By Joanna D. Samson, FOTAS Vice President
Ginger Snap sprawls across a fleece bed in the spacious, climate-controlled kennel that also serves as a canine nursery. Close by is a blue blanket she totes around to a resting place of her choosing. At her feet is a coveted rope toy, which she carries outside through the dog door when she does her business.
She keeps a watchful eye on her two 4-week-old puppies, Chocolate Chip and Biscotti. Chocolate Chip teeters across the soft, uneven terrain of fleece on shaky legs towards her mom, squeaking urgently for attention. Biscotti nuzzles against her body looking for a meal. She quiets the first puppy with a few gentle licks around the ears. She shifts her weight to allow the other puppy access to a well-worn nipple. Ginger is a good mother.
Sound like the picture of canine domestic bliss? Yes, it does, but here’s the thing: until she came to us less than 5 weeks ago, two-year-old Ginger Snap had spent her entire short life staked to a chain. This is the first time in that short life she has had medical care, regular meals, a proper shelter, a fleece bed, a blue blanket and a rope toy. It is the first time she has experienced human affection.
It is not the first time she has had puppies. Unspayed and at the mercy of other dogs, it appears from her condition that she had at least one other litter while chained to a stake. It is unlikely any of those puppies survived under the grim conditions of her previous existence, and perhaps that is, sadly, for the best.
Ginger was surrendered to the Aiken County Animal Shelter by her owner in the last days of her pregnancy. Despite her swollen belly, she was painfully thin and malnourished. Her striking white and red coat was scruffy. She was scarred around the neck from a lifetime on a chain. She was frightened, sick and weak.
Ginger touched our hearts, so County staff and FOTAS rallied in an effort to save her. Shelter veterinarian Lisa Levy addressed her immediate medical issues. FOTAS called upon one of its most experienced birthing foster families – the Conger-Wolcotts – to take her in. Within days, Ginger delivered 10 puppies, eight of which were too sickly to survive and died within the week. When she developed a raging infection in her nipples, FOTAS provided additional medical support.
By all rights, Ginger should be a troubled, suspicious and distrustful dog, yet nothing could be further from the truth. She has blossomed under the tender care of her foster family. She has gained weight and gets stronger by the day. She is a true “pibble” – a friendly, playful and affectionate pit bull mix possessing the good nature and a steadfast eagerness to please the humans around her in spite of the poor treatment she received in the past.
When her puppies are weaned in three weeks, Ginger will need a home. She is a special dog and will make someone an extraordinary companion. Will it be you?
Please don’t wait. Their lives are in our hands.