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Ginger is a dog you fall in love with at first sight.
August 24, 2012
I was pretty sure we were done with pets when our cat Topper died. I am not really a "cat person" at heart.

When My Lady Wife and I got married, I took on Little Kitty and Mr. Kitty too. That turned out well. Then we adopted my brother-in-law's dog Sandy, and she was a dear. But big dogs have short lives, and I did not want to take on another dog.

But Ginger had other ideas. She showed up in our neighborhood around Christmas, a friendly little bull terrier mix, with a brown coat, white throat and collar. A white blaze down her nose separates her brown cap.

What I first noticed about her were her attentive ears. She loves people, and those bat ears just tune in to whatever or whoever interests her. Those inquisitive eyes look deeply into yours and then she cocks her head to one side.

You had to fall in love with her. We don't know where she came from, but she loves everybody she meets. She's never met a stranger. Neighbors were feeding her, but as the weather turned cold, it became clear something needed to be done about her.

As it happened, we were sitting around the living room as a fire blazed in the fireplace and I was rubbing Ginger's stomach with my foot as she slept with her back to the fire. Suddenly, the statement was raised that it was time Ginger had a home.

I looked up and noticed two things. One, everybody in the room was watching me rub Ginger's stomach. Second, Kathy and I were the only people in the room who did not own a dog.

I quickly jerked my foot away, but all this did was provoke a lot of laughter in the room. I looked at my wife Kathy, and she just shrugged. It had been a conspiracy, but we were already charmed. Ginger looked up at me, and cocked one ear toward me. Then she laid her head down and closed her eyes with a contented smile on her face.

Now you may think the masterminds in all of this were my neighbors who wanted Ginger out of their yards and their consciences. But we know who really is behind this. As I write this, her tail is wagging like a metronome set to the beat of Lynyrd Skynyrd guitar solo.

That means she thinks she is going for a walk. I'll be right back.

Now if this were a Disney movie, the screen credits would have rolled and we would have dropped our empty popcorn boxes in the trash on our way out to the parking lot.

But in real life, there are no fadeouts. Instead, there are always complications. For instance, when Ginger came to our house we became acquainted with the term of "quasi-house broken." The result of which meant that any time Ginger looked at me cross-eyed, I would jump up and take her for a walk.

Another disturbing habit that surfaced was a tendency to chew on things. When she chewed My Lady Wife's sandals, that was somewhat amusing. And I chided her for leaving them in the living room.

But when Ginger chewed up not one, but two tennis shoes (naturally not of the same pair), that was no laughing matter. And we were clearly out of our depth.

All of my dogs as an adult had been older ones. Ginger still had a lot of puppy in hers. She was not working out at all. She turned out be part terrier and part sled dog when I took her for walks on her leash. Actually who was walking who was always a matter of debate when we would go outside.

Kathy quickly defaulted on walking Ginger, saying she could barely hold onto the leash. So I quickly acquired a new form of exercise. First, let me say that she has an internal clock that would make my old drill instructor smile.

Promptly at 5:30 a.m., she puts one paw on the bed (my side of course) and whimpers until I get up. She doesn't have a calendar, so she does not have an appreciation of sleeping in on a Saturday or a Sunday morning.

Something was going to have to give, and it wasn't clear which side it would be.

So tune in next week, to see who writes the end of this story, Walt Disney or Quentin Tarantino.

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Managing Editor, Appen Newspapers Inc.
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