Platt Hound dog Katie was rescued from shelter in Ellensburg.
Katie is a happy hound dog now!
By Krysta Gibson
It all began with a dog who barked when Ginger's husband
delivered dinner to a house near their Rickshaw Restaurant
on North 105th Street in Seattle.
“My husband said that every time he went to this house,
he could hear a dog barking continuously, but never saw a
dog. I have been an animal lover my whole life, so I decided
to make the delivery the next time,” says Ginger Luke
of Ginger's Pet Rescue. “I arrived at the house and
heard the dog barking. I asked the man who lived there why
the dog was barking so much.
The man said, “Oh, he's a bad dog. He barks and he
bites. He is mean and should be put down.”
“I suggested that he let me take care of the dog. When
he hesitated, I offered him $50 for the dog and he accepted.
When he opened the door to the bathroom, I was expecting a
big mean dog. Instead, out walks a little 15-pound weiner
dog who ran straight to me and jumped into my arms. He looked
at me as if to say, 'Get me out of this house!' ”
As she was driving home, Ginger noticed that the dog's collar
was so tight it was almost embedded into the dog's skin. So
she took it off. When she took the dog to the vet they discovered
the dog was flea-infested, had serious ear mites, and an infected
mouth. All of the dog's teeth had to be removed.
A friend of Ginger's who owns Dandelion Dog Rescue had a
friend who adopted this dog after paying the vet bill of several
thousand dollars. The woman is deaf and Barney is now her
service dog and goes everywhere with her. It was a happy ending
to the otherwise bleak story.
Ginger wondered how many other dogs were in need of good
homes and found herself starting to work with smaller animal
shelters back in Eastern Washington, especially the shelter
in Ellensburg. E-mails are exchanged daily and Ginger usually
chooses one or two dogs to work with, sending emails to over
1000 people on her email list. These people forward the emails
to people they know, resulting in a large effort to save what
Ginger calls “Death Row Dogs.”
of these smaller shelters are old and outdated due to lack
of funding. People don't always think to go to the smaller
shelters so these shelters end up having to put dogs down
because they don't have room to keep them and their adoption
rates are lower than big cities. At the bigger shelters there
are so many dogs that people get confused. And when you go
there are thousands of dogs listed so people have a difficult
time making a decision,” Ginger explains. By focusing
her efforts on one to two dogs at a time, Ginger is successful
in finding homes for them.
This is not the first time Ginger has been involved in animal
welfare. She and her husband owned a wildlife sanctuary in
Montana for several years. When her mother got sick and needed
kidney dialysis, Ginger had to move the animals to a sanctuary
in Colorado. “I really miss being with those animals.
My work finding homes for dogs helps to fill that void.”
In the back of her restaurant Ginger has put up a display
board showing dogs who are available for adoption as well
as photos of some of her success stories. One of them is Yula.
She found him a home the day before he was to be put down
by a surprising morning email sent by a man named Chuck who
ended up taking the day off to rush to Ellensburg to save
her. That was an 11th hour rescue and one of Ginger's favorite
stories. Yula being chained for 6 years turned out to be one
of the best dog ever Chuck told Ginger.
Ginger was able to find homes for 28 dogs in the first seven
week of doing this work. She says, “It's like eating
potato chips: once you start you can't stop with just one!”
To date, she has now saved 54 dogs in 13 weeks now.
All dogs must be spayed or neutered prior to placement and
she does a home visit as well as follow-ups to see how the
adoption works out.
How does Ginger find time for this venture? She has owned
the Rickshaw Restaurant for 30 years and has a great staff,
she says. Even with being open seven days a week, 18 hours
a day, she finds that rescuing dogs and helping to find them
homes brings her a joy and satisfaction she can't find elsewhere.
She believes that if a person wants to find the time to do
something, they can.
“Rescue dogs are the best,” Ginger says. “They
need about 10 to 14 days to make the transition and then it
is unconditional love all the way.”
To be put on Ginger's e-mail list so you can be notified
of dogs needing homes or of lost pets -- or if you can provide
a temporary foster home -- write to Ginger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, it is important to remember that dogs who have spent
time in a shelter can have some behavior or health issues
which might need resolving. Be sure you are willing and able
to handle such possibilities prior to adopting any particular
dog. Love, Patience and total understanding is what a rescued
dog needs most.
There's nothing like a rescued dog with a happily ever after
tale to wag about !