Ginger, the pregnant dog abandoned at a Brownsville construction site, now thriving thanks to animal shelter director

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Ginger the boxer looks up at her rescuers while feeding her puppies. (Courtesy Photo)

HARLINGEN – She’s a brown-eyed girl.

She looks up with her demure and somewhat nervous expression from the red and green blanket while her puppies feed eagerly on her under-nourished body.

Her name is Ginger, and she’s just been rescued from a construction site where she was abandoned just as she’s about to give birth.

Fortunately, someone has seen fit to call animal control to have her and her male companion rescued from the 100-degree heