Gentle, free-spirited lab mix roamed campus for 14 years

You wouldn’t find her name on the official staff directory, but she was as much a part of the Taft College community as any administrator, professor, staffer or student.

Taft College lost a beloved member of it family this week when Ginger, the golden lab mix that has been part of the campus fabric for the past 14 years, was euthanized.

Death came suddenly.

It was announced in a campus email from Mike Capela, TC’s director of maintenance and operations, who was Ginger’s primary caretaker although he had a lot.

“We have had a big loss today,” Capela wrote Monday afternoon. “We had the mobile vet here today because of a big lump on Ginger’s throat this morning when we arrived. He checked her out and it was a large tumor and he told us it was time to put her down so she would not suffer.

“So that’s what we did. It was very difficult but the right thing to do.”

Capela said Ginger was three months shy of her 14th birthday (she was born on the campus) “and had a wonderful life here at TC.”

Ginger was ever present.

A gentle creature, she roamed the campus absorbing affection and attention and politely accepted handouts and treats.

She attended virtually every baseball and softball game and could be seen lounging outside the gym when the Cougar volleyball and basketball teams were in action.

She was very protective of her domain – running off all strays that might have wandered onto the campus.

Ginger was an unofficial member of the campus security detail, loyally accompanying them as they made their nightly rounds.

One night she got inadvertently locked in a campus meeting room. A couple of hours later when the security guard noticed she wasn’t tailing his electric cart he backtracked and found her desperately trying to break out.

Ginger caused several hundred dollars in damage to the room’s large window, including shredding the blinds. She never got locked in ever again.

She harried squirrels that frolicked in the outfield of the baseball and softball fields and chased away an occasional kit fox in search of a late night meal.

People on campus are now discussing ways to appropriately honor the pooch that was part of everyday life at the college.

Suggestions include a memorial plaque, sponsoring a kennel at a local shelter, or donating money to a shelter or animal rescue program.

The Taft College community has always responded when a staff member is in need. Now it is coming together to remember a beloved campus pet.

R.I.P Ginger.