Ginger was brought to a shelter when a woman came home and found her tied to the railing on her front porch with a bag of dog food and a box of milk bones sitting nearby – she had never seen the dog before and had no idea who left her there.

She is a big girl at 73 pounds with some unfortunate problems.  The most obvious one is her vision.  She is not totally blind, but she has problems with depth perception, peripheral vision, things too close or things too far.  This makes going down even one step or just downhill difficult, as well as causing her to fall off the sidewalk or to crash into bushes or sign posts if she gets too close – she just doesn’t see these things.   Both eyes have cataracts, and she has difficulty locating her food bowl as well.  Old Dog Haven is providing for her to see a Veterinary Ophthalmologist in the near future to see if any medications or treatments can help her.  In the mean time we go for walks up the middle of the street where there is nothing to hit or fall in to.

Ginger was obviously someone’s indoor pet – right from the get-go she made attempts to get up on the bed and into the LazyBoy.  And even though she can’t seem to locate her food bowl, she has no trouble locating her foster mom’s plate.  It appears she used to have a dog-door, because when she wants to go out she doesn’t whine or bark, she just starts wandering around endlessly.

Due to significant joint disease in all 4 legs, she has an awkward and gangly gait with a permanent front leg limp.  Her back half sways back and forth as if she has a hinge in the middle of her spine.  Both cruciate ligaments were previously ruptured in her knees, and now she has severe scaring.  But a comprehensive pain management plan has eased her discomfort markedly, and now she has become much more mobile and even playful!  It is lovely to see her transformation.

Update from Ginger’s foster mom:

GINGER did very well for almost 10 months.  She saw an Ophthalmologist where it was determined that basically she had no retinas in the back of her eyes – most likely the result of having Distemper as a puppy – and therefore had been vision impaired since then.  This would explain all her leg and spinal damage ie she has been crashing & burning her entire life.

GINGER went through a period of intestinal upset which was treated empirically for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and with RX food and medication we were able to get everything under control.

But then very suddenly, she seemed to go completely blind and have significantly more difficulty navigating the house and yard – more difficulty than expected for a blind dog. She was still OK out on walks because we were still going mostly up the middle of the street, but she never “re-learned” her way around the house and yard.

It quickly became apparent that Dementia had set in, and eventually she became scared whenever she would try to move around the house on her own – especially if she got herself “trapped” in a corner or in the “wrong” room.  Getting her safely out to the yard and back became a project as she became more fearful of her surroundings.   She still enjoyed going out and about for walks, but that was becoming the only time she seemed really happy and not scared – it was time to say goodbye.

At the clinic, I hugged her tightly until she was no longer afraid of where she was, and then my Ginger Bear was sent on her way – free of her demons forever.