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Ginko’s igloo and other tales

While sorting through some archived photos, I came across this one of Ginko from March 2003. We’d had an incredible blizzard that dumped like 5-6 feet of snow very quickly. We were stranded at home for about a week. That’s how long it took to clear our football-field-long driveway.

Tom decided to build an igloo by digging down into the snow, then building up. Ginko loved the darn thing. If we couldn’t find him … he was inside.

It seemed appropriate to share for the holiday season.

Ginko Igloo march 2003

And, while I’m at it, I’ll say some nice things about Ginko. Since I write more about Lilly, you might think that I don’t love Ginko as much, but that’s not the case.

I adore this big goofy boy. We’ve been through a lot with him, from deadly parvo as a pup to 2 blown knees at age 3. This photo was taken a few months before his injuries became apparent. The doctors say “No,” but I suspect that he may have hurt himself running and jumping through this very deep snow.

Here’s a shot I took of him snoozling in my office on Monday. He almost NEVER bugs me while I work, unless he really needs me. And, I appreciate that so much about him. Plus, if you want to take a nap, Ginko is your man. He is a most excellent snuggler. The bonus? He’s practically as big as a person, and he’s really, really warm.

sleeping ginko dec 2007

As a Lab-Greyhound mix, Ginko is smart, but in a different way than Lilly is. Ginko has street smarts, common sense, compared to Lilly’s book smarts. When I talk to Lilly, it has to be in command/cue type language. But, with Ginko, I can say whatever to him, and he understands. He’s just very easy to be around.

He’s basically a good, good boy. Surely, we made some training mistakes with him. For example, he thinks praise is a release command. Why? Because when he was little, we would let him pop up after doing something right. We didn’t know better.

Ginko is NOT a great heeler. I use a Halti to walk him, and  he’s not terrible about pulling really, but he has no concept of staying right next to me. Why? Because we never really made him.

In fact, when he was quite young, there was an area we hiked with him off leash all the time. Back then, only people who lived up here knew about it, and we could hike for 5-6 hours and not see a single person. So, we let him run off leash. He rarely went too far ahead, and if he did, he would circle back to get us.

Only once did he take off after some deer and run well out of sight and voice range. It was scary, but we stood on a big rock and clapped our hands until he found his way back.

Today, those 2,000+ acres are an open space park with tons of traffic, so when he goes, it’s not very far (because of his knees) and he’s on leash (because of the many people, mountain bikes and horses).

I know that one reason I think of Ginko as such a mellow, good, easy boy is that I don’t ask much of him. I’m sure if I tried to get him to do some of the things I ask of Lilly that I’d be writing instead about how stubborn he is or something.

But, that’s not his role. He’s just my big monkey man. And, he’d win the Nobel Peace Prize for putting up with bossy, bossy, bossy Lilly. Check out this shot. He doesn’t care that Lilly is barking at him. He doesn’t care that she’s going to bulldoze into him as he fetches the ball. He’s just glad to be playing. And, the BALL out-ranks everything … except maybe food.

dogs in snow dec 07 004

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

Lisa - December 22, 2007

Re that third photo:

Now *there’s* a photo worth a thousand words!

Rox - December 21, 2007

He is indeed. We haven’t told him yet because he gets so excited, but he LOVES my mother-in-law. Loves, loves, loves her. And, he’s so gentle with her. It’s very sweet. He’ll sit by the windows and watch for her when we tell him she’s coming.

So, when she comes to visit, we let her get settled in bed, then we tell Ginko … “Go snuggle with Grandma.” And, he shoots up the stairs and jumps in bed with her. He lays there perfectly still all night.

I’m not saying he doesn’t have his issues. He’s not great with strangers (especially men). He thinks it’s hilarious to lick the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. And such.

But, in general, if you ask him anything, his answer is YES!

Do you want to go outside? YES!

Do you want to go inside? YES!

Who wants a puppy treat to go in their box (our word for crate)? ME!

Cedarfield - December 21, 2007

I wish I could crawl right into that bed with Ginko and curl up for a nap–he looks so warm and cozy 🙂

Elayne - December 20, 2007

Sometimes I wish I had a house full of big mellow doofy Ginko type dogs.

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