07/17/2007 at 05:00 PM EDT
Oprah Winfrey, whose 2-year-old Golden Retriever Gracie died in May by choking on a plastic ball, learned a lesson from the tragedy, the TV mogul says in her magazine.
Writing in the August issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, which hit newsstands Tuesday, Winfrey wonders "through my tears and stabbing pain and disbelief" how such a thing could have happened and what can be learned from the sad event.
"I don't believe in accidents," writes Winfrey. "I know for sure that everything in life happens to help us live."
Because Winfrey had had a late lunch with friends on that fateful Saturday, Gracie was out with her dog walker and two other goldens for their exercise. The clear ball, which belonged to Winfrey's 12-year-old cocker spaniel Sophie, was in the grass when Gracie (who wasn't supposed to play with the ball) found it – and swallowed it.
"I ran barefoot out of the house and found the dog walker and one of my security guards pumping her chest," Winfrey writes about her reaction to the phone call that Gracie was no longer breathing. "Just as I reached them, the security guard looked up and said, 'I'm sorry, ma'am. We tried everything. I'm sorry. She's gone.' "
Taking in what had happened, "I stood there dazed, stunned, crying – and watched as they placed her in the back of a golf cart, her still-warm body with the lipstick stain [from Winfrey's kiss beforehand] on her fur," writes Winfrey.
Despite her sadness, Winfrey takes comfort in knowing that Gracie "did more living in two years than most dogs do in 12" – and that is the lesson to be gained from her beloved young golden. "This dog lived every moment as though it were her last."
"Her life was a gift to me," writes Winfrey. "Her death, a greater one."