My beloved Ginger-Girl and her Iris

Ginger-Girl was in a league of her own…..truly, the world’s greatest dog.

Ginger was a rescue dog. The moment we found her in East Oak Cliff, I was her person. It didn’t take long for me to feel the same way about this beautiful, red-haired mutt. Ginger went everywhere with me, and stayed by my side as I taught violin lessons. Ginger was the perfect companion.

After a few years of her quirkiness, we were told Ginger was actually a high dollar retriever….a “Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever”.  Ginger showed no signs of this distinction. My husband once took her hunting, much to my dismay. I told him that if something happened to Ginger, he should not even bother coming home. The first hour, Ginger did three big loops around the hunters and she was gone. I asked about Ginger throughout the weekend, and I always got the same answer….”She is having a great time!” The last day, my husband was desparate. He checked the local, small-town shelter one last time. There were two animals side by side…..Ginger and a goat. It was like a Vegas trip, picking up your buddy after a long weekend partying.

Ginger was my first child. She helped raise all three of my children. Everywhere I went,  I had three little people, and Ginger, following me. I honestly don’t think she rralised she was a dog. When her “pack” was not together, she was nervous. She chewed her way out of doors, and barked excessively if we were far away. Her doggy-smile was ever present.

As Ginger aged, her naughtiness in the garden got worse. Ginger disregarded all garden barriers, and trampled the gardens as she chased squirrels. Ginger would lie down in my Iris and would lounge in the sun for hours, especially when the Iris were blooming. Ginger loved to dig up Oxblood Lilies and toss them in the air, scattering the lilies throughout the yard. All the things that bugged me didn’t seem to matter on the morning she couldn’t get up.

After 24 hours of carrying Ginger-Girl in and out, the Vet came to our house. It was time.

I sat with her, on her favorite blanket, and gave her an entire ham hock. She ate, happily as she fell asleep as she crossed over the Rainbow Bridge, with her person she loved sitting next to her. The Vet and I carried her to a garden bed, next to some roses, and gently placed her down. I buried her with pictures of the people she loved, her blanket and her ham hock. I planted her Iris and some Oxbloods on her grave.

I dug up a few of Ginger-Girl’s Iris yesterday. Beautiful memories flooded my head. I decided that I am going to leave most of the Iris in place.  I am also leaving the roses and her Oxblood Lilies. I had previously decided not to leave a single bulb behind……but after visiting Ginger’s Iris, I changed my mind. Ginger deseves to have her little resting place continue to add beauty to the world. I am hoping to donate the “flooded house” property to the City, and create a park for children to daydream. Ginger would like that.

Most heirloom flowers will outlive their gardens. Plants have a way of preserving beautiful memories, and giving honor to those we love. Beloved pets are no different. Iris are hardy bulbs that will stand the test of time.

The memory of Ginger, sunbathing in her Iris, will always be on my mind.

Happy Gardening, my friends.