On February 22, 2012, I had to make the most heart-wrenching decision a pet-owner has to make.
I had to put down my beloved yellow Lab, and best friend Ginger.
Unlike her older “sister” Shadow who came before her, and sadly passed on before they could ever meet, Ginger was the Lab I could mold into the Lab I wanted her to be.
Quick note: I adopted Shadow (a black Lab) a year into her life and already well set in her Lab-ward ways. By contrast, I adopted Ginger has a puppy.
Regular readers have already read the story of how I came up with Shadow’s name, Ginger’s name in comparison came to me much easier, or in a “snap.”
Unlike Shadow who was fiercely loyal and independent to the very end, Ginger was very eager to please and very affectionate, to the point of clingy. She was, unlike Shadow, a true Velcro Lab.
Right down to the very end, and the longest (but not long enough) walk of our lives…from the parking lot to the vet’s office for the final time, she fittingly, but not surprisingly, clung to my side every step of the way. Oddly enough though, this time, our last time, she never pulled ahead, like she always did on our walks, eager to “get there first.” She took time to savor our walk, being by my side. It was like she knew this was our last time.
Afterwards, on the long walk back to the car, and for some time after, I felt guilty for what I did.
I am sure everyone has read stories of people finding “signs” left from those loved ones that have departed. I believe that our pets can leave us signs too.
My first few nights at work after losing her, I arrived early (since I couldn’t sleep without my sleeping buddy) and would pick up a snack for lunch later that night. For a solid week, I heard someone ask the sales clerk if the store sold, “Ginger Snap” cookies. Not chocolate chip, sugar, or Oreos, but Ginger Snaps.
I believe this was her way of saying “I’m okay” and she was at peace at what I did.
I am firm believer that we don’t choose our furry-four-legged best friends, but they choose us.
Oddly enough, this weekend, when I went to buy a snack for lunch, I heard someone ask for “Ginger Snaps.”
Instead of the tears that came two years before when I heard that, I instead smiled and looked up and whispered,