My family is made of a dozen people and creatures — loving, active, fun and noisy – I wouldn’t have it any other way! In addition to our four wonderful children ages 9 to 19, we have four sweet, furry kids: Beau and Fleur, Yorkshire terriers, our newest family member Ginger, a German short-haired pointer, and one senior mackerel cat Felix. And, if you’re counting, our two Goldfish make it an even dozen.
Our children grew up helping to care for our pets. We share a natural love of animals (wild and domestic), and everyone helps with the responsibilities of pet ownership. Our friends’ cats and dogs visit for walks and playdates. One day an injured Cooper’s Hawk followed me into the back yard to wait on our patio table for animal control. He was healed, released and now swoops in to visit.
Recently, our lab and border collie passed away and we wanted to adopt another dog. Hampshire County Animal Control, a West Virginia shelter adoption group, was at our local PetSmart with dogs for adoption. They drive about 70 miles each way every other weekend to run adoption events.
I was walking past this event when… it happened. You know the feeling when a connection is made between you and a forever friend? It was Ginger, our newest baby.
She was lying down, her head between her paws, ribs showing, white-haired nose and obvious signs she’d had several puppy litters. She stood up and walked toward me; her beautiful, hopeful amber eyes spoke for her. ”Hello! You’re finally here! Please take me home, I’m yours, you’re mine.” I had already named her Ginger in my heart, which almost broke when I was told she was already adopted. Just in case, I left my info at the adoption table. As I looked back, Ginger was looking at me with an “I thought you were taking me home…” expression. I heard her sigh as she lay down again, tucking her head.
Long story short, the other adoption fell through; so we got to take her home!
Many people want puppies, even though older dogs and cats are hard to adopt out — even though they’re usually better behaved than puppies, most already housetrained. Ginger, an older dog, needed us. She had been found by the roadside, tangled in rope, down to 20 pounds. We qualified to adopt Ginger due to our experience with adopted large active dogs.
My family was all in – we were ready to bring Ginger back to health. We happily went to pick up Ginger, who was waiting in a big crate. As I walked up, Ginger jumped up with a joyful howl.
The lovely ladies from Hampshire County Animal Control knew Ginger had her forever home. A pet adoption questionnaire confirmed Ginger was the right dog for us. We signed the papers, took a picture with Ginger and texted it to our older teen girls who were away: Meet Ginger BATTERSHELL!
Ginger had never lived inside a home and hesitated to go inside. We brought out Beau and Fleur to greet her, and they convinced her to give it a try. We carefully introduced Ginger to our senior cat Felix over several weeks’ time, a good precaution with a former hunting dog. Now Felix gets drooled on by Ginger’s love while giving me a “What I do because I love you” look.
Ginger, now a sleek, 60-plus pounds, muscular dog in great health, watches us intently while we check our email in the evening and has also jumped up to tap the keyboard. We think she’s going to start a Ginger Blog about adoption and forever homes while wearing a costume for Halloween and antlers for Christmas. She’s an old hunting dog who’s retired to the ‘burbs, having the best years of her life.
Washington FAMILY Magazine