When a Family Pet Saved Thanksgiving

Gratitude for a beloved golden retreiver who came to the rescue.

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Posted in , Nov 18, 2016

When a Family Pet Saved Thanksgiving

Here is Edward Grinnan’s Editor’s Note for the November 2016 issue of Guideposts. If you’d like to subscribe, click here.

I can’t think of a Thanksgiving I wasn’t grateful for something. That’s the best thing about Thanksgiving. We can’t help but recognize our blessings. My wife, Julee, brought up a memorable Thanksgiving recently, one related to a project I’m finishing (more on that in a bit). It was November of 2010. We decided to host Thanksgiving in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts.

The Sunday before, Julee and I shopped like mad. Sometimes I think Julee likes shopping for the food as much as preparing it. I kept fussing about how much stuff we were buying, but Julee said it was Thanksgiving and, after all, my family was driving all the way out from Michigan to join us.

That night I took the train back into New York, intending to return Tuesday night. Julee stayed behind, to do the rest of the prep, and Millie, our young golden retriever, stayed with her. Early Monday morning, the phone rang. It was Julee.

Read More: Growing an Attitude of Gratitude

“Ed, I broke my collarbone.”


“I’ll catch the next train up,” I said. 

“Don’t worry. I’m okay. Millie saved me.”

It was quite a dinner that year, with Julee trying to do everything with her left arm (she’s a righty) and everyone trying to get her to sit down and relax. She insisted on making her famous mashed potatoes, and some of it ended up on the ceiling.

When it came time to go around the table and say what we were thankful for, Julee finally told us about Millie. In the middle of the night Julee had tripped on a dog toy and taken a bad tumble down the stairs. She managed to call 911, and as she lay on the landing waiting for the EMTs, Millie trotted down, took stock of the situation and promptly placed her body over Julee’s. “The doctor said Millie kept me from going into shock. How did she know?”

Millie is no longer with us, so I was doubly glad to be reminded of the story because I am including it in my new book, Always by My Side: Life Lessons From Millie and All the Dogs I’ve Loved, out next March.

By the way, I think we all know how Millie knew. What are you thankful for this year?

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