Skip to content

This 'essential worker' has a wagging tail and floppy ears

Ginger and her human Melissa Arnold bring smiles and comfort to Extendicare Maple View
2002-08-10 Ginger volunteer dog
Ginger with her human, Melissa Arnold. The 8-year-old golden retriever has managed to steal the hearts of everyone at Extendicare Maple View. Photo supplied

During these unprecedented times, we’ve made sure to thank and praise our essential workers for their hard work and dedication. However, one essential worker in our community who deserves some recognition has a wagging tail and floppy ears. 

Ginger the golden retriever is a service dog for Melissa Arnold, an activities aide at Extendicare Maple View. But during her time spent at the assisted living facility, she has quickly become everyone’s service dog. 

“Ginger is just about the sweetest dog you’ll ever meet. She happily roams the hallways of Mapleview spreading her love and smiles everywhere she goes,” said Amanda Smith, housekeeping aide at Extendicare Maple View. 

Every morning, Ginger and Melissa walk through the doors of the facility and Ginger instantly runs to the office to greet the office staff. She then runs to the physiotherapy office to give a cheerful hello, and immediately returns to Melissa’s side to guide her on her way. 

“Ginger is the first guide dog that I have worked in close proximity with. It’s absolutely amazing to watch her in action,” Smith said. “It’s like she knows who’s nervous around her and who wants to pet her, who needs her to approach gently and who she can be a little more playful with.”

Ginger almost always gets greeted before her owner, but thankfully Melissa has a great sense of humour and takes it in stride. 

With family members being unable to visit  due to COVID-19 restrictions. Ginger has boosted many spirits and inspired many smiles. She not only helps the staff de-stress, but the residents as well.   

“She is the highlight of everyone’s day and makes everyone so happy. We just love her. She’s basically Maple View’s mascot. Melissa may take her home and she may work for Melissa, but Ginger has worked for everybody here in one aspect or another,” Smith said.

Ginger shows up every day excited and ready to work. She plays many different roles for many different people, and it’s clear to see that she has become family to residents and staff at Maple View. Ginger is on the cusp of retirement, and although Melissa will eventually get another service dog, there will never be another Ginger.