My Ginger, our lives revolved around you for so long that it almost feels like the world has ended now that you're not with us any longer. I feel your story must be told now, in your memory, just as I told it to so many during your lifetime. SHARING YOUR LIFE WITH A PET IS FOR A LIFETIME, FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE, NOT JUST WHEN IT'S CONVENIENT.
Ginger's Story--I can remember it well. In the Fall of 1988 a good friend of mine asked me if I would like to go to the Smoky Mountain area with her to visit her family. I felt I needed a few days off, so I agreed. Toward the end of the trip we went further into the mountains to visit her sister, a Dachshund breeder. I saw a playpen in the middle of her living room and went over to investigate. There you were standing in the front wagging your little tail while your siblings slept. I picked you up and we bonded immediately. That night I just couldn't get you out of my mind. My friend called her sister and asked if you were available. She was told that the whole litter was going to a pet store in town, but I could take you if I wanted. We headed right back there the next day and picked you up. You were so cute and so well behaved on the long trip back home. Your name was given to you on the way home--Smoky Mountain Ginger.
Your puppy years were so happy and carefree. You grew from a clumsy little weenie dog into a beautiful adult Dachshund. We searched for the perfect daddy so we could also provide a home for your offspring. We located a breeder not too far from home and took you to visit. There you met "True Grit", a good-looking black Doxie who would be the father to your only litter.
Bart, Tiffany, Schatzee, and Gretchen were born on a snowy winter night, January 16, 1990. I wanted to keep all 4 pups, but Schatzee and Gretchen were already promised to friends. We kept Bart (the only boy) and Tiffany (the smallest of the four). The three of you kept us laughing for years to come with some of your antics. After the pups were born, you Dad nicknamed you Little Mama. That name stuck with you for the rest of your life.
December 23, 1992 was the day that was to change our lives completely and teach us the real meaning of love, devotion, and sacrifice. You woke up that morning and seemed to be in pain. You didn't want to walk up the stairs and you seemed to be dragging your left back leg a little. I took you to the vet that afternoon and you received a shot for pain and some pain pills. The vet said to just let you rest. The next morning (December 24) you didn't want to walk at all. I called the vet and he said he would be in the office only until noon. I took you down there and he decided to keep you there where you could stay in a cage and not move around. This was a very big mistake. I should have found a specialist or an emergency clinic, but at the time I never heard of "Calcified Disc Syndrome" and what the outcome of this disease would be if not treated within 36 hours. So you sat at the vet's office all day Christmas Eve, all day Christmas day, Saturday, and Sunday before you were transferred to a specialist on Monday morning. By then the disc in your back had ruptured and cut through your spinal cord. You had surgery to remove the disc, but your spinal cord couldn't be repaired. Your back legs would be permanently paralyzed along with the muscles that controlled your bladder. It was suggested that we let you go right then, but we decided to give you the best life that we could. I had to learn how to empty your bladder and give you any specialized care that you would need when you came home from the hospital 3 weeks later.
You loved life so much and lived it to the fullest. You adapted to your disability so well and so naturally that if it weren't for having to watch the clock and empty your bladder 4 times a day, we would have forgotten you were paralyzed. You really had a knack for getting around. You would take those back legs and cross them over each other. Then you would propel yourself forward just like a seal. You could move just as fast and play just as hard as Bart and Tiffany. We thought about getting you a doggie wheelchair, but you didn't need it. The front part of your body became so strong that it made up for not being able to move your back legs.
For the next 11 1/2 years our way of life changed to accommodate your needs. We arranged our schedules so that your bladder could be emptied on time to avoid infection. We still took yearly vacations, but the vacation had to be planned around you so that we could take you with us. You loved to travel and would get so excited when you saw us packing. I will never be able to travel again without thinking about you and the wonderful times we had when we went on vacation.
You became such a huge part of every day living. I never once felt I was missing out on something because of you. A lot of other people couldn't understand this. I believe that because of you I am able to pass on the message that having a pet is a responsibility that can never be taken lightly and should be considered very carefully before even bringing the pet into the home. A pet is a living creature and depends on his "people" family to love him, protect him, and care for him even when things are tough, and probably especially when things are tough. Sometimes this means a great sacrifice for the family. We had to sacrifice a small part of our lives, but you gave us so much more in return.
You've only been gone a few weeks now, taken by old age complications and kidney failure. You fought so hard right up until the end. My life seems so empty now without you. You are with your daughters, Tiffany and Schatzee, both taken by cancer. Please watch over your son, Bart, who is still with us. I see a part of you in him and pray that I can have him with me for a few more good years.
You have left pawprints on the hearts of many and the memories we have will remain with us forever, my Little Mama.
OCTOBER 5, 2012--My sweet girl, today it's been 9 years that you left us. Your spirit still surrounds us constantly. You are always in our hearts. Dad and I have been thinking about you so much lately as these years keep slipping by. We hope you, Tiffany, Bart, and all the others we've lost over the years were at the Bridge gate last night. Benji told us last night that it was his time to leave also. I know you remember Benji. He was just a young dog when you were still here with us. He is now nearly 17 years old, cancer stricken, and was ready to join all his friends at the Bridge. We will always miss him as we miss you. Maybe you can share one of those chew bones you love so much with Benji. We love all of you.
OCTOBER 5, 2013--My baby....it's been 10 years ago today that you left us. We still think about you all the time. You were always to brave and courageous and I know you're still the leader of the pack at the Bridge. Please stop by for a visit. Dad and I miss you so much. Love from Mommy...
OCTOBER 5, 2016....Thirteen years since I held you in my arms. But you'll be in my heart forever. You were my heart dog and I'll always love you.
Please also visit Homer, Sandy & Gypsy and Tiffany.