I will always remember my first dog, Ginny. She is what people would call my "Heart Dog", the one that grabs hold of your heart and soul and never lets go, never leaves you for the rest of your life. As the youngest of 5 kids, I literally grew up with Ginny. I hardly remember a day in my young life without her. I was 7 when that fluffy bundle of joy, a Golden Retriever mix, joined our family. She left us 17 years later when I was in my twenties. Ginny was everything to me; my best friend, my respite from an otherwise chaotic household, and my protector. She always "understood" me. She knew when something was wrong and when I needed someone to comfort me.
|My childhood dog Ginny, my Heart Dog. I will love you forever sweet girl.|
When my older brother and I fought she would get in between us and start barking, like a Canine Referee. We'd have to laugh and stop fighting!
When things got "heavy" at home and I was upset she'd come over and lay her head on my knee or nuzzle me to let me know she was there for me and that it would be ok.
I was a teenager when an Uncle I loved dearly was in the hospital. We didn't know if he was going to make it through a complicated surgery (he didn't), and I was left home alone while my parents rushed to the hospital. I was sitting on a living room chair crying when Ginny came over and placed her head on my knee. She licked my tears away as I hugged her vigorously. She knew when I really needed her.
Oh, how I wish I had a photo of Ginny dressed like Cinderella that Halloween I decided to bring her Trick or Treating with me and my friends! I remember putting her in a blue Cinderella princess dress from my Halloween costume the year before - Ginny was nothing if not a cooperative dog who only wanted to please her owners.
The neighbors got a kick out of this beautiful Golden Retriever dog who came to the door dressed as Cinderella. In those days, we didn't dress our pets up or spoil and pamper them like we do today. Although my Mom did make her a bowl of meatballs and spaghetti so she could join in our Italian family dinners on Sundays! Not giving the dog people food that could be potentially toxic wasn't of particular concern back then either. My Father declared Ginny "An Italian dog" because of the way she devoured Mom's meatballs - she made the best meatballs! Living in an Italian household, Ginny probably ingested more garlic than any other dog in the county, never mind that garlic is toxic to dogs!
|Ginny loved running free through the woods next door to our house.|
Ginny definitely had us all at "woof". She captivated our entire family for 17 years. Decades later I still think of Ginny and what she meant to me. It's amazing that after so many years, I can still vividly remember the glorious experience of going to adopt my first dog, and so many of the wonderful experiences I had with her.
I am proof positive that giving a child a pet can be the most wonderful gift of all. Pets can teach a child so much; Responsibility, Kindness, and most of all Unconditional Love. I'm filled with gratitude to Bideawee for giving my family the joy of our lives, a Golden Retriever mix puppy who for us was The Perfect Dog.
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Do you remember your first pet? Tell us about it in the comments!