I used to be really afraid of dogs. I suppose I'd had a couple of bad dog experiences, and I'm also just a high-strung person (to put it lightly -- and I was so much worse when I was younger), and often that isn't a great combination with animals, since they sense so much about us.

The summer after my first year of college, after lots of begging and cajoling from my siblings, my parents agreed to get a beagle puppy. There was lots of dinner table discussion about a name, and we finally came up with Beatrice, after the character in Much Ado About Nothing (we are a literary family).

grace beatrice lucy 2001_2

Beatrice changed everything for me. I came to love dogs through her. It is because of her that I have my own spoiled beagle. We used to joke that Beatrice and I had the same hair (with her auburn-y ears), and the same makeup (she had darkly rimmed eyes; I just made mine to look that way).

grace beatrice lucy 2001_1

Anyway, we know where this post is going, of course.

Beatrice died today. I wish so very dearly that I could write that she died peacefully in her sleep. That she snuck off someplace on my parents' wooded mountain property and laid down and let go. But, that's not what happened. She was still fit as a fiddle at 13 (although she'd been deaf for a number of years -- we don't know why). What happened to Beatrice feels almost too tragic to type, and yet amusing and ironic enough to befit the Shakespearean origin of her name. She was killed by a UPS truck.

It's likely the driver didn't see her -- he backed into her and just knocked the life out of her. As simply and terribly as that.

Of course, I know that she was just a dog. But she was a dog who meant so very much to my family. She was so beloved, and she will be so dearly missed.

I'm taking comfort tonight in the words of my church's catechism: "Animals are God's creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory."

Beatrice was such a good little doggy. She surely gave God glory in her sweet and humble little life.

We will miss you, sweet pup.

{Photos here are from Easter of 2001, when my own pup, Lucy, on the left, was just about a year old, and sweet Beatrice was  4. I was 23 and not yet a mama.}