She is "just a sick and old barn cat" was always what everyone used to say. But, Gracie always meant more than that to me. Yes, she looked a bit rough. For starters, Gracie had a very rare form of mouth cancer. Because of that, Gracie struggled keeping up with her hygiene in a barn setting, drooled constantly, and had a lot of difficultly eating without help. Gracie was overlooked by everyone else and was often called "gross" or "nasty". It started out as me just feeding her. But, our relationship turned into a very unexpected friendship. From then on, I would spend hours shaving the mats off of her fur, washing her (which she actually enjoyed), and helping her eat so she would not starve to death. I wanted to show Gracie what it felt like to be loved again. Gracie then began to start sleeping under my saddle and waited for me there everyday to come to the barn after class. When an upper respiratory infection took hold in march I decided to take Gracie to my college apartment. Although the respiratory infection got better, the cancer progressively got worse. On June 14th, I put Gracie down. She passed away cuddled in my arms, wrapped in her absolute favorite blanket, and was purring uncontrollably until the very end. I guess you could say I helped her, but in reality Gracie helped me. Gracie showed me that helping helping animals was exactly what I was meant to do for the rest of my life. Gracie also exemplified that every life matters no matter how old, small, or different it looks. I definitely miss my barn buddy but I know now she is free of pain, can eat all the canned food she could ever want, and I am at peace with that.