La Roma LaGina  C.G.C. - A Living Tribute

 June 8, 1987 - January 3, 2004

Pictured in August 2002 are, from left to right: Gina (age 15 years), Crook (age 4 months), Kermit (age 10-1/2 years), Pat (just aged) and Nick (age 2-1/2 years)

And now, here's Gina's story:

Already enamored with Spinone, I jumped when I got a call from Dave Badollet in the summer of 1992 telling me that he was getting rid of most of his Spinone and that I was the only one he would trust with them.  Not sure what I would find when I arrived at Dave’s, he told me he wanted me to take the two “English” dogs and Gina.  Not too sure about taking on a five year old, I walked over to the pen she was in and opened the gate.  It was love at first sight, for both of us!  She came to me and put her head in my lap and there were no doubts, she had to come home with me.  “Oh, by the way,” Dave said, “I think she might be pregnant.” 

Was Gina pregnant?  Oh, yes, and in due time presented me with a lovely litter of puppies.

    Got milk?  A study in resignation.

 After years of whelping Malamutes that wanted to kill anything that got near their babies, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Much to my surprise, Gina was more than willing to share her babies with any and all.  In fact, an old Mal bitch named Copy helped her out with them and really worked at keeping them accounted for.  Many times over the years Gina has helped raise other Spinone litters which brings to mind a funny story.

In the summer of 1994, Cuddles, a Gina daughter, had her first litter of puppies.  A few days later, I was out at the kennel and noticed who I thought was Gina in the back of the barn.  Calling her out, I realized it was Cuddles and asked her why she wasn’t with her babies.  I walked back to the house and there in the whelping box lay Gina with the babies all clean and snuggled up to nurse.  I asked her what she thought she was doing with the babies and she informed me that she found them, abandoned, and that she was taking care of them.  By then, Cuddles was wringing her paws because her babies had been stolen and Gina wouldn’t give them up.  We did get things sorted out so Cuddles could have her babies but Gina was always close by and would step right back in at a moment’s notice.  Here she is making sure that all is well in the whelping box.

Gina has been an absolute delight to live with.  Her antics can still bring a smile to my heart.  I can be cooking and Gina will go racing around (well, maybe she doesn’t race anymore), grab a toy and bring it to me to “trade” for something good to eat or maybe even an ice cube.  Always polite, she expects you to take her offering in hand.

  Will you share?  Photo taken 11/23/02

Though she was never shown or hunted, Gina did make her impact on the breed by producing lovely, even-tempered youngsters.  One of the first Spinone to earn a C.G.C., Gina was also a therapy dog.  She was the first American Spinone Club Register of Merit Dam by producing five obedience titled offspring.  In addition to several American Rare Breed Association Champions, she has also produced at least four AKC Champions.  Since her youngest offspring are now 10 years old, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren will carry on the tradition.

   Four Generations in one place is a rare sight.

       La Roma Lagina CGC (Gina);    Ch. Dazen's Gift To Mals-About CD CGC (Kermit);     Ch. Mals-About In The Nick O' Time (Nick); Mals-About Thief Of Time (Crook)

I wish I could take all the credit for Gina’s longevity but I suspect she would have lived to old age anyway since I know her father lived into his teens.  Other than pyometria when she was six, necessitating a spay, she has been healthy as a pig.  As old age has claimed her, Gina has become incontinent, is almost totally deaf and, as my vet so kindly put it during her annual checkup, she is significantly visually impaired.  Some days she has “senior moments” and can’t seem to remember to turn around to get out of her bed or how to get back to the house after a trip outside.  On other days she has a bit of trouble getting her feet under her and doesn’t hesitate to “call” for help.  I can tell you that there is not a thing wrong with her sense of smell; she still comes to help me cook.  To help give her a bit of a boost, I started giving her MSM at about nine or ten years of age but nearly a year ago changed to Next Level which has not only MSM but some glucosomine and chondrointin in addition to perna mussel and shark cartilage.  Now all my old dogs get Next Level instead of just MSM.  They are able to move a little more freely in addition to being a bit sharper mentally.

I’m just thankful for every day I am allowed to share with this kind, loving old girl.  In the ten years I’ve had with her, she has brought me only joy.

And now, I'd like to share some other photos taken of Gina through the years.

Winter of 1994, just relaxing.

Pointing a loose quail in 1996 

  Winter of 1998

I'm not sure when this one was taken but, as you can see, not much    

slowed Gina down from her meals.

    With a young baby Brian in December, 2003

I had to say goodbye to my lovely Gina just after New Years in 2004.  It was a very sad day around here.  Here is one final picture of Gina taken New Years Day, 2004, just a few days before we said goodbye.  

Rest in Peace, my love.  You'll never be forgotten.

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