As we grow older, it would seem that we should grow more used to a loved one passing. That it should be easier to say goodbye. Carrie & I have been together 22 years and during those years we have had 13 wonderful furkids -- 8 of which we have had to say goodbye to. But instead of getting easier, saying our last goodbyes seemed to have gotten more difficult. Our latest departure -- Ginny Weasley -- being so very tough on our hearts. Probably because it was not expected. |
Ginny arrived in our lives because of the loss of another of our furkids (Brody). At the time we had 2 senior Shelties (Barclay & Bonnie) and a senior kitty (Henry). We had gotten Brody (who was 7) to help see us through knowing that we would probably be losing our Shelties within a few years. But when we rescued Brody, we discovered that he had been dealing with heart worms for several years and we lost him in less than a year. So we went looking again to fill that void with another Sheltie. Unfortunately, none were currently available so we turned to Guardian Angels Pet Rescue in Memphis to see what they might have. Our friend, Debbie, indicated that she had recently rescued a sheltie-sized young girl from a local shelter. She was sable & white, but the sable had a reddish ting. They didn't know her name, but had nicknamed her Reba (for her red fur). We agreed to a home visit and quickly discovered that this young girl was a force of nature.
When Reba came to visit, she was a ball of energy. She was leaping from floor to chair, from chair to sofa, from lap to lap. We were afraid that she was too much energy, but we also quickly discovered that she was also full of something else -- love. This little girl loved everything. And when she jumped into your arms, she would lavish her affection upon you. And also, after a few minutes, she would settle down and relax. But you could always see that twinkle in her eyes.
Even though she wasn't a Sheltie, we knew she was special. And most of all, we knew that she had found a forever home. We adopted her immediately. But we didn't think Reba was the right name for her. We have always been hesitant to change a dog's name if they were accustomed to that name. She had only been called Reba for a few days so we tried calling out every name we could think of to see if she showed any reaction to any of them. She didn't, so we felt better in trying to name her. After long discussions, and trying to accommodate her red fur, we were watching a Harry Potter movie one night. In the first couple of films, there was a very young & shy red-headed girl who was kind of in the background. But she was also a character who later developed into a strong & powerful woman. We immediately knew we have found our little girl's name -- Ginny Weasley!
We also discovered that Ginny wanted to play -- something our two seniors Shelties were not interested in. But Ginny kept bugging them to play, so we knew pretty quickly that we needed another addition to keep Ginny company. We made a visit to the Memphis Humane Society and decided to split-up. After each of us searching all the various dogs we came back together and each of us thought we found the right dog. Turned out that separately we both picked the same dog. Lacey was a 5-year-old black flat-costed retriever who had been with the Humane Society for about 18 months. She had been picked up on the streets with her son. Lacey's son had been adopted, but being a large, black dog, Lacey had not. We saw that she was very gentle and good around other dogs. We brought Ginny out to the Humane Society to test her out with Lacey. At first, we were concerned (as was Ginny) because Lacey was so much bigger than Ginny. But after a few minutes, Ginny's personality took over and she started playing with Lacey. Once Ginny saw that Lacey was not objecting to Ginny's strong personality, the two got along tremendously. And we knew we had found a perfect match.
Ginny was always full of energy. For every meal, Ginny would get so excited -- like she hadn't eaten in days. She would spin & spin until I put her food bowl down. At our home in Memphis, we had a 20-foot ramp built off our back deck because our older dogs could not handle steps. Ginny used to race down the ramp and about down go flying out into the yard. There was a large tree close to the bottom of the ramp and Carrie was always worried that Ginny might leap right into it! But she never did.
Over the years Ginny was always full of personality, but as she got older she did slow down -- a bit. After we lost Lacey, Ginny was racing around the back yard playing with one of our new dogs (Bear) when she zigged when she should have zagged. She came up limping on a back leg. We didn't think too much of it but when it wasn't much better after a couple of days, we discovered she had strained a ligament. They suggested possible surgery but with her small size they weren't sure how successful it would be. We decided not to do the surgery and see how rest might work. After some rest, she was pretty much back to normal, but she lost some of her "spring". And over the next few years, it would pop up again is Ginny tried to do too much. But it never slowed down her enthusiasm.
Nobody was a stranger to Ginny. If you came to visit, she would immediately want to leap into your lap and show you how wonderful she was. Ginny had an amazing gift of being able to time her leap just perfectly so that as you started to sit down she would leap and land in your lap just as you hit the seat cushion. If you wouldn't let her get in your lap, she would lay beside you and ask for a tummy rub.
And speaking of tummy rubs, about the last five years Ginny would wait for me in the bathroom when I was taking a shower. The minute I stepped out of the shower, Ginny would lay in front of me on her back and wouldn't get up until I rubbed her tummy. Ginny also loved to "snake" you. You would be lying on the couch or in bed and Ginny would jump up on you. She would then slither her way up your body until she got to your head. She would then shower you with kisses.
When we got Ginny, she was our youngest. Then 11 years later, she had become our oldest. We knew she was slowing down, but otherwise seemed pretty healthy. She was 12, but with her size was figured that she would be with us for at least another few years. Everything seemed fine until that day. I had been sleeping on the couch that night due to some back pain and whenever I did that Ginny would lay right in front of the couch with me. I got up about 6 am to let the pups out and get their breakfast, but I noticed that Ginny wasn't with the others. I thought that she might have been in the bedroom with Carrie and Ginny had been slowing losing some of her hearing so maybe she was just sound asleep and hadn't heard me. When I brought the other pups back in, there was still no Ginny. I looked into the bedroom and saw her stretched out on the floor. She could have been sleeping, but I just knew that wasn't the case. I went over to her and saw her eyes were open. As I petted her, I could feel her body was cold. Sometime during the night, Ginny left us. I don't know what caused it, but she looked peaceful. I just wish I could have been with her when it happened, but she knew that Carrie & I loved her, and that she was surrounded by love her entire life with us.
It is never easy to say goodbye. As I grow older, each passing seems to get harder. And as I write this, it has been nearly 2 years since Ginny left us. Writing this even today is still so painful. But every time I think of Ginny, I smile. Our little girl was so full of energy and life. And love. Especially love. Everyday when I get out of the shower, I still reach down, call her name and rub her belly. She will be forever with us, and we shall remember her in our hearts for all the rest of our lives. Rest easy, sweet Ginny Weasley. Mom & Dad love you.
*November 9, 2020. Hello Ginny. Today marks 2 years since you left us. I wish you would have told us you were going to leave, but I know you didn't want to. We still feel you in our hearts and I always give you a tummy rub when I get out of the shower each morning. We love you little girl. We'll meet you at the Bridge one day soon. Rest easy, Ginny Weasley. Love, Dad.