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January 12, 2016

Today, Ginko crossed over. He was 4 months shy of his 16th birthday – by far, the oldest dog in our family history. Rest in peace, Monkey Man, Snuffle Man, Stinko Monster, Golden-Eyed Good Boy …

Fan of toys, fetch, and food.

Lover of Rock music. Hater of Bluegrass.

Long-suffering brother to 4 sisters (2 super bossy, 2 super sweet).

Sofa Captain … faithfully piloting the couch so that it never ran aground on his watch.

We never knew which of his potentially fatal conditions would be the one. A survivor, Ginko ultimately succumbed to the ravages of time.

ginko obit photo

I’m confident that this is the best dog name I’ll ever think up.

Ginko joined our family in summer 2000 at 10 weeks old. With basically zero notice, Tom sprung him on me.

Ginko, champion of my heart, dog blogrox & baby ginko 2000We’d lost Tom’s dad, our lab named Cody, and our hedgehog named Xena back to back, and we needed some happiness in our lives. Ginko was more than happy to oblige.

We knew he was Lab + Something. The bigger he got, we figured out that the Something was Greyhound. I often joked he either looked like the skinniest Lab you’d ever seen or the fattest Greyhound, depending on which part of him you saw first.

His ears were epic.

KEEP - ginko_baby

ginko silly ears 2000He broke countless terracotta flowerpots while trying to sniff the flowers, and we started calling him The Moth because he had a penchant for nibbling tiny holes in fabric.

We’re pretty sure Ginko had a 6th Sense because he seemed to KNOW when one of us was coming home and would wait by the door or window about 5 minutes before we drove up.

He was raised by our late Dalmatian, Penelope.
penelope and ginko sleeping 2000

penelope and ginko in backyard 2000

He went on to return the favor with …

(our late) Lilly

Whom he once saved from a rattlesnake.

KEEP - ginko_control

Pups-playing-6 Snugglepups2KEEP Lilly-and-ginko-3-3-19-2011

ginko and clover 9-28-14 d

And, Tori

tori and ginko 9-25-15 lightened

Tori, Clover, Ginko 11-10-15 (sm)

In his nearly 16 years, Ginko bore witness to many big moments in our lives

… including living at our first house and our current one, being around for more than half the time Tom and I have been together, and having the honor of being the last dog to know both Tom’s mom and my mom before we lost them.

He loved his Grandma Ginny and would wait by the front windows, if we told him she was coming to visit. We’d let her get settled into the guest room, then we’d tell him “Go get Grandma,” and he would bolt upstairs and jump into bed with her at bedtime.

best dog blog, champion of my heart, virginia moore hawn

Once we moved to our current house, he became a great “Farm Dog.” Many times, we wouldn’t be able to see him on our land when he was outside, but if we called for him or blew the dog whistle, he would let out one loud, clear “YIP !” to let us know he had heard us call and was coming toward the house. None of our other dogs ever picked up that habit. Sadly.

This is definitely the end of an era.

KEEP - sleeping_ginko_dec_2007

Ginko survived Parvo as a puppy.
baby ginko in the icu with parvo 2000
Later, he went through 3 massive knee surgeries, which pretty much ended his hiking days and relentless fetching from long distances …
KEEP - Valley cropped
Then came …

Yet, he endured.


Want to know a secret? Ginko was a TERRIBLE patient. Very dramatic. While other puppies crash around and seem unfazed by tumbles and bumps, Ginko would holler and squeal like it was the end of the world, if he knocked into a wall while playing. That’s how he earned the nickname The Speckle-Breasted Yipenheimer, as a puppy.

Yet, in these final weeks, he seemed to understand he needed help to do the most basic things. Still some grumbling and a snap here or there, but he took his decline in stride … as dogs often do.

In so many ways, he was the lowest maintenance dog we’ve ever loved.
Happy to play. Happy to snuggle.
Happy to go places. Happy to stay home.
Just … happy … easy … mellow.

ginko sweet face 1-5-16

Farewell, handsome boy. We had a good, long run.
We LOVE you SO much, buddy.
See you on the other side.


This post is already WAY long, but here are some old videos of our dear boy.

About the Author 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.

  1. As I’m writing this I can barely see the screen through my tears. I lost my sweet GSD, EmmyLou, on Jan 25, 2016 from hemangiosarcoma. She came into my life at a time when I needed a friend, an angel. She was about 8 months old and had been in two high-kill shelters and 3 counties before I found her. I saved her life, one might say, and she saved mine. I taught her to trust and she taught me how to love. I now understand what it means to have someone steal your heart. There could never be another who could possibly fill the void Emmy left in my heart and in my life the last day I told her how much I her. She had just turned eight. I had so many plans for us, but she died too soon. I am raising a Golden Retriever puppy for the next 11-13 months, then I’ll return her to Leader Fogs for the Blind to be trained as a service dog. I did not expect the application to be approved & a pup found so quickly. I wasn’t ready, but felt there must be a reason; so I accepted. She’s not Emmy, she’s not even mine. I suppose this is the way it’s suppose to be, I really don’t know.

    My heart grieves, as does yours, and perhaps sharing this with you will help us both to heal.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Oh, what a sweet and inspiring boy. You were all so lucky to have each other. What a long and fabulous life you helped him enjoy. I know he’s left big paw prints on your hearts! He’ll always be with you there, in your heart. Big hugs.

  3. I didn’t even know Ginko, yet this post still manages to break my heart. I truly believe losing a dog is one of the hardest things we as humans can experience… I’m so sorry for your loss.

  4. So sorry it has taken me so long to read this and write you a note, but the last few weeks have been rough with many an old friend gone now, and from reading your blog over the years Ginko seemed like one of them. It took me a few days to be able to read this. I am so sorry, and will think of him being able to run and play with Lilly….

  5. Oh, Rox, I’m so sorry about Ginko. May he RIP and may your memories bring you love and peace.

  6. So sorry for your loss.. End of an era, indeed, but also the beginning of a new era with the youngsters. Hugs to you!

  7. What a wonderful tribute. I’m so sorry for your loss. He lived well and prospered under your (collective) care. If our dogs have to go — and they do — let it happen when they are old, surrounded by love, like Ginkgo.

  8. I’m so sorry, Roxanne. Even though you know it’s coming when a dog is as old as Gingko, it’s still so very hard. What a wonderful tribute to a very special dog. You’re in my thoughts.

  9. I’m so sorry for your loss, but what a lovely tribute to a well-loved boy. Rest in Peace, Ginko.

  10. What a wonderful tribute to a special boy. I didn’t know some of the things you mentioned about him. Your piece made me tear up. Losing a faithful and wonderful companion is so difficult. He was so lucky to have you and Tom, and all of his sisters. Penelope did a great job, as he did with Lilly. My heart breaks for you and Tom.

  11. I am so sorry to hear about Ginko but as some one said he is now with Lilly.

    I see all of the pictures of the girls and I love it. I even send some of them to my daughter.

    Take care,
    Judy Guy-Lima,Ohio

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