Special needs does not mean broken or unloveable. In fact, a special needs dog is no different than an abled dog when it comes to simply being a dog. They love just as much, play just as hard and can certainly find their way into some naughtiness that is sure to test the patience of their humans. Simply put, they are dogs first and foremost. Just ask our good friend, Ginger.
Ginger is a playful, sassy and at times, mischievous girl. She loves to sunbathe while chewing on a good bone. She can never say no to peanut butter, loves to swim in the lake near her home, enjoys naps and a good cuddle with her humans. She is independent, determined, too smart for her own good… and is also completely blind.
She was born with an infection in her eyes, most likely contracted during delivery from her birth mother. Unfortunately because puppies do not immediately open their eyes at birth, the infection went undetected for some time. When it was finally discovered, the damage was irreparable. She had already gone completely blind. Not much else is known about Ginger’s past, but this new fate of hers proved to be a burden for her family and she was dumped at a shelter at just a few weeks old; already homeless and without a loving family to call her own.
As luck would have it, her new family was waiting to stumble upon her and Ginger would end up being exactly what they needed without them even knowing it. One day they decided to visit an animal shelter with the intention of adopting a cat. Instead they were drawn to this kennel where a sweet baby of just four months old was being kept; people continued to walk past her without even stopping to look. It was shortly after this visit that her family eventually came back for her. Her new mom and dad, inexperienced and young themselves at just twenty four years old, decided they needed to give Ginger her forever home and they would face whatever challenges that came their way together. And the challenges definitely came.
Training a blind puppy certainly had its hard moments. But what was probably the most difficult to bear was the flow of opinions from people who thought they knew best. There was no shortage of unfriendly advice about all the things she would never be able to do; which translated to all the amazing moments her humans would never experience as they would with a “normal” puppy. They were even encouraged on several occasions to “put her down.” “Her life would be no life at all… just save yourselves the burden and the hassle.”
Thankfully her parents didn’t listen, but that didn’t stop the prejudices from coming. Having a special needs dog can have it’s own challenges, rightfully so. But Ginger is also an American Staffordshire Terrier. She not only faces the discrimination of being imperfect according to society’s standards, but she is also “one of those dangerous dogs.” People have blatantly pulled their children closer, crossed the street and have even changed directions altogether to avoid crossing paths with Ginger and her family. But the three of them have taken the very best approach at not only helping people understand what it means to parent a special needs dog, but what it means to love a bully. Each of these encounters is challenged with a smile and an invitation to say a close and personal hello to the sweet girl before them.
Ginger has always made people stop and stare. Whether those stares come from a place of fear or curiosity, Ginger welcomes them with an open heart. 10 year ago her future was completely uncertain. And through the years has proven time and time again, that all those who doubted her in the beginning were wrong. She’s an inspiration not only to her own family, but to people everywhere.
Today her family would like you to know that having a bully breed with a disability is not a disadvantage. Quite the contrary, Ginger is as abled as anyone else. She does everything that any other dog does and has never let her blindness hold her back from accomplishing exactly what she sets out to do. Having a blind dog or one with a disability of any kind may be a different kind of dog experience, but it is still an incredibly fulfilling one. And what she has taught us all is that being disabled doesn’t mean you still can’t be the happiest girl in the world.
Help us wish this beautiful girl a happy 10th birthday. Learn more about this inspiring beauty and her family by following her daily adventures at @gingiepuppygram.