Ginger is sick. And it’s not the kind of sick that gets better.
I can go through long stretches of my day not acknowledging this fact. But I know it is there, following me around. Patient. Just waiting to punch me in the gut again, like it does every day at some point.
Sometimes the punch comes early in the morning when I hear her get off of her dog mattress and walk to my side of the bed in the dark. She puts her face right up next to mine and waits for me to reach out and rub her ears. We start most days exactly like this.
Other days the punch comes when we are out for a morning walk at Cass Park. Ginger loves to be off-leash on a parcel of land that lies between the marina and the lakeshore. She runs like a puppy and her ears flop behind her in the wind and it is clear that she is as happy as any creature has ever been.
Once in a while, I’ll feel it when I am at work and I imagine that first time I’ll come home at the end of the day and she won’t be there…
Ginger is the first dog I have ever liked. People assume that because we have two dogs and because I love Ginger that I am a Dog Person. This is not true. I am a Ginger person. She is one of the kindest, sweetest, most patient and forbearing individuals I have ever met. Her eyes are deep and brown and soulful. When things are dark for me, sitting with Ginger helps me find calm and peace and even hope. I count her among my very best friends and I say that with all sincerity.
As Ginger’s illness has played out, there has been a long stretch of great days where nothing seems wrong at all. I am thankful for these days. Ginger seems very happy. And knowing that this won’t be the case much longer makes it easier for me to slow down, to clear my mind, and to give Ginger what she needs---which is usually just a liiiiiittle more loving.
Rather than waiting until Ginger is gone and writing a eulogy for her, I wanted to post this appreciation now, while she is still here and happy. She’ll never know the difference, but somehow it makes me feel a little better to write about my girl.