I want to share with you some of the reasons I feel Ginger was the best.
It was within the first month of finding Ginger that I taught her to sit on command. It took all of 5 minutes for her to learn. Shortly after, I remember using the microwave and setting it for 5 minutes. While my dinner was cooking, I taught Ginger to give me her paw. Before the meal was done, she was giving me her paw.
This is the best and no doubt the most important thing I ever taught Ginger. I taught her not to cross the street. She learned very quickly. I decided to put her through the test. I was realizing I had a dog who was totally obsessed with playing ball. I threw it for her a few times, she retrieved it, and always brought it right back. I looked up my street, saw no cars coming, and threw the ball hard enough so it would go into the street. She chased it and stopped at the curb, turned and looked at me and waited for me to get it. Amazingly, shortly after that, we were out front, she saw a squirrel, and gave chase. The squirrel ran across the street and Ginger stopped at the curb. Everything you read so far was within the first 2 months of finding her.
My neighbor used to have a frisbee dog who had passed many years ago. He felt Ginger could be one as well and suggested I try it. I happened to have a frisbee. It was a big, heavy frisbee (the kind you use on a beach). I took her up to the field (where I usually walked her), made a perfect throw, she caught it while totally off the ground, brought it right back, gave it to me, and wanted me to do it again. She caught it again. Ginger was a natural athlete. I feel certain she had never done this before. My friend had literature on frisbee competitions. After reading it, I ordered some regulation frisbees, smaller and lighter than the one I was using, That summer, I entered her in her first competition. I'm telling you, the only reason we didn't take 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place was because I felt pressure and made a few errant throws. But she was a champ in my eyes. Everyone had to have their dogs leashed except for the one who was competing at the moment. Some of the other dogs, who were quite good while competing, were easily distracted and would run over to the other dogs. Not Ginger, she was totally focused on what we were doing. Nothing else mattered to her when I had a ball or frisbee or stick in my hand.
After tossing a ball a few times, Ginger would start showing her teeth at the ball after giving it back to me. I never saw a dog do this. While showing her teeth you could take your free hand and try to put it in her mouth and she'd push it away. That is an example of how she was so obsessed.
One time, within the 1st few years of finding Ginger, I walked her up to the field. She ran not too far away to take care of business. At the far end of the field a couple, who I had never seen before, were tossing a frisbee to each other. Ginger saw them before I did. She immediately ran towards them. The guy was tossing the frisbee to his girlfriend, Ginger came out of nowhere, and caught it in midair just moments before his girlfriend could catch it. I yelled out to them "SORRY". They thought it was the coolest thing and asked if they could throw it for her. Needless to say I told them of course.
Ginger never tore up a frisbee. She never tried to chew it. They did wind up with teeth marks in them after time just from catching them. I always had a supply of new ones.
When playing ball with Ginger, you had to play by Ginger's rules. Many would sit on my couch, even strangers to her, and she would always (and I do mean always) bring a ball to them and place it at their feet, back up a few steps, and stare at you. If you ignored her the ball would wind up on your lap. Now here comes the teeth showing part. So many times, as you would reach for the ball on your lap or the floor, she would grab it real quick before you could. Sometimes your hand and her mouth would be grabbing the ball at the same time, and you would feel her mouth and teeth on your hand, but absolutely no pressure. It did scare some people. It was so funny. I knew she would never bite anyone. Ginger was so predictable and I loved it.
Ginger's reflexes were lightning quick. Many times when we played ball I would find myself kicking it. Ginger would watch my foot very carefully. When I moved my foot to the left of the ball, she would quickly move to the right. I'd keep moving my foot all around without kicking the ball and she'd keep changing position in anticipation of the ball coming her way. We were doing this just days before she passed and she was still quick.
Ginger loved all people, especially children. She was great with cats. She was attacked twice by dogs and was pretty leery around dogs she didn't know, especially if they tried to sniff her. Ginger would not approach a dog she didn't know, but she would approach a cat. I always felt comfortable walking her without a leash, but always had it with me just in case.
Ginger was so unique around cats. She would approach a cat she didn't know, and the moment the cat got into a defensive posture, Ginger would walk away. It rarely took long before she made friends with cats. Just a couple of months before her death there was a stray cat out front. He was scared of people and wouldn't let me pet him. Would you believe that cat befriended Ginger before me? He started rubbing against her.
This is funny. A few years ago around Christmas time my neighbors put a life size Santa doll on a chair on their lawn. I was talking to a neighbor, and Ginger, as usual, had a tennis ball in her mouth. Ginger walked over to Santa and actually tried putting the ball in his hand. She kept trying, but Santa wasn't grabbing it. We laughed so hard. I wish so much I had that on video.
Just 2 days before Ginger died, when I brought her out front, she still brought a ball out with her, but laid on the grass with it. The desire was still there, but the strength was not. Ginger was very weak. The day before she died, she actually showed improvement. She was lying on my living room floor. I took a ball and slowly rolled it towards her. She grabbed it and started mouthing it, you know, just moving it all around in her mouth. I had hope. Less than 24 hours later she died.
Ginger was very special to me. She will always be in my heart. I will never stop missing her. Ginger was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma almost 6 1/2 years prior to her death. Since she was diagnosed I never spent a night apart from her.
I do hope anyone who happens upon Ginger's web site can have as much success with their best friends as I did.
Best of luck to everyone,
Steve & Ginger (my precious sweet ANGEL)