. I reccomend this book to all dog lovers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a MUST READ for dog lovers! It is a cute story! I really enjoyed reading it. Once I picked it up I couldn't put it down! If you have ever had a dog you can relate to this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am so lucky that I picked up 'Amazing Gracie'. I was actually looking for another book when I stumbled across it in paperback. I could not put the book down. I couldn't believe how the book pulled me into their world. After I finished the book and wiped away the tears, my girlfriend read the book and asked to loan it to her sister. Everyone has loved the book. I will be giving the book out as gifts, because I feel everyone should experience this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a great real life story of a deaf great dane. I love this book and think everyone should read it especially anyone who believes deaf dogs shouldn't be aloud to live. This book shows the amazing relationship between a man and his dog.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dan Dye and Mark Bekloff's story of their three canine ladies will have you absolutely mezmerized and not able to put 'Amazing Gracie' down until the very last page. Their story- Gracie's story, will not only entertain you, but inspire you, and once you've finished, you may realize the world as you view it is a little nicer, warmer, and more enlightened than before you began the book. Truly a MUST read for any pet lover, or anyone who has ever dreamed of finding unconditional love. These two very talented entrepreneurs and their family of dogs will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you want to run right out and buy this book for every dog owner you know! My highest recommendations.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book I could never stop readin it! It is the and will always be the best book ever! I can not explain how much I loved it!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I sat down with this book in the bookstore intending to only skim it to see what it was about.....and found myself reading every word and laughing at loud. I was so moved by the story of how Dan first saw Gracie, and ended up reading it aloud in the bookstore to my mother and fiance. My mother bought the book for me so we could leave and I didn't put it down until I finished it. It made me laugh and cry at the same time. The author has a wonderful way with words and a very personable writing style. It made me cherish the time I spend with my own dog and realize how important she is to my own happiness. This is definitely worth reading, especially with a dog curled up next to you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book truely touched my heart! i loved this book! Gracie, Sarah and Dottie are 3 of the most adorable doggies to write about! I live in KC and Three Dog Bakery is huge here! my dogs love the treats:) It was a huge treat to actually be able to say i've seen gracie in person and she was soo sweet! I cried for a long time after reading the book! I'm buying copies to give as gifts for animal lovers i know!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book delighted me from beginning to end. On the cover is the sweetest photo of Gracie, that entranced me the moment I saw her. The story moves quickly, covering the relationship that Dan has with his loved dog. It is funny, it is moving, it is the kind of book you'll want to read again. Gracie and Dan's story told so marvelously will become a classic in pet stories. If you can't tell by now, I absolutely LOVED this book and will be recommending it (and giving it as gifts!) to all my friends!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was such a nice book; I fell in love with it! It was the most cutest story I have ever read; I loved this. This is *definitly* a must for dog-lovers. It reminds me of how attached we can get to not only dogs, but pets in general. :-)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story is a must for any dog lover or anyone who needs inspiration to do what they have always wanted to do. Dan Dye is incredibly insightful and obviously loves his pups. I saw a lot of my own dogs in wonderful Gracie. I laughed so hard I almost cried and... well... just make sure you have a couple of boxes of kleenex available for the last chapters. I guarantee you will love this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We saw these guys on a local St. Louis news program we were very impressed with the tale of Gracie, their deaf dog who inspired them to start their bakery business. But after reading this book, we were amazed (no pun intended) at how interesting their Great Dane Gracie's life really was. This was an extremely funny book that was also very touching, too. I would recommend this book highly. It's a quick read and a story that 'sticks to your ribs'. I no longer own a dog, but this book made me seriously moving from my apartment in order to get one!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A friend of my sister's gave this book to her as a gift. She loved it so much that I read it, too. I can honestly say that I do not remember the last time I read a book that I loved as much as this one. Gracie must have been an extra-ordinary dogs, but yet at the same time, her life was ordinary and dog like. It was a very funny book but be warned: the ending's going to blow you away. Both my sister and I would recommend this book highly. I'm buying a copy for my brother who lives in Denver...he loves dogs, too!