LAKEVIEW- They say every dog has its day, and Saturday was Gracie's Day.
But Saturday's unconventional party wasn't for the yellow Labrador retriever's birthday. It's also to celebrate her decade worth of days, in anticipation for her last one.
"Even though she's ill now, I thank God for the 10 years that we've had with her because I wouldn't trade it for anything," Gracie's owner, Charlene Mahner, said.
Gracie has lymphoma and, despite treatments, her vet says she only has a few months to live. So Mahner put away her tears and pulled out all the stops to let her lab know she's loved.
"We wanted to have a party for her while she's not in pain and while she can enjoy it, and she is because she's getting more dog treats. She's happy," said Mahner, "I want to remember her as happy and not in pain."
Mahner's family of nine siblings, and their families, were joined by neighbors and friends, with two legs and four.
"Gracie's just love, ya know, and that's how we feel about each other also so she really is just love, part of our family," said Vivian Breaux, Mahner's sister.
There were puppy treats and people treats, balloons and banners, wreaths and presents. But in addition to cakes were contributions to organizations dedicated to helping animals find loving homes like Gracie's.
But maybe, more importantly, the showcase of love for a dog is leaving humans with a lesson to live by.
"People always think when it comes to end of life that it has to be a sad time, but if you know you've given them the best life that you can give them, it's something celebrate," said family friend Judy Wolf, "So yes, people as well as dogs, I think it's a good example to follow."
Gracie is gladly leading the way.
Gracie's family encourages everyone to make donations on her behalf to either the Louisiana SPCA or the Golden Retriever Rescue.