Wednesday, May 26, 2010

To Ginny

You were six months old and you'd already had three homes.

Your first people didn't want you; their son's girlfriend brought you one day and never took you back. They kept you tied you to the porch. The only time they untied you was to bring you to the humane society. They'd had you for months, but they couldn't tell the staff whether you liked cats, kids, or other dogs. Unwanted, that's all they knew.

Your second family gave up on you after only a few days. We don't know why. But when they brought you back (an adoption failure!), that's when my sweetie met you. He described how cute you were and how you'd snuggled and pressed your head against his shoulder and gazed up at him with brown puppy eyes. (Twisted around your little paw, right from the start.)

We went to get you. But you were gone, adopted once more. So disappointed! But we were happy for you and wished you a glad doggy life.

Three days later, we visited the humane society again.

And there you were.

A second-time failure. You'd jumped on the third family's little girl. It turned out you adored kids. But you didn't know not to jump. Of course not, you'd had no socialization, no training, hardly any human interaction at all. But no excuses! Back to the humane society you went.

I knelt to say hi. You pressed your head against my shoulder and gazed up with brown puppy eyes and your funny little underbite. An hour later, you were in our car headed home.

Home to stay.

The name you came with was Mamacita. You didn't answer to it. We renamed you Ginny. Virginia Pearl, for formal occasions.

You couldn't stand to be left alone. You weren't housebroken. Every time we fed you, you frantically leaped and knocked the food bowl out of our hands, as if you didn't trust we'd actually set it on the ground. You had no idea how to play with our other dog or the dogs at the park. Let's just say you had issues.

But you wanted to please so badly. In a few days you were housebroken and you sat politely for your meals and you'd figured out a chase-me game with Jerry, our elderly German Shepherd, and you'd learned not to chase the cats.

But for the rest of your life, you couldn't stand to be alone. Well, who would, if they'd been left tied to a porch and ignored? So when dear Jerry passed on, we brought home Inja. And with your new best friend, you discovered the world.

Running in the snow on Christmas Day...

...and in Utah on vacation...

...and when you were tired, turnabout's fair play when it came to being a pillow.

You patiently kept me company while I wrote my first novel...

...and my second...
...and my third.

Being in the water was the only time the Labrador part of you ever kicked in. On dry land, your idea of "retrieving" was: The Toy is MINE If You Want It You Have to Chase Me But You'll Never Get It HA HA HA!

Your very favorite thing was to flaunt your toy-of-the-moment, lay it delicately on our knees or drop it on poor Inja's head, then snatch it back and run away laughing.

When we babysat Fergus the Sheltie puppy, you wanted his favorite fleece toy so badly you practically bled out your eyes. All other subterfuges having failed, you suddenly ran to the window barking. The moment Fergus jumped up to see what was out there, you swiped the toy and snuck off with it. Like stealing candy from a baby.

But when baby Molly got a trouncing from her big cat brother Albert, you hurried over to see if she needed saving. If we were upset, or unhappy, or sad, you'd press your sweet head against our shoulders and gaze up with anxious brown eyes, and if we needed to hug you, you'd let yourself be hugged forever.

When you were six years old, you got sick. That's when we discovered your liver cirrhosis. (Hadn't we told you to lay off those margaritas?!) Oh, and you had congenital kidney disease, too. Double whammy. The liver disease alone gave you a life expectancy of six months.

But you pulled through that episode. And another one. And a few more. But surely you were a bedridden invalid?

Ha! That's you at eleven. (Photo by your friends Kim and James at Stay Pet Hotel.) We began joking that you would never die, because then Inja would get all your toys. I half-hoped it was true.

It wasn't. You'd just turned twelve. Almost six years late, but it finally came.

Six extra wonderful years. I know we shouldn't have hoped for more. But we did.

Your ears stuck out to the sides and when you trotted, their tips bounced up and down in a way that made random strangers laugh. When you were sleepy, or you really, really, really wanted something (like begging to get on the couch..."But look, you've got sooooo much room up there!!") your underbite showed.

You were adorable. You were smart. Your sense of humor was better than some humans' I know. We count ourselves the luckiest people in the world to have had you.

Grieve not, nor speak of me with tears
But laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you
I loved you so...
...`Twas heaven here with you.
--Isla Paschal Richardson

We love you, sweet Ginny. We miss you.



Unknown said...

So sorry for your loss. Ginny sounds so wonderful. How cool to have someone in your family like that for 12 years. *hug*

Lisa Nowak said...

I'm so sorry you lost your baby. What a wonderful tribute. How blessed you were to have such a unique, wonderful dog, and how blessed she was to find loving, patient owners after so many tries. I'm glad you found each other. Excuse, me, I'm going to go cry now. And I'm a cat person!

mi said...

so sorry, christine.
ginny looks like the most perfect loving baby.
i'm glad you were given more time with her, and she looks like she had the happiest life because she was loved.

Melissa Amateis said...

So very, very sorry, Christine. It is so incredibly painful when we lose them, but they bring so much joy to our lives. Hugs.

Lisa Schroeder said...

*sniff sniff*

I'm so glad Ginny had you guys and you guys had Ginny. You were obviously meant to be together, even if it took awhile for it to happen.


Brenda Lubbers said...

I am so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful tribute. None of the other places were where she was supposed to be. Hugs to you. Brenda

Christine Fletcher said...

Thanks, everyone, for your kind thoughts. It really did feel like Ginny was fated for us, and I think we were as lucky to have her as she was to have us. Memories of her will continue to bring us lots of joy.

Sally Nemeth said...

Oh my - I'm a total puddle of tears right now. Sweet Ginny. Every dog should be so lucky to have had you as their people. All people (and other sibling pets) should be so lucky to have had a Ginny in their lives.

lkmadigan said...

Typing with tears in my eyes.

Weren't you so, so lucky?



Walter Rowntree said...

It's hard to look at the pictures with tears in my eyes.
I know how much it hurts.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry I wasn't able to offer my condolences sooner. Ginny sounds like a wonderful dog, and your story about her brought tears to my eyes.

I'm glad she was able to bring you joy for the period that she was with you. And I'm sure she appreciated all the love she got in return.

Jillian said...

This was wonderful to read, and it made me cry. It makes me happy that, even after so many misses with other families, Ginny was able to receive a happy home with your family. I know that another shelter dog will likely find a place within your family in the future as well. (That may be a long way off or it may even be a short time away -- but I hope it does happen because lonely dogs NEED people like your family.)