The Naked Dog Project
You see, this particular daycare’s policy was to sign you in, remove your dog's personal collar (Gracie wore a quick-release martingale), replace it with a choker collar and drag line, and then release them into the play area. Looking back, how I ever thought that was OK haunts me. But I was a new doggie daycare consumer, and they were the professionals. They positioned themselves as experts, and they were priced higher than most. Their daycare was limited to only 6 dogs so each one would have individualized attention, walks, and play times. I trusted them. What could possibly go wrong?
What went wrong that deadly day is a playmate’s jaw got tangled in Gracie’s choker collar and she strangled to death. In my opinion, there were many factors that played into the end result of April 3, but I won’t go into that here. The bottom line is they were not prepared. They placed a choker collar on my puppy but did not have the proper tools to cut it off in case of an emergency. If there would have been a bolt cutter on site and the staff was prepared to use it, Gracie would be alive today.
Driven by grief and motivated by the need to make a difference, The Naked Dog Project was created to honor this beautiful puppy named Gracie, who bounced her way into my heart on November 9, 2013. She lived her short, amazing life in high gear, and she managed to change mine forever. She is gone from this earth, but she motivates and inspires me from beyond every day. I hope by sharing our story, you will never have to lose your best friend the senseless way I lost my Gracie. RIP sweet girl. #alwayslovedneverforgotten
My worst nightmare could not have prepared me for the tragic events of April 3, 2014. As most mornings, we snuggled, ate breakfast, and hopped in the car. Gracie headed to daycare, mommy headed to work. It was a Thursday, and on Thursdays for the past several weeks, Gracie had been going to a new daycare. In an effort to socialize her and give her a variety of experiences, she attended 2 different daycares and spent Wednesdays at friend's house playing with her dog and cat friends. After all, she was an ornery, 6-month-old Boxer/Great Dane mix with a lot of energy. She needed and deserved to play.
I dropped her off around 9:00, told her to have a good day, and off I went to work. By 9:20 I received the phone call no one should ever get. There has been an emergency and you need to get here now. Gracie’s airway has been restricted and she is unconscious. Words cannot describe the next hour of my life.