I have happened on friendships of various depths through my work as a dog trainer/behaviorist. Some of whom move on but don’t lose touch. Here’s one former client, now friend, relocated to the land of Maine, who recently shared this gem with me and I thought it worth sharing. It helps us remember how truly awesome dogs can be.

Here’s a story about Ginger, Crash’s girlfriend.

Crash is my dog. Ginger was a neighbor’s dog. She and Crash fell in love and eloped. They had puppies last summer, all rehomed now to excellent homes. Ginger’s owners had to move this month. Though they loved Ginger dearly, no dogs were allowed, so she could not go with them. They asked if I would consider her. I took Ginger immediately. After all, she is Crash’s love, the mother of his children, and I wanted another dog. Ginger was great, she has a very sunny personality, I could see Crash’es attraction to her.

Anyway, I had her spayed, thinking I’d keep her with us, on the farm. We loved those puppies, but enough is enough. Before her spay Ginger was also bathed at a local kennel. The kennel owner remarked that she really liked Ginger and that Ginger might make a good dog for her dad, who lived alone. But I was keeping this lovely dog. No plans to rehome her.

Ginger, Crash and I had a great deal of fun, especially on our walks. I’d been very apprehensive about another dog as Crash is innately territorial. Yet he was great with Ginger, offered her every leniency. I knew there would be no trouble there. She accompanied us throughout the day as I worked in the stable with the horses. She was fitting in beautifully to farm life. However, something was not quite right. I could see with each passing day that Ginger was ever more jealous of the close relationship between Crash and me. She wanted to be Top Dog. She wanted to snuggle in my lap on the couch. But that sort of thing is Crash’es job. Here, she would never be number one dog because Crash is my Best Guy and the position is simply not negotiable. After a bit of soul searching I called Dawn the kennel owner, with her father in mind. What I didn’t know was that ever since bathing Ginger, she herself had been thinking about Ginger for her father, Don. She had mentioned the dog to him. He had wanted to meet Ginger.

Don, whose previous dog had died some time ago, lives alone. His daughter lives next door and runs a kennel. Yesterday I dropped off Ginger for a visit. Don looked a bit tentative. He has some complications due to diabetes, and though he walks 2 miles a day, drives and does his own grocery shopping, he is not 100% by any means. He himself had concerns about whether or not he wanted to take on the demands of a new dog. Ginger took to him instantly. She has a way of winning people over, is very charismatic. She will literally hug you with her paw. Well, she tried her best to hug him, but he’s a tall man. I could see that Ginger charm beginning to work right away.

I left them for a few hours. When I returned, Dawn told me she had checked on Ginger and her dad at one point, and found the two of them watching the football game, Ginger sitting in his lap (she weighs 50 lbs.). Dawn said she hadn’t seen her father smile like that in a long time. And when I saw them together, I could see it was meant to be. The TV was on. And there was Don in the recliner, with Ginger was standing with her paws in Don’s lap as he continually stroked her head. She looked very happy. So did he.

Of course Ginger would stay with Don. I could not take her way, after seeing that happy scene. Ginger clearly has found her human. She will stay with Don for good. She has a job. Her own human being. Crash and I miss her, but it is rewarding to know that one elderly gentleman has a richer life today because he found a great little dog and she, him. I am sure Don’s only regret today is that the Patriots lost the game and will not go to the Superbowl.

Post Note: Since I wrote this, I’ve visited Don twice to see how the two of them are doing. He told me that Ginger sleeps in the bed next to him. (This, from a man who wouldn’t let cats in the house in years past.) She watches TV sitting in his lap. She walks 2 miles with him daily. She rides shotgun in the truck while he plows snow. She looks relaxed, more like a puppy than ever, and is very playful. Together, they looked a perfect match.

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