GINGER 3'S STORY

Ginger came to live with us in September 1988
when she was 12 weeks old.  A friend that I
worked with invited me to go on a trip with her
to visit her family in Tennessee.  We made many
stops in the Smoky Mountain area.  Toward the
end of the trip she decided to visit her sister
who lived in a remote area of the mountains.  
When we arrived, there was a lot of barking to
greet us.  As it turned out, her sister was a
Dachshund breeder.

In her living room was a modified playpen where
a litter of puppies was being kept.  These pups
were 12 weeks old and waiting for either their
new owners to pick them up or to be taken to the
airport in Knoxville if their new homes were out
of the area.  All of them had homes except one.  I
picked her up, held her for a little while, and
once again became hooked.

Ginger came home with me.  She was named
Smoky Mountain Ginger in honor of her
birthplace.  I didn't tell anyone at home that I
was bringing her.  When I got there I put her
down in the living room.  She started walking
around exploring her new surroundings.  The kids
were walking in and out of the room and never
even noticed her.  She was exactly the same color
as Sandy.  I guess no one looked at her that
close.  What a shock it was when she was finally
discovered.  I don't believe her feet touched the
floor anymore that night.  Everyone wanted to
hold her.

Sandy and Samantha accepted her immediately.  
After her arrival, it was a reincarnation of the
Three Musketeers.  These three dogs were
inseparable.  Cancer took Samantha's life in
February of 1989.  Sabrina joined us shortly
after that, and essentially we had 3 puppies.  
Sandy was now the oldest, but they were all very
close.

When Ginger was 18 months old, we decided to
add to our "Wiener Dog" population.  Ginger was
bred to a small black Doxie named True Grit.  
The breeder who owned True Grit (AKA TG) said
that Ginger was such a light red that we needed
to breed her to a black to get deep red pups.

Ginger showed signs of going into labor the
morning of January 15, 1990.  I stayed home
from work to be with her.  Jeff had already
moved into his own apartment and Shelly and
John went to work.  It was almost as if Ginger
wanted her entire family to be there to witness
her blessed event.  She just went to sleep and
slept most of the day.  Every so often she would
have a contraction and then go back to sleep.  
She actually waited until everyone came home
that night before having the puppies.

The first pup born was a little girl.  The second
came about 30 minutes later and was also a girl.  
Some friends of ours wanted a female, so I was
glad we had at least 2 of them.  The third pup
was a male.  At the time I was a little
disappointed about that but my disappointment
was short-lived.  (See Bart's story next).  There
was almost a 2-hour wait for the fourth puppy.  
Sadly, this puppy was stillborn.  Ginger seemed
to know something was wrong because she just
rested her head on the puppy as if to say, "I'm
sorry".  The last puppy was born about 30
minutes later.  This pup was a very tiny little
girl.  We named this little runt Tiffany (see
previous story) and decided to keep her.  
Tiffany was a fighter right from the start.  She
made sure she wasn't deprived of FOOD.  She
was very strong but remained very small.

The first two pups went to very good homes.  No
one seemed interested in our little boy.  By the
time we started getting calls for him, John said
he was already a part of our family and wasn't
going anywhere.  So now we had a "Weenie Dog
Trio" -- Ginger, Tiffany, and Bart (named by
John after Bart Simpson from "The Simpsons",
which was just becoming popular about that time.)

Tragedy struck in December of 1992.  On
December 23 Ginger got up but seemed to be in
pain.  I took her to the vet that afternoon who
said she might have strained something in her
back.  He gave her a cortisone shot and said to
keep her confined.  The next day (Christmas Eve)
she seemed worse.  At this point she was dragging
one of her hind legs.  I rushed her back to the
vet who gave her some pain medication and
decided to keep her at the clinic where she would
have to stay quiet.  I found out too late that she
should have been taken to an emergency clinic
that day.  My vet took a "wait and see what
happens" attitude.  So Ginger stayed at the clinic
on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Saturday, and
Sunday before the vet referred her to a
specialist on Monday.  She was taken to the
emergency clinic in Oakland County where there
were specialists on staff.  They did a mylagram
and determined that she had calcified disks that
had cut through her spinal cord.  If she would
have had surgery on the first or even the second
day, she might have been spared permanent
paralysis.

