Ginger and Santayana
Remember the Past

Ginger watches what I do all the time. When I am not taking her for a long walk around the lake or playing with her in my home, she either lies on the couch or her divan and watches.

In a way, it is cute. Ginger watches until I’m not typing and figures this is the time to play or talk.

I realize that she wants to play 24/7, but I can’t do it. I feel guilty that I need time to do other things. I love her, but.... To allay my guilt, I play with her for a few minutes at the beginning of every hour before I return to my computer. I also give her treats like pig ears or bones. When I cannot amuse her, she can amuse herself chewing.

I was working on my computer when I heard Ginger wince in pain. I looked at her sitting on the divan next to the desk. I couldn’t figure out why I heard her expression of pain. I asked her what was wrong. She looked up to me, and I saw a bone caught on her lower jaw. The following photo is of a similar bone, which Ginger managed to get caught on her lower jaw behind her large canine teeth.

I sat next to Ginger to calm her, tried to pry her mouth open, and then attempted to remove the bone caught on her lower jaw. That initial attempt resulted in her getting up and moving away. She didn’t want me to try to dislodge the bone. However, her avoidance of my help meant that the bone would remain.

Ginger returned to me sitting on her bed. I got her to lie down, and I tried again. However, up she got and moved away again. That dance was repeated an additional several times. I was about to take her to the vet. Nevertheless, I tried again and must have moved the bone enough that it came loose. I threw the bone in the wastepaper basket under my desk and kissed Ginger. She was so appreciative of my freeing her, she licked me until I could get up.

I told her to be careful in the future, but I realized that I needed to also. I spent fifteen minutes picking up all the similar small bones lying all over the downstairs’ floor, even if Ginger couldn’t have gotten them stuck in lower jaw. I returned to my desk and was about to throw them into the wastebasket when Ginger approached me with a mournful look in her eyes. While I was picking up the other bones, she had gotten the first bone out of the wastebasket. There it was caught again on her lower jaw.

Without saying anything, Ginger sat on her divan knowing that I would remove it again. This time, I approached my challenge more optimistically than I had the first time. As I got Ginger free of the bone, I said to her again about being careful.

Ginger’s retort was, “You always talk about Santayana’s comment, ‘Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ I guess that his warning applies to me.”

I responded with agreement, but added an equally important statement about loving her. It is interesting that in events like the bone stuck on her jaw results in the bonding between us. She knows that I’ll take care of her, because she brings me joy and happiness. It is a reciprocal relationship between Ginger and me.

While the bone caught in the jaw scared both us, there are less traumatic times that we share together. This happens a couple times a week when we go walking around the lake, which takes a little more than an hour. Three-fourths of the walk is on a leash. However, the last quarter of our circumnavigating the lake is off-road where there are no homes and just a rough path. On either side of the path are fields of weeds and wildflowers some of which are four or five feet high. Ginger absolutely enjoys being able to run free as I walk along the path around the end of the lake.

When she is amid the weeds, I often can’t determine where in the undergrowth she is until she emerges on the path. As I am walking, she is running back and forth on one side of the path and then to the other. She runs free nearly as much as we walk together with her leash on.

The path is rough. However, the fields of weeds have an extremely irregular terrain. A couple of times each week, she will limp out of the weeds with a paw that got twisted on the ground. The first time, I was frightened. I ran over to her as she sat with one of her front paws raised. I held the paw and tried to determine whether she broke a bone in her leg. She and I would look at each other while I examined her leg. When I let go of her leg, off she ran...much to my relief. That experience has been repeated again and again. She merely wants to be comforted for a moment. After feeling my concern and care for her, Ginger took off running again.

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