Recently, I have had cause to ponder my days so far on the round planet. My pondering has taken me on a “cornucoptic” array of memories, some recent, some not.
We once again have entered or may be well into what is commonly referred to as the dog days of summer. It is believed the Greeks came up with these terms, which is based on the star cluster Sirius or “the dog.” This star cluster became more visible during the hottest months of the year, which could vary by where you lived. For instance, in Australia, the dog days may be in December and January, in Russia about two weeks in June, and so on. But I digress.
This summer, I find myself reminiscing about one of the finest dogs to ever walk on four legs.
Ginger was our Cocker Spaniel that we got in 2000 when she was 2 1/2 months old. Officially, her AKC registration name was Lady Gingersnap of Gridley Place, but most people refer to her simply as The Ging.
From day one, it was clear Ginger was the best dog we have ever had. Her demeanor was always gentle and kind, a fact backed up by intensive research by the New York Kennel Association’s revelation that the Cocker Spaniel was the dog least likely to bite someone in the park.
Ging was here for 9/11, that horrific day in 2001 when our country changed forever. Ginger’s presence with that “it’s all good” attitude gave us reassurance that life would go on.
Ging was there when both kids graduated from high school, left for college and came home to visit. Ginger was always the first one to greet them, acting as though she had not seen them in years.
Ging was there when both kids graduated college and celebrated their achievements with that typical Ginger smile that gave the impression she was saying, “Hey, well done.”
Years ago, Ginger developed glaucoma in her left eye, but took it in stride. She never complained and just went on about her life. We had to insert drops a couple of times a day to keep the swelling down, but eventually she lost all vision in that eye.
After that, we noticed the Ging would not respond to our calls and when the un-scientific test of yelling in her ear provided no response, we realized Ging had joined the ranks of those that can no longer hear.
So it was in the dog days of summer that things went from bad to worse for Ginger when we noticed her walking into things. After a trip to the vet, it was confirmed that, as my youngest phrased it best, we now had the Helen Keller of dogs.
We had decided to make the best of a bad situation by taking care of the old girl in her waning years and sadly, those duties ended in 2015 when Ginger found her way into her kennel one last time and crossed the rainbow bridge.
Even now, six years later, every time I hear the term dog days, I am reminded of the Ging. If the movie “All Dogs Go to Heaven” is to be believed, I will one day meet up with Ginger. Her sight and hearing has been restored and she is living the good life.
Happy Dog Days to you all.
• Jonathan Freeburg is an Ottawa transplant for the past 26 years and a regular contributor to 1430 WCMY Radio. His real job is insurance as a cover-holder for Lloyd’s of London. He can be reached at email@example.com.