Ginger just turned ten months old. We're getting a routine down.
She wakes up around 5-5:30 in the morning and plays with her toys until she can't take it anymore - about 4 minutes. Then she howls and growls and digs through her blankets. She runs to Joe's side of the bed and licks his knee then she races down the hall and dives on the floor. She rolls on her back and wiggles all over while she grunts and grrs, then she runs back to the bedroom and howls. We're supposed to ignore her - we reward the good. She whimpers and sits there staring at us while she mewls and whines. It's the saddest thing I've ever heard. She puts her desperate little head inches from mine and quakes for a pet, which is tough to ignore, so after fifteen minutes one of us, usually Joe, gets up.
As he walks down the hall Ginger chases him, then she flips herself over so she's belly up. Rub rub she wiggles. Rub again. He does. Her tail wags a hole through the rug she's so happy. She's not clocking to go down or wanting to eat. She just wants her pack awake with her.
Fifteen minutes later she's on her feet, dragging her bed around the living room. We feed her and by 6:15 one of us (usually Joe) takes her down. We either take her to the river for a nice walk and to a dog run there, or to a run we're members of. She chases a ball, catches it and brings it back, catches it and brings it back. Every four or five catches she jumps in the pool and gums the ball while she splashes around. Then she brings it to us to throw again.
At this point it's nearing 8:00 and we head home. She walks with the ball in her mouth and everyone wants to pet her, take her picture, coo over her. A guy who works in a parking garage once gave her a ball and now she peeks her head in every time we pass to see if he's around. He's as eager to see her and often comes out and pets her. He's part of her street crew now. To this dog, her crew matters.
Closer to home we sometimes pass a gaggle of thuggy teens. They're part of a local harm reduction program and most are homeless. The minute they see Ginger their jailhouse posings and angry stares vanish. Ginger Ginger they yell and she wags and rolls over so they can rub her belly. When they pet Ginger and smile I can see how young they really are. Ginger would sit with them forever, so it takes some coaxing to get her moving.
We get to our building and she dawdles up the stairs. Once we come into the apartment she sits. She drops the ball, we remove her collar and leash, and she gets a treat. She lays under the table while Joe and I have breakfast, and when we settle into work she wraps her paws around Joe's feet and sleeps for a few hours. Sometimes when she dreams she wags her tail in her sleep, which kills me. I'd love to see her sleep until 6:00, or even better, 6:30, but being out when the city is quiet means I hear the birds sing. It also means we have a happy dog. And seeing Ginger happy is infectious.