Wednesday 1/4/2018 Our new girl, Ginger, was left to starve in an abandoned house filled with horrible aggressive rats, and she had a litter of puppies to defend. It was awful. God bless our rescue friend, Mary Leigh, for going into that torture chamber to get Ginger and her surviving babies out. It takes great courage to agree to go into a home unescorted to find a starving dog. First-responder rescue folks take a lot of risks and see things that weigh on the heart.
Thursday 1/5/2018 Ginger is doing well on day 2. She is still shaky and confused, but we are getting to know her and helping her to feel better. The first 24-48 hours of rescue are about decompression. Ideally by the end of two days, our new dog is relaxing, feeling rather full of food and maybe even a little bored. We frequently know little or nothing about the critters who come to us, except that life has been pretty hard for them. We want them to feel that there are no bad surprises in this new place. Food is generous and comes pretty often. There’s fresh water whenever wanted. Nobody is loud and in-your-face. Life is slow, predictable and pleasant. If things are going well, we might do a gentle dog and cat assessment, just to sense how that is going to go. But mostly, it is about recuperation.
Ginger has been on a walk every 2-3 hours. She has food and water. We are regularly throwing her a chunk of cheddar cheese just to be friendly. She is housed right next to her babies, so she can have a break from them, but also see that they are well.
She is acting like a loving dog. She allows a collar, leash and coat to be put on and off. She walks well on the leash. She has been so easy, she has met our resident cat, Tallulah, who has not left for her adoptive home yet. She has been introduced to several calm on-site dogs as well. She has done great. She appears to have good dog, cat, and people social skills so far.
Her body is debilitated. She is very underweight and has little muscle. She’s pretty bald also. She will need to take time to recuperate, physically and mentally. Soon she will need to see a vet for a check up, but is 15 degrees here right now. She does not show signs of illness. She is eating and drinking, reasonably active for her condition. Barring medical symptoms, we will wait for next week, when it is supposed to be 40 degrees warmer. By then she will be a bit stronger too. So far, so good…
Joy Shanahan is a student at Appalachian State University with a passion for community service. She can be found in the dance studios at ASU or researching helpful animal tips for Lee Shore.