The other thing, the one I don't talk about as much?
This girl right here:
She'll be ten this year.
She's losing her hearing. I knew this already, but when the vet said it to me yesterday it broke my heart a little. A few years ago if she was on the third floor with her head under a blanket and someone opened the freezer in the garage, she'd be there in 3.2 seconds ready to see what you have and why you aren't sharing it with her. Lately, she doesn't hear the garage door. I can walk up right behind her and she doesn't stir. I dropped a piece of chicken on kitchen floor and even though she was twenty feet away she didn't come over to get it.
She still wants to go on every w-a-l-k or r-i-d-e that is offered, but it's harder on her now. She can't walk as far as she could a few years ago. She gets worn out easily. Even in the backseat of the car, with the wind blowing all over her, she often lays down on her blanket. She seems very content. Just tired.
I sometimes call Ginger my child, which people either completely understand or get infuriated about, depending on how they feel about dogs. Sometimes people roll their eyes at me and sometimes they say, "She's just a dog!"
But she's not. She's not just a dog.
I spend every day of my life with her. In the morning she is usually my office, waiting on me. If I don't come downstairs in what she considers a reasonable amount of time, she comes up and finds me, peering her head through the door of my room but not setting a paw inside. During the day, she's either right beside my feet, or on top of them, depending on how she feels. If I go outside, so does she. If I walk upstairs, so does she. If I go to the bathroom, she sits outside the door waiting on me. At night she follows me upstairs to the bonus room, snoozes while I watch t.v. She makes sure I get to bed too and only after I'm asleep does she go downstairs to my office and her bed.
She knows when I'm having a bad day. She cares when I'm having a bad day. She'll lay her head on my lap or my arm, put her paw on top of my hand. If she deems I've worked too much that day, she'll do her best to knock my phone out of my hand or lay her face on the computer in my lap if I'm in the recliner. Her tail wags in a circle, hair flying everywhere. I need to change the air filters more often, but I don't mind.
She's alternately needy and moody...it's like having a two-year old some days and a teenager others. She cries a lot lately, especially when her joints bother her, but really? She's pretty happy. She's always down for a granola bar or any kind of peanut butter I'm willing to share and sits right next to me at the table during dinner. I've stopped worrying as much about her weight, but she's stayed pretty much the same for years. I lovingly tell her she has a big ass, and just as lovingly tell her she got that from her mama (me).
She loves me in the most brilliant, effortless way that I could ever imagine. She trusts me completely. She thinks I'm her mother. I guess I am.
I've been saying for the last few years, I would never want to not have a dog. But the truth is, I wish I could have Ginger for the rest of forever.
I can't think too much about the future with her. Much like I can't think too much about the next several years with the two children in my house.
I'm very thankful for the time with them though. So very thankful.