EARLY SUMMER EDITOR'S LETTER
Thirteen years ago I started one of the greatest love affairs of my life.
My children were 4, 6, 8, and 10. I was married with a house in the suburbs, a pool, and a lake house. My SUV was constantly full of sports gear or antiques, I loved my career, and we traveled often enough. Weeknights and weekends that weren’t spent at the lake were spent at horse shows, swim meets, or baseball games. Something was missing, and I knew in my heart what it was.
Secretly I searched websites and social media looking for the perfect match. I had a general idea of a handsome, athletic specimen - with dark eyes and hair. When I found her, my life changed forever.
My standard poodle, Ginger, is possibly the most “wanted” and “planned for” dog of all time. Having grown up on a farm, I always wanted my kids to have a healthy relationship and connection to animals (and desperately wanted to rescue a pup) - but our family is full of allergies; and after a while, the never-ending stream of beta fish grew tiring. In terms of timing, I wanted to maximize their memories with a dog, so my search began in earnest. We visited friends, family, and breeders with supposedly “hypo-allergenic” breeds, but left each time with puffy eyes, hives, and sneezing. One day, while at the lakehouse, I noticed that when the kids played with our neighbor’s dog, they had no reaction. Maggie was a standard poodle, though she didn’t look like my idea of a froufrou standard poodle. She was tall, trim, and fluffy - and loved my kids.
Contacting the breeder, I learned that a litter was due soon, and put in my deposit. We picked up Ginger in the fall of 2008 and fell in love instantly. The first few weeks were rough (Ginger had great taste - chewing the end off a rather nice oriental runner and the zipper from a particularly cute skirt from Anthropologie), but we fell into a routine of running together, swimming with the kids, and learning new tricks faster than we could think of them. Over the years, Ginger has developed a keen awareness of when someone needed an extra snuggle, a little nudging or direction (she can be pretty darn bossy, in fact), and just how far she can push the limits. Every time we took a “back-to-school” pic, Ginger would run out to the front steps and sit proudly, comically looking like she believed she was heading back, too.
This winter has been tough on Ginger, and her health is fading. It’s been tough to think about life without one of the most important members of our family, but I am dedicated to walking right beside her through these last days. In this issue, we are giving a nod to the importance of furry friends in honor of one of the loves of my life. To those of you who have loved and lost a family pet, my heart goes out to you. And to anyone whose love is still happily chasing a frisbee, stick, or ball - here’s to many a fun summer day losing yourself in the simplicity and friendship of an animal.