I’ve never slept with a dog in my life. But then, I met Ginny. Growing up, dogs were never allowed over the threshold of the back door, much less on the furniture or, God forbid, in the bed.
When we moved to the country, four years ago, I cautiously entertained the idea of getting another dog. It had been a number of years since we put Sam, our Golden Retriever, down. He was a big part of my children’s life, but I knew that a large dog was no longer in my future. Too much energy, too much mess – not portable.
Shep, the proprietor of a local vegetable stand, bred Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. I stopped by one day to do a little shopping and to inquire about his puppies. It just so happened that his son had a female “ruby”, almost four years old, that he was trying to place in a new home. His sales pitch was convincing – beautiful young lady, charming, laid-back, never met a stranger ….
Housebroken. Ready to Go. A verbal agreement was struck.
Our first meeting was memorable. I fell in love with her striking, cinnamon color and those sensitive, inquiring eyes. However, like Audrey Hepburn, in My Fair Lady, she would need a considerable make-over. A proper hairstyle, a pedicure and a once-over by our vet.
We brought her home and she was introduced to her new surroundings. Tyson, a neighbor’s miniature pincher, was the first to press a call. He didn’t exactly ingratiate himself on the initial visit as he came tearing over the hill at full speed, barking up a storm. Ginny was polite, but cool. Over time, she developed a friendship with Tyson and a healthy respect for the same neighbor’s horses. She loved to explore, but always scurried back home before I began to worry.
She sustained me through the first winter in our house while my husband was traveling and darkness fell early. We have a comfortable club chair and ottoman in our kitchen where she draped over my lap or stretched out in the sliver between my hips and the arm of the chair, keeping me warm, along with my favorite throw.
Thirty minutes before bed was our scheduled bonding time. No interruptions. Often, we would sit in semi-darkness and meditate. Regularly, I would carry on a one-way conversation – her eyes responding with a silent dialogue of understanding.
If life was a little unsettled, I would ask her if everything was going to be alright, tears rolling down my cheeks and collecting on her fur. She was always reassuring. She stole my heart and restored my soul.
Now, there are three of us in the bed. I am lulled to sleep by a sonata of simultaneous snoring and an occasional three second snort.