Ginger died a few minutes ago. Losing a pet never gets any easier. In fact, this time it was harder because she was my pet.I first spied her in January 2009 as I was still processing the loss of Robbie. She was a rescue, found under a porch without tags. She needed to be socialized and Fairfield’s assistant town attorney worked with her until it was time to bring her out and find a sucker, er, taker.We needed one another, I think.She easily got on with Dixie, who had been abandoned by Dakota ten months earlier and our home was once again full of dogs. Ginger was a mixed breed, a sixteen-pound lap dog that no two vets could agree on the various components.Initially, she was still skittish around people until she grew to adore them, while she merely tolerated other dogs, some more than others. In time, she was playful, friendly, and even those who didn’t tolerate dogs came to love Ginger. (Bob and Laurie Rozakis once took her for a few days while we were away and they never have pets!)When we relocated to Maryland, walking Ginger and Dixie was our entrée to meeting other people. The dogs would sniff one another, we’d chat with their owners, and suddenly we had friends in the neighborhood. Dixie slowed down, got sick, and eventually left us but we still had Ginger.Nothing pleased me more than coming home from school and seeing a happy Ginger, tail wagging, framed by the backdoor. She was loving and lovable and kept us both company each night after dinner, scooching from one side of the couch to the other.We knew she had a heart murmur and later discovered it was a leaky valve that could not be repaired. Her heart grew larger until it started pressing against her esophagus, giving her the occasional rasping cough. We began her on medicines (most of which she tried to avoid swallowing) and hoped for the best.In March, she had a doggie EKG and were told things were progressing so we had, maybe 12-18 months. Instead, it was four. This past week she slowed down and on Wednesday had no appetite. The vet looked her over and we began discussing quality of life so the end was nigh.She had a restless night and was breathing quite hard this morning so we scheduled to bring her to the vet this afternoon. Instead, she made it to our bed and quietly left us.I was an emotional mess, which I never expected to be with a pet considering pets were not a part of my life until I married. She was a terrific companion, especially when Deb traveled. And now the house will feel really empty, the first time in 30 years there are no children or pets to roam the halls.