dog stories

Dog Stories That Are Remarkable But True

Dog Story 1

For instance, I used to be deathly afraid of dogs, but our dog Gracie surprised me by not eating me and instead, helped me heal from an anxiety disorder. That was a wonderful surprise! I wrote a book about it and Saved by Gracie: How a Rough-and-tumble Rescue Dog Dragged Me Back to Health, Happiness and God became an international bestseller for my publisher, which was an even bigger surprise. (I have to confess I was also surprised that my publisher went with such a long book title, but Gracie deserved it, in my opinion.)

Dog Story 2

Another example: my dogs won’t eat pill pockets when I have to give them medications, even though the package says that dogs love the taste. Unfortunately, this was not a happy surprise, as I now have to smash up pills and mix them with cheese, hot dogs or cooked ground turkey to get the medicines into the dogs. Many nights, it takes me longer to prepare their almost-gourmet pill mixtures than it takes for me to get my own dinner together.

Dog Story 3

Here’s another good surprise: when we adopted our second dog, Michael, a German Shepherd/Chocolate Lab puppy, to keep Gracie company, she liked him right away, so we didn’t have to break up any dog fights. In fact, Gracie was quite the mother to Michael, even though we’ve seen her take an instant dislike to some pooches over the years.

Dog Story 4 – The Biggest Surprise Of All

Recently, though, we got the biggest surprise of all when I finally caved in to my curiosity and took a sample of Gracie’s saliva for a DNA test. When we adopted her, the rescue society said she was a Labrador mix, and since I had read that Labrador Retrievers are very people-friendly (that is to say, they rarely ate their owners), I’d allowed my daughter to talk us into the adoption. So imagine my surprise when the DNA test results arrived, and Gracie had no evidence of any Labrador Retriever in her! As it turns out, my sweet, faithful companion is a third Rottweiler and equal parts Bull Mastiff, Pit Bull, German Shepherd and Border Collie.

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At least that explained why she’s not the enthusiastic swimmer that Michael is; I’d just rationalized that her Labrador Retriever side must not have been dominant. It also explained why Gracie has always been super-protective of me – she’s awash in the genes of working breeds that are super vigilant, which is why we have no house security system other than two big black dogs with very intimidating barks. (A local security consultant told us that we had the best ‘system’ available, though it cost a lot in terms of dog food and treats.)

Now here’s the thing about this particular surprise: if I’d known that Gracie’s DNA revealed her to be any of these breeds, I would not have consented to her adoption, because of all the bad press that has attached itself to Rottweilers and Pit Bulls as overly aggressive animals. And if I had done that, I would have missed out on the life-changing relationship with which Gracie has graced me. Too much information would have been the worst possible thing, and in this case, ignorance truly led to bliss.

Thank God for surprises…and dogs!

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Jan Dunlap is an author, speaker, and the proud mother of five grown children. Her novels and books range over a broad spectrum of topics from birding and conservation to personal spirituality to suspense thrillers. She is the author of the humorous Bob White Birder Murder Mystery series (7 books from North Star Press, Inc.), the international best-selling memoir "Saved by Gracie: How a rough-and-tumble rescue dog dragged me back to health, happiness and God" (Authentic Publishers), and the Archangel series which debuted with "Heaven's Gate" in May 2016. Jan holds a BA in English from Regis University in Denver, an MA in Theology from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, and an MA in English Studies from Minnesota State University-Mankato. A former Minnesota resident, she now lives in Texas Hill Country with her husband, 2 cats, and 2 dogs. Visit for more information and links to Jan and her activities, or follow her on Facebook at her two author pages: Birder Murder Mama and Archangel