Crazy for Crust

Our Sweet Ginger

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 A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.  –Josh Billings

Yesterday we had to do one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Our sweet Ginger had to be put to sleep and we are devastated. She was like our second child and we’ll miss her terribly.

Ginger came to us when she was 5 years old. We’d been thinking about getting a dog for awhile; Jordan was about 3 and we were settled in our home and ready to take on a fur baby. We’d decided to get a pug; they’re small and cute and we were going to name it Squish. Then, a friend of mine started fostering dogs for Homeward Bound, a golden retriever rescue. She got her first foster dog and sent out an email to all her friends asking if anyone wanted a dog.

When I saw that picture of Ginger for the first time, I knew immediately that she was my dog. Even through a photo, the connection was instant. We went to meet her and when I walked in the door she jumped up on me to say hello. The foster mom mentioned that she’d never seen Ginger do that before…until I walked in the door. It’s like she knew she belonged to me too. A pug to a golden retriever is very different, obviously, and luckily Mel was on board. We brought Ginger home on an October afternoon.

I’ll never forget the day we brought her home: she was excited, and used to pull on her leash quite a bit. We  had a narrow entry hallway in our old house and there was a bookshelf along one wall. Ginger came in the house and we took her off the leash…and in that same second Callie, our cat, walked by. Ginger took off after her, banging into the bookshelf and knocking a heavy glass frame to the tile floor, shattering it everywhere, while Mel, Jordan and I just stood there open-mouthed thinking what did we do?

In time, Ginger learned to fear the cat. It took a few weeks and at one point she’d had enough; I swear to God she went after Ginger down the hallway walking on two legs samurai swording her paws and Ginger ran away, tail between her legs. From that day forward, Ginger gave Callie a very wide berth. 😂

Ginger’s first home life hadn’t been good. She’s a purebred golden, came with papers, and had even had a litter of puppies (and really bad mastitis, I guess), but her owners worked full time outside the home and left her tied up outdoors all day. Ginger is an outdoor barker; if she’s outside and the wind blows or a dog barks or a bird flies by, she barks at it. So, the owners tied her up outdoors all day and didn’t like the barking complaints, so they put a bark collar on her. When we got her, she didn’t speak for at least a week, because she was so scared to. (She eventually found her voice, and I’m sure my neighbors heard me yelling at her to be quiet! several times.) But we left her in the house 90% of the time, so the barking wasn’t an issue.

When Ginger came to us, she came to her forever home. She was a part of our family that we didn’t know was missing; she was the second child I couldn’t have. She was with us all the time; she’d sleep at my feet during the day while I worked, watch me bake and clean the floor after me on kitchen days, sit outside Mel’s office and hope he’d invite her in, sleep with us in our room. There was never a time she was far away.

Of course, as she got older, she slowed down quite a bit. Looking back now, after 12 she slowed down a lot but it was so gradual it wasn’t glaring until I look back at her life. First she stopped wanting to go for walks, then stopped coming upstairs at night all the time. The worst decline just happened over the past few months. Two weeks ago she couldn’t keep food down and the vet gave us the news she had a large tumor pushing around her internal organs. At 14 1/2 she was a very old dog and we decided to make her comfortable, but we didn’t realize how fast the end would come. With nausea medication, she started eating and drinking again and was a bit more like her old self, but last week she stopped eating and started breathing heavy. On Friday she couldn’t walk and the return check appointment we had shifted from checking her progress to something else entirely.

We had to carry her to the car and into the vet. Mel and I sat with her the whole time, and I’m sure the waiting room could hear my grief. I’ve said goodbye to animals before, but saying goodbye to Ginger was something else entirely. Now we are here, in our quiet house, with signs of her all around. Her food, her bowls, her beds, the hair that coats my pants (and probably my internal organs). We will miss her so completely.

On that last day I wished she could talk and understand my words because I wanted her to know how much we loved her. Life won’t be the same without our Miss GingyPoo following me around wherever I go. I also now have to clean my own food messes, eat all my own breakfast eggs, throw away the empty peanut butter jar, and I can leave Kleenex unattended. Somewhere, Ginger is whole again, running free on a beach with her leash in her mouth, eating unlimited peanut butter and chewing napkins to shreds without a care in the world. And, if she’s found Callie, she’s giving her lots of space.

