About Ginger and How I Found Her
I found Ginger as a stray six years ago, on December 15
I was walking out of school, and I saw a dog running around in the park
outside the school. It looked like maybe a Golden or Irish Setter mix
(or both) She was running in the football field and chasing ducks. I
was watching her, but I figured some owner had just let their dog off
leash to play... I kept watching as I walked, but didn't see anyone
else who seemed to be
watching the dog. I decided to try to call her over to me, because I
if she had an owner they would yell or come see who was holding their
I stopped, and a friend of mine saw me and came over to talk. I told
about the dog, and he stood there while I tried calling her.
I started calling "C'mere puppy! Come on!" She came over but wouldn't
come closer than about 20 feet away- she seemed scared. I told my
I'd see him later, and he left. As soon as he left, I squatted down and
tried calling her again- she came over, but she was crouching low as if
she was scared. Her tail was wagging, though!
Ginger pretty much made herself at home right away.
was mid-December, we already had the tree and the Christmas decorations
and she never once bothered any of them. She never made a mess in the
never chewed up my collection of stuffed toys and she never tried to
the cat. I never found her old owners or any sign of them, and
all the neighborhoods we've been in on walks no one ever recognized
The first time I took her in, the vet said Ginger was
between 1 1/2 and 2, and that she was probably spayed (she was). They
called her a
Golden mix. However, when I showed her photo to some people, they
looked all Golden. I went searching online and found lots of photos of
Goldens (I had never seen one before) including several field CH's that
like they were related to Ginger... I also asked a few breeders, who
she was definitely a Golden.
When I first found Ginger, she was pretty shy and scared of many new
people, places, and noises. She sometimes would cower or back away if
people wanted to pet her while we were on walks. She would bolt at some
loud noises, and was afraid of raised hands or voices.
I did a LOT of socialization with her, mainly just by taking her as
many places as I could and helping her realize that no one and no thing
was going to hurt her (I wouldn't let it!! ) I took her to obedience
class pretty soon after I found her- not sure how soon. By then she was
already a little more confident, but obedience class helped a LOT!
After Beginner's, we went right into Intermediate, and at the end of
Intermediate, before we went on to
Novice, she passed the CGC! She did break a stand/stay when the
evaluator came up to her *wielding* the brush, but the person realized
what had happened and she re-did that segment.
Ginger later re-passed the CGC with flying colors (a little over a year
after I found her) when she took it in conjunction with the TDInc
Therapy Dog Test. During the test, there is a segment where the dogs go
up to three people sitting down to 'visit', one with a walker and one
in a wheelchair. Ginger wiggled up to each one, stuck her head
*through* the walker to greet that one person, and on her evaluation
sheet the evaluator wrote "Happy
Visitor! :)" She passed.
So, that's pretty much the whole story. After obedience, not sure if it
was the summer after I found her or the next summer, we took an Agility
class. Ginger did wonderful, was VERY confident on the obstacles and
it- probably partly because I had always taken her to the playground
played with her on the equipment, some of which is very similar to
obstacles. After that we began to try other activities as well.
Ginger is a therapy dog with Chenny Troupe- www.chennytroupe.org . Chenny
Troupe has a very difficult therapy dog test with a general pass rate
of about 30% of dogs who take the test. Many dogs take it 3+ times
before passing. Ginger passed on her first try. She didn't even blink
when during the heeling, a metal pot was dropped behind her. I think
that's am amazing change from the dog who was scared of the sound of
automatic doors opening! Ginger does therapy work in a rehablitation
center weekly. You can see many of her other activities in the pictures