A canoeing pup

A canoeing pup

We did the unthinkable.

We took a hound that is terrified of water and stuck her in a boat. A little boat. A tippy boat.

Rest assured, we came out of the adventure mostly dry, so it wasn’t quite the adventure we had prepared for. (And we had prepared–cell phones and keys were in a water proof container, sinkable items were fastened to the boat, two PFDs on board for us, and the pup had one on. We were ready to tip.)

We ordered Ginger’s life jacket online a few weeks ago after we had planned a canoe outing only to discover that neither pet stores nor outdoor supply stores generally carry dog flotation devises on their shelves. When the life jacket arrived in the mail, I tried it on her just to make sure it would fit.

Ginger in her life vest.

It did, but it also had an amazing calming affect on my dog. As in, she wouldn’t move, not an inch. She stood stock still staring at the ground for a long time… Eventually I took it off of her and just-like-that she was back to her energetic self. Interesting…

We were hoping that calming effect would work again when we loaded her up for the real test. It took a bit of convincing to get her to voluntarily hop into the boat, but after a few tries, we got her in. We settled her just behind me, where she had plenty of room and wouldn’t be in the way.

Taking the puppy canoeing.

The puppy spent most of her time pressed against me, but she ventured off a bit and even attempted to drink the bay water. She sniffed the sea breeze and watched the fish jump out of the water. She calmed down quite well except for when we hit some chop, which made her whimper a bit.

In all, I’d call it a very successful adventure. We’re looking forward to taking her out more and more so she gets used to it. Maybe someday we’ll do a canoe/camping trip and take her along =).

A canoeing pup.

Because she makes me smile

Because she makes me smile

Our puppy.

Husband and I were recently hit with a $350 bill after taking Ginger to a nearby animal clinic due to some digestive issues that began soon after our last camping trip.

I’m not sure about you, but an unexpected $350 bill hits us a little hard. And it made me start to contemplate why I’m willing to pay such an amount, and make the sacrifices required to do so, just for a pet.

Already my inner-animal-lover is yelling: Just? Just?! Just a PET?!?

Because Ginger is not “just a pet”, she is a member of our family. No, I’m not crazy. I don’t call her my “fur baby” and she’s certainly not elevated to the status of a human child. But nonetheless she is an important member of our family.

You see, Husband and I first got Ginger when he was working excruciatingly long hours (coupled with a two-hour commute!) and we had just gotten married. I was still in grad school and only working part time. In short, I was home, alone, a lot. (See how tiny she was?!)

Ginger as a puppy.

Ginger provided company for me, and a sense of security for my husband (knowing I would be safe while he was away). Ginger was a precious first Christmas present from my new husband, and one that I treasure.

Sure, there have been frustrations (house training??), but there has also been so much joy. Ginger greets each day with enthusiasm and delight. She is always sorry to see us leave in the morning, and walks me to the door to watch me go. But she is there again every evening to greet me with all her puppy-wiggling joy. She teaches me every day what it means to live with joie de vivre. She shows me what it means to embrace life, to stretch out in the sun or jump at the opportunity of a good walk.

The puppy is full of joy.

Sometimes I think no one else can love me as my dog does, except perhaps God. After all, if I lose my temper, yell and shout, she just snuggles all the closer, never blaming, never giving up. If I am sad, she lays her head in my lap and licks my cheek. If I am happy, she races around with delight and excitement. I wish I could love the way Ginger does.

Husband still works long hours, and there are many evenings I spend alone. But I’m not really alone, because I have this little shadow…

Our puppy, Ginger

She keeps me company, she does silly things that make me laugh, she is a superb listener (strictly speaking, not in reference to her “obedience” level), but most of all, she makes me smile.

{Moments of Inspiration}

{Moments of Inspiration}

“Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them; for those experiences have left an indelible impression, and we are ever and anon reminded of them.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

Our puppy, Ginger

After we returned from New York, Ginger wouldn’t leave my side. This is the view I woke up to…

Introducing…

Introducing…

Would you like to meet the newest members of my little family? I thought so =).

These adorable creatures were my Christmas present from Husband. Their names are Gidget and Fidget, and although they look a whole lot alike, there are some very distinct personality differences here–mainly that Gidget loves people and loves to curl up in my sweatshirt hood, and Fidget loves to escape us to explore.

Sugar Glider

They are Sugar Gliders, which is a type of marsupial from Australia. I still have a lot to learn about these guys, but I’ve been doing my research and they are truly fascinating characters. They love to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, they have opposable thumbs on both their hands and feet, which makes them great at climbing, hanging upside down, and holding things with their feet. When they walk, they waddle. They like to jump from one person to another and they climb up really high and glide down like a flying squirrel.

My Christmas present from Husband

In the wild, they live in tree tops and eat meal-worms and tree sap that they find under the bark. They like to sleep somewhere soft, though, so my girlies have a hanging pouch of fleece that they huddle in. Like many little creatures, they are nocturnal (you can see how adorably big their eyes are!), so I have mine set up in a room with a red light–easier for us to see them without hurting their eyes.

New family members!

New sugar glider

Many more pics to come, I’m sure. They’re too adorable not to photograph!

TC 15: The Puppy

Do I have words enough to express how thankful I am for my puppy?

Ginger was a Christmas present from Husband last year–a Craigslist-puppy that was a bundle of energy and cuteness when she came to us at 5 months old. That was nearly a year ago.

Ginger's first Christmas

After months of house-training, crate-training, and all kinds of other training, Ginger is more adolescent than puppy. Her legs are lanky and she doesn’t always seem to know where they will land. She is awkward and clumsy at times, but also very agile and athletic. She’s a lovely little (55 lbs) hound mix and her nose gets her into trouble sometimes (like when she tries to smell our dinner plates and the aroma begs her to take a lick too).

When we first brought Ginger home, we lived in a beach house in Sandbridge. The house is on stilts and she had no idea how to climbs stairs, so we had to carry her up and down the steps the first few days! Ginger and I walked on the beach almost every morning, in spite of the cold and wind. She loves the beach, although she won’t get anywhere near the water.

Ginger at the beach

Now we live in the country and Ginger has started coming to the barn with me. She’s both interested in and intimidated by the “big puppies” in the stalls. She likes to romp in the fields and chase our neighbors chickens (a habit we are desperately trying to break her of!).

Ginger in the country

Over the past year, she has been companion and friend to me as Husband has worked several demanding jobs in our year of marriage.

I know a lot of people who like dogs but wonder if it is really worth the effort. I cannot imagine anything SO worth it! Animals bring so much joy to my life, why would I not sacrifice the time and work it requires to keep them? Husband thinks I’m starting my own private zoo, and he may be right. I just can’t imagine my life without these lovely creatures.

Ginger in the papasanI love waking up to a gentle little lick on the tip of my nose. Or to a snuggly Ginger making sleepy noises when she wants to sleep in on Sunday mornings. I even love that Ginger thinks she still fits on the papasan with me like she did when she was 35 lbs. And I don’t even mind that she steals our socks any chance she gets. We call her “the Little Sock Thief” and “Ramona the Pest” and “In the Way Puppy.”

And we love her for every moment of happiness she brings us.

Ginger camping

Ginger in the snow

Ginger with paint on her

Ginger Sleeping

Ginger face carved in pumpkin