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Gracie's Story

Another story of dog collar strangulation at a Doggie Daycare. PLEASE READ, and SHARE this could save your dog(s) life, or your friends.

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. 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 two different daycares and spent Wednesdays at a friend's house playing with her dogs and cat. After all, she was an ornery, 6-month-old Boxer/Great Dane mix with a lot of energy. She loved to play.

I dropped her off at 9:00, told her to have a good day, and headed to work. At 9:20 I got the phone call no one should ever get. "There has been an emergency, 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. 

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 choke collar and drag line, and then release them into the play area with all the other dogs sporting choke collars and drag lines. Looking back, how I ever thought that was OK haunts me. But I was a new doggie daycare customer and they were the professionals. They positioned themselves as experts, and were priced higher than most. Their daycare was limited to only six dogs so each dog would have personalized attention, walks, and play time. I trusted them. What could possibly go wrong?

What went wrong that deadly day is a playmate's jaw got tangled in Gracie's collar and she strangled to death. There are many factors that played into the end result of April 3. Inadequate staffing, training, equipment, and lack of basic emergency preparedness played key roles in the senseless death of my beautiful 6-month-old puppy. They placed a choke collar on her (which should NEVER be worn for play) but didn't have a tool onsite to cut it off her neck in case of an emergency. If there would have been a bolt cutter onsite, and the staff  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 founded to honor this beautiful puppy, named Gracie, who bounced her way into our hearts on November 9, 2013. She lived her short, amazing life in high gear and she managed to change ours forever. She is gone from this earth, but she motivates and inspires us from beyond every day. RIP sweet girl. #alwayslovedneverforgotten

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