We lost our sweet hound dog, Cedar, to mast cell cancer in April. It was sad and difficult, but we had time to spoil her (even more than usual) and adjust to the fact that she would soon be gone. When Cedar crossed the rainbow bridge, we were left with Ginny, our sweet 11 year old malamute. Mals are not known to live long lives, but Ginny’s lab work could have been that of a much younger dog. We looked forward to loving her for several more years.
One day in May, while on our usual walk, Ginny slowed down…way down. Once home, she spent the day panting heavily. The vet determined that Ginny had an issue with her spine. We went home with medication and limited hope of recovery. We rode a rollercoaster of despair and hope for a bit over a week as she alternately suffered and rallied. I have always had a strong conviction not to let an animal suffer and, ultimately, we let Ginny go. I was far from ready to say goodbye to her, however I knew in my heart that I would never be ready. Even now, as I compose this, the pain is as raw as it was on June 5th. It’s been almost 3 months and I still shed tears most every day, but it’s time that I finally post a tribute to this beautiful soul.
We rescued Ginny when she was almost 8 1/2 - I knew that it wouldn’t be a long relationship, but I wasn’t prepared for how much I would grow to love her in such a short time. Ginny wasn’t just a happy dog, she personified joy. I desperately miss her excited zoomies when we prepared for a walk, her impatient woos while she awaited her evening treat, her quiet knock on the door when she wanted to come into the house, and even her sassyness when she didn’t get her way. I love gardening and one of Ginny’s idiosyncrasies was that she would stop to smell flowers (literally) when we were out for a walk. Stole my heart every time. She was dog reactive, but adored children - ADORED them - and was incredibly gentle with them. We planned our walks to coincide with recess at the local elementary school and the children would come running to pet Ginny as she pressed her large, fluffy body against the fence, then rewarded them with happy woos. We walked twice a day and many in our neighborhood knew her - it wasn’t unusual for people to stop their cars to say “Hi Ginny!” She left an indelible mark on so many people.
On Ginny’s final day, she was no longer able to walk by the school as it was too far for her weak hind legs to carry her. I loaded her into the car and took her to the local park so that she could walk on the grass. We saw a small child and Ginny walked right by… It was then that I knew she was ready… Her joy was gone. Absolutely the most devastatingly painful decision I’ve ever had to make.
Ginny was amazing and I am so lucky that I had the chance to love her.
Love your pups. Treasure every single day.