A post on my dearly departed Ginger, a.k.a. a Gin-Blog

Sometimes known as Ginger, Gin-bob, Gin-bob No Pants, Ginner and Princess, my sweet family pup passed away last month.

I miss her lots.

As a result, my writing goes to sh*t when I try to talk about her. I'll put her pictures first, so you can enjoy her. If you happen to want to read a rambling, disorganized block of text, it's waiting for you after the photos.

Squirrel watching prairie dog pose:
An unusual silly face. Normally she hated photos:
I'm not sure why I posted this one, seeing as it's just a picture of our carpet.
Mouthful of snow:
More of that delicious snow:
On a hike with my parents:Snorf snort snuggle snorf:

Big torso, little legs.
When I was really little, I used to pretend I was a dog. I crawled around my parents' apartment barking. I remember filling a little bowl with food or water, putting it on the floor, and eating from it. Later, when I learned to write, I made sure to tell Santa I wanted a puppy for Christmas. Every year, without fail. When I grew up a little more, I bought books on dog breeds and poured over animal supply catalogs, circling the items I felt were good enough for my future potential puppy.

I didn't get one until the Spring of my senior year of high school. I was 17.

I arrived in my Montana hometown in the wee hours of the morning, exhausted from a Speech and Debate meet. It was bitterly cold and snowing like mad. Rather than make me brave the nasty weather, my parents came to pick me up in their enormous old, blue van.

The sliding door roared open to reveal a scruffy, dirty blonde dog. She looked quite a bit like Benji the hunted cut off at the knees, 1/2 Basset Hound 1/2 Skye Terrier. Her bark was all Basset, temperament mostly terrier. But I didn't know that yet.

I got in and asked what the deal was with the dog. I knew better than to assume she was mine.

"Oh, we're just trying her out," my parents told me.

I didn't know what to think. If I let myself get attached, I'd risk emotional devastation if they took her back to the pound where she'd inevitably be put to sleep. I was afraid to love her all the way, but that scruffy face was so. darn. cute.

When we got home I realized that my younger brother hated her*. Not for any logical reason - he just hates change. Any change. Even cute, furry, sweet, loving change.

I assumed she was doomed.

Then a few weeks passed. A few months. My parents never confirmed that she was our forever dog and I was too timid to ask. And then, that fall, I left for college. I had a dog for all of 6 months.

In that time I noticed that she could tell when I was sad. She'd sit near me until she sensed I was okay then would wander off to check on another member of the family. Nightly she'd make the rounds, the tinkling sound of her little license tags the only thing giving her presence away. First she'd check on my parents, padding in on her big furry feet. Sniff. Sniff sniff. With a head shake and a snort, she'd turn tail and head for my little brother's room. Sniff. Sniff sniff. Snort. Then it was my turn. I used to hear her come into my room, just part way. Stop. Sniff sniff. Snort. Once she knew we were all where we were supposed to be, she'd settle in for the night.

Sometimes I'd find her on the couch in the living room, using the low arm rest as a pillow.

Sometimes she'd curl up under my parents' bed.

Sometimes she'd be up on the ottoman by the window, staring out at the squirrels, sitting like a prairie dog.

When we'd go out for walks, she chased those squirrels up trees. I don't mean that she scared the squirrels so that the squirrels themselves ran up the tree trunks. No. Ginger scrambled up the trunk as far as her short little legs and big bodied momentum could take her. She never made it farther up than my head, but it was high enough to be impressive.

She ate a lot of snow. I think it may have been her favorite thing to do.

Small dogs didn't phase her. Big ones? She wanted to take them on. I don't think Ginger realized that she'd lose that kind of a battle. She herself was a big dog on little legs.

Part of her tongue was missing. I wish I knew the story there.

Anyway ...

I got to know her a little, and then I had to leave.

It sucked.

When I came back for Thanksgiving, she greeted me excitedly. I felt loved. Then, when I packed up my car to leave again, she hopped right into the passenger seat and refused to leave. We had to bribe her out with chicken. I didn't want to go.

It seemed that every time I came for a visit, she had lost more teeth. My dad eventually made the joke, "all she has for Christmas are her two front teeth."

My mom tells me that Ginger would let her know when she left something on the stove too long. And when one of the doors was unlocked at night.

She hated being groomed. She took it as a great personal insult that her lowly humans would dare harass her in that manner.

Enough details. I miss her. Lots. She was with us for 10ish years, but was closer to 15 years-old (or more, actually). I really wish I had spent more in-person time with her.

*To my little brother's credit, he warmed up to her. It just took him a little while. I actually don't know if he remembers disliking her.

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