A few months ago, we added a member to the Pie pack & our lives changed forever. I talk about her constantly on Facebook, but I wanted to share her story with our family/friends who don’t spend every waking minute checking my updates. This is the story of Ginger, my snuggly little rescue girl.
I was leaving the skating rink after helping Assassination City run offseason tryouts, saying my goodbyes & trying not to cry (I’d retired from contact a few weeks earlier due to a spine injury & I was still pretty emotional about it). When I reached the parking lot, Salem was petting a dog who’d wandered up to her: a small female pit bull wearing an ill-fitting collar, no tags. She was emaciated, engorged with milk and covered in disturbingly symmetrical & deliberately placed wounds and scars of varying size all over her body and head. The burn between her beautiful butterscotch eyes (about the diameter of a cigar or car lighter) was almost more than I could bear to look at.
If asked what caliber of man my husband is, I can answer the question with the following exchange. I called Micah & said, “baby, we found a pit bull & I don’t know what to do. She looks like somebody’s been hurting her.” Without hesitation, he replied, “bring her home & we’ll take her to the vet in the morning.” I would’ve married him again on the spot.
Deathcake & I loaded the dog into my backseat, plying her with peanut butter provided by Castro. I spoke to her in a soft voice the whole way home, calming us both and gathering my strength as I rambled about her getting to meet my family. I had no idea how she and Duchess would react to each other. Duchess is a very friendly dog, but she’s spoiled, easily excitable and was a week away from having knee surgery. I didn’t want her to get too wild and I didn’t want our guest to feel threatened.
I needn’t have worried – this little dog was so shellshocked & timid that she barely reacted to Duchess. She ate two bowls of food, curled up on the couch close to me & fell promptly asleep. While she snoozed, I cruised rescue sites online, seeing hundreds of pitties in need of homes – no homes eagerly looking for abandoned/abused pibbles, though. I looked over @ her about two hours into our new adventure & told Micah, “her name is Ginger.” He just nodded in agreement and said, “yeah, it is.” We both knew she was ours pretty much the minute I brought her in the door.
The next morning, we took her to our vet, who confirmed that she had no microchip. I wouldn’t have returned her if there had been identification, though. Most of Ginger’s injuries were inflicted by a human. She had bites around her muzzle & on her hocks, but the majority of the wounds – scroll on past this bit if you are as sensitive to animal cruelty as I am – were burns, razor slashes & welts from a belt or cord. Her tail had been fractured near the base and had healed a bit crooked.
Our vet estimated that Ginger was around 2 years old, had been used as a bait dog based on the nature of her wounds (monsters who create fighting dogs hurt them to try to make them aggressive so they’ll attack each other) and was almost certainly dumped shortly after whelping a litter (seems to be common in this area – both dogfighting & dumping dogs right after they whelp). I still think about those puppies and worry about where they ended up.
Sweet Ginger was covered in fleas and hosting a bevy of parasites, including heartworms & roundworms. The next several months were spent treating our little hostess with the mostest for her various issues – we’re still waiting for the all-clear on the heartworms, but she’s past the hardest parts.
The several months were also spent working through her attachment issues, separation anxiety, housebreaking and general training. In the beginning, loud noises & sudden movements scared her. She watched us very closely to see if we’d hurt her, but she never hid from me or cringed away from my touch. She became my shadow, following me everywhere & snuggling in bed with me when I was laid up with migraines/neck pain. She fell in love with our kiddo & Duchess.
Her wounds have healed & her fur has almost completely grown back over the scars. She’s also about 30 pounds heavier & pretty darned content.
She still has moments of apprehension, particularly when she senses anger. I find myself saying, “it’s okay” to her and smiling a lot, which has a calming effect on both of us. In general, she has made me a calmer, more patient person.
I can’t help but feel that Ginger came into my life at exactly the right time. And I can’t get over the fact that she is exactly the kind of dog I would’ve chosen if I could have hand-picked her personality. It’s like we were meant for each other. It breaks my heart to speculate on what sort of hell she lived through before she found us, but I am so thankful for the opportunity to make the rest of her life as heavenly as I can.