A 9-year-old Labrador retriever mix with an abusive past that lived at an animal shelter in Missouri finally got a second chance at life after waiting for seven years and nine months to be adopted.
Ginger, one of the longest residents at Dogwood Animal shelter in Lake of the Ozarks, was rescued from an abusive situation that left her with “medical, emotional and behavioral issues which made her unadoptable for a long time,” according to a Facebook post by the shelter.
However, volunteers and staff at the animal shelter “have diligently worked to address those issues and to locate a suitable home for her.” They further emphasized that “she is and has been adoptable.”
But while this sweet dog was trained, the opportunities to adopt her were slim, as Ginger needed to be the only pet, with no children around. However, efforts to find her a new home continued.
In March 2020, the no-kill shelter posted an emotional plea with a picture of Ginger and a sign clipped to the kennel that read: “Hi! I’m Ginger! I’ve been here waiting 7 years, 9 months, 2 weeks, 2 days. I’m a good girl! I promise! I just need a 2nd chance!”
Not long after, Mission Driven, a clothing brand that brings awareness to all shelter pets and states the importance of adoption, shared the image on their social media platforms. The post went viral with hundreds of people commenting and hoping that Ginger would find a place to call home.
It didn’t stop at that; Ginger’s picture even made it to the Instagram feed of PawsUp, an account started by Ellen Degeneres. As a few days passed by, adoption applications poured in from around the world, and among them was Beth, from St. Louis County, who found Ginger on Petfinder.
“I did not know she was that famous,” Beth told KSDK. “All I saw was the Petfinder. A good friend sent it to me and I was like ‘Oh my god, I need her.’”
Beth was looking for a canine companion after an incident left her with PTSD symptoms and a feeling of anxiousness. She shared that a few months ago, as she was driving across Interstate 270 near the Gravois Road exit during the wee hours, someone in another car shot her window out.
Although Beth had searched for dogs, she hadn’t found the right one. However, when she came across Ginger’s Petfinder page, she knew right then that she was going to adopt her.
“I was like, ‘What if she dies and never had a family? That’s so sad,” Beth continued, “There was no ifs ands or buts, I was getting this dog…. I applied, I was like, ‘I’m not gonna hear anything back.’ Then I was like, ‘I’m gonna be pushy’ and I emailed them.”
On March 13, 2020, Beth received a call from the shelter and made a more-than-three-hour drive to meet Ginger. At her first visit, Beth was alerted that Ginger was a bit aggressive and had been homed three times in the past only to be returned. However, Beth was determined to take Ginger back home.
Sharing the good news on Facebook, the shelter posted, “Ginger has gone home! Her adopter has no children and no pets, has a fenced in yard and experience with dogs with dispositions similar to Ginger’s!”
Beth, who was unaware of Ginger’s popularity, soon had people visiting her house and even recognized the dog when she went out for walks. “The first day was overwhelming because I wasn’t expecting so much attention,” Beth told KSDK. “I had to make her an Instagram page just so people would stop showing up to my house.”
The entire community came forward to support Ginger in every way possible from someone offering a day trip to the dog spa to another opting to pay for her to go to obedience school. As Ginger has started to thrive in her forever home, “her personality is really starting to shine.”
Beth, who regularly chronicles Ginger’s antics on Instagram, said although she rescued Ginger and gave her a home, it seems like Ginger is the one who rescued her.
“It’s like, if I didn’t go through what I went through, would I have Ginger? So things happen for a reason,” Beth added.