Now it was decision time.  There was really no
decision for us to make.  Ginger was only 4 ½
years old.  She would have the surgery to remove
the disks and we would adapt to her paralysis.  
They told us that she may never really adapt to
that kind of paralysis and would need special
care.

Ginger remained in the hospital for nearly 3
weeks.  During that time I had to attend special
classes to learn how to take care of her when she
was released.  I had to learn how to empty her
bladder since she wouldn't be able to do it
herself.  I had to learn different physical
therapy techniques.  And I had to learn how to
be patient with her.  I loved her so much that the
patience part wasn't even an issue.

To the amazement of the doctors and to us,
Ginger almost immediately adapted to her new
way of life.  She never did go through that
period of depression that everyone predicted.  
On her second day home from the hospital we
found her slithering down the two stairs that led
to the backyard.  Over a period of a month or so
she had mastered the art of "seal walking".  She
would take her two back legs and flip them over
each other.  She would then propel herself
forward by raising her body and hopping on her
two front legs.  She would swish the back part of
her body around to change direction or pick up
speed.  Before long she was traveling just as fast
on two legs as the other dogs were on four.  At
one point we considered a cart for her, but in
watching how she handled herself we decided
against it.  When she played with the other dogs,
she ran fast and made sudden turns.  A cart
would have only flipped her over and she would
have been helpless.  So Ginger enjoyed a very
happy life as a two-legged Doxie.

After Tiffany lost her nine-month battle with
cancer in July of 2003, Ginger began to slow
down at the age of 15.  She always had a
ravenous appetite but one day I noticed that she
was forcing herself to eat only to please me.  
Even then she only managed to take a few bites.  
Eventually even boiled chicken or treats didn't
interest her.  Various medical tests and even a
stomach biopsy were performed but her kidneys
were failing and nothing could really be done.  
On Sunday morning, October 5, 2003, Ginger
departed for Rainbow Bridge to be with Tiffany
and her other daughter, Schatzee, who had
belonged to a friend of ours.

My experiences with Ginger were very much the
same as with my first Ginger (see earlier story).  
Our lives were so very much entwined.  By
watching her and seeing her determination to live
a long and happy life against all odds, I learned
that nothing is really impossible.  Her disability
also taught me patience and unselfish love.  Our
lives basically revolved entirely around Ginger
and her needs.  Our hours of work, our vacations,
and essentially the basics of everyday living had
to be planned with her in mind.  She went on
every vacation with us and loved it.  Vacations
will never be the same again without her nose
prints all over the car window.

The idea for this Website was born during the
last few months of Ginger's life.  I've always
wanted to share my experiences with my beloved
dogs with the people who share my love of
animals, but never really knew how to go about
it.  I have joined the Forever Friends Memorial
WebRing in Ginger's memory and plan to join
other WebRings as well.  Ginger will never be
forgotten.
GINGER'S PUPPY DAYS
GINGER GUARDING JEFF'S
CAMARO
$3.00 ????????
GINGER AND SANDY
WAITING FOR SANTA AND
HER PUPPIES.  THIS WAS 3
WEEKS BEFORE THE PUPS
WERE BORN
GINGER WAS A GOOD MOM
GINGER AND THE PUPS WHEN
THEY WERE 6 WEEKS OLD.  
TIFFANY IS THE PUPPY ON THE
LOWER RIGHT.  BART IS ON
THE UPPER LEFT.  
GINGER LOVED HER
CHEWBONES.  IT WASN'T
UNUSUAL TO SEE HER
GATHER UP ALL SHE COULD
FIND
RIGHT AFTER GINGER'S
BACK SURGERY IN DECEMBER
1992.  TARA WAS STILL A
PUPPY
THE FOLLOWING 2 PICTURES
WERE TAKEN WHEN GINGER
STARTED GOING INTO
KIDNEY FAILURE  
GINGER ALWAYS LOVED
TARA.  THIS WAS TAKEN
THE NIGHT BEFORE GINGER
DIED
CLICK BELOW FOR BART'S
STORY
Click HERE to Visit Ginger's
Rainbow Bridge Residency.
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