Goodbye sweet Ginger, we will miss you so. ❤️

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64 comments

  1. Ginger knew you loved her and she was holding on only for you. To let her go was the right thing to do. My beloved dog died on Apr 11, I had to let him go as well, it sure is the hardest thing one must do.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. I know how heartbreaking it can be to lose a loved one (human, furry, feathered, or scaley). {{{HUGS}}}

  3. For me, my dog is like another member of the family. We always travel to locations were dogs are allowed. If no dog allowed, no travel. But it is a pity that they live so little time.

  4. Such a beautiful tribute. It’s always hard to say goodbye but I know she was truly grateful that you knew when to let her go and stayed with her until she had crossed Rainbow Bridge. You gave Ginger the best life full of love and happiness. She will forever be thankful to have had you, her whole family and will be waiting patiently to see you again.

  5. tears are flowing. One of the hardest things ever. They sure take a huge place in our lives and heart.

  6. What a beautiful tribute to Ginger; what great humans she had as her family! Any one of us who have a fur-baby of any kind knows the agony and heartbreak of when you have to say goodbye; however, we all have the wonderful memories that we can look back on with smiles, not only on our faces but in our hearts. Ginger knew when she was with you that she was loved and she was taken care of; she responded in kind. There will always be another rescue waiting for a family to love them and for them to respond … in kind.

  7. Okay, so now I have tears pouring down my cheeks. The love between animal and human is unmatched. It’s hard saying goodbye. When my yorkie, Hendricks died, I can remember just saying over and over, “I hope he knew how much I loved him”. He knew. I cried for days. I thought I would never get another one because I didn’t want to feel that kind of pain again. But I did get another one. A month later, actually. I couldn’t stand the quiet or the loneliness. I was single then and coming home from work to an empty house was awful. I didn’t get another yorkie, but a sweet terrier mix rescue baby from the shelter. Her name is Ellie and I wouldn’t take a million dollars for her. She pees on the floor everyday (won’t go on a pee pad), eats the cat’s food even though we scold her for it (and she eats REALLY good food herself), and parks incessantly at the neighbors, but she is my baby and I love her more than life itself. Someone told me once after I had adopted Ellie, “Hendricks knew it was time for him to go so that Ellie could have a home and someone to love her just the way he’d been loved.” I still miss him terribly and it has been 9 years since he died. Pets just have a way of worming their way into your heart like no other, and they are there to stay. The memories are forever. Just know she loved you, you loved her, and she had a wonderful life.

  8. I cried through your beautiful eulogy to Ginger. Have been through your heartache with 3 Goldens, and share your sorrow. Ginger knew your love for her, just as you all knew of her love and devotion to you. Goldens are absolutely the best! In time you will all concentrate on your sweet memories over the grief and will be able to smile as you recall the good times. It hurts, beyond belief right now, but you will soon be able to admit the pain is worth every good loving memory the family can share about the time Ginger was your gal. Loving Golden thoughts are with you all. Just as you enriched Ginger’s life, she gave you Golden love.

  9. I’m so sorry for your loss Dorothy, she seemed like the sweetest girl <3

  10. I’m so sorry for the loss and emptiness you and your family are feeling. I truly believe we will see our loving dogs in heaven one day.

  11. Very heartfelt and beautiful. Any of us who have had dogs and have gone through what you have were taken back to that dreadful moment. If dogs don’t go to Heaven, I want to go where they are..

  12. Dear Dorothy, Mel and Jordan:
    I am so sorry for your loss. Having to say goodbye to a wonderful member of the family is one of the hardest things I have ever done. My heart aches for all of you. At the same time I am happy that you all shared so many wonderful years together.

  13. That was a lovely tribute, and I’m so sorry for your loss. You can take comfort in knowing you gave sweet Ginger a loving and well-deserved forever home.

  14. The loss of an old friend is devastating. People who are not pet people don’t get it. They aren’t just pets; they are family. I am saddened to read about your loss. My condolences.

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