[img_assist|nid=37|title=Our little Gina|desc=|link=popup|align=left|width=140|height=187]We lost a family member this week, and we're all a bit lost ourselves. Gina, a wonderful furry companion who's been with me for about 10 years and came with me in to my family's life just under 5 years ago, passed away this week. She had developed a tumor in her lung and while we tried surgery it was to no avail. I spent time with her Thursday night and although it seemed she was recovering well, we got a call a little after midnight letting us know she had slipped away. I'm still completely shattered, as is the rest of the family. She was a constant companion and had seen me through a lot of changes in my life, even being a part of our wedding ceremony. We walked together every morning, and when I worked at home she had a bed under the desk. There just isn't a moment of the day that she's not on our mind.
My former girlfriend and I adopted Gina from our neighbor at the time about 10 years ago. We already had two Alaskan Malamutes but Gina fit herself into our family without a hitch. Coming from a life tied on a 10 foot chain with an old console TV cabinet with some chicken wire in it for a house, she didn't even know how to play with a ball. She took to the notion of play like a duck to water and was a puppy to the end. Through a rough transition between relationships, she and Sandy and Kobuk (the Malamutes) were a constant comfort. When I met my wife she completely adopted the kids as her own 'little people', and was a complete gem with them (she would go into their rooms every night to check on them).
What occurred to me yesterday is how amazingly simple the relationship was. She wanted a better home (she got out one day and literally walked down the street up onto our porch and sat down. We brought her back but after taking her for a few walks with our other dogs, the owners one day said 'take her home or she's going to the pound'... and that was it) and picked ours. She wanted love and attention, and we wanted to give it. We gave her love, she gave it back. There's nothing complex (well, we could get into how well she could get into snack drawers and garbage cans when unattended) - a basic exchange of love, treats, kisses and tummy rubs. You walk with me, I'll walk with you. You sit with me, I'll curl up next to you. While it's a stretch maybe to say that this relates to the simplicity of great design - it certainly can speak volumes for how to relate with people - clients, users, friends, colleagues and loved ones. Provide friendship and love, and it will be returned. Provide insight and advice, it will be returned with appreciation and respect. Provide real value and quality work, you have a partner for the long haul, not just a client.
It's a good way to live, a good way to work, a good way to feel.
Thank you, dear little Gina, for being a part of our life. You will be missed. More than words can say or tears can express.