Frank and Bernice Walker have owned a series of Labrador retrievers over the years and couldn’t speak more highly of the gentle, friendly breed. Ginger, age 6, is the very picture of all that they love about labs. “She’s smart, pretty, adores Frank—actually, she’s in love with Frank,” Bernice said one recent morning as Ginger, a purebred beauty with golden eyelashes, extended a friendly paw in greeting. Ginger accompanies Orange County’s preeminent historian on his twice-daily walks up and down Little Skyline Drive, where the couple lives. “She’s very attentive,” Frank said. “Basically, we tell people God sent her to us.” Or perhaps a higher power sent them to her, since the Walkers flew to Charleston, S.C., to get their prized pooch from a breeder they know and trust. The breeder had supplied them with their previous dog, and after they lost him, they’d called to inquire if a calm and mature lab might be available. The answer was no, but six months later, the breeder called back to say she was retiring and therefore looking to sell Ginger, age 4 at the time. “With that decision, we just happened to come along and get this gorgeous dog,” Bernice said.