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Oprah Winfrey and her Golden Retriever Gracie

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey and Gracie

Although it was quite a long time ago I thought I would share with you the experience that Oprah had when she lost her golden retriever Gracie. In 2007, Oprah’s 2-year-old Golden Retriever Gracie died after she choked on a plastic ball. Oprah was not with her dog when she died, arriving shortly afterwards as the dog had been taken for her daily walk by her caretaker. Such a terrible shock.

To experience the sudden and extremely untimely death of a young pet is incredibly hard to deal with as I know from bitter experience. Not only do you have to deal with the grief but there is the shock as well as a heightened sense of injustice. A 2-year-old golden retriever is still at the very start of its life, to die so suddenly is such a very sad event.

Finding a way through this particular bereavement journey is tricky but Oprah has drawn great strength from the knowledge that Gracie “did more living in two years than most dogs do in 12”.

Oprah wrote about her dog’s death, in her magazine O and talks about the lesson that she learnt from Gracie’s death. “This dog lived every moment as though it were her last.” Oprah too had been rushing around so much that she had been experiencing heart problems and despite lots of advice from friends, including Maya Angelou, she still hadn’t slowed her work schedule down. Gracie’s sudden death did actually bring home to her that she too needed to slow down.

Whilst it isn’t a great deal of consolation, bereavement can help us through our lives, it can help us to remember what is important. It is also essential to make sure we nurture ourselves especially when we are grieving.

For more information about pet bereavement see our advice section.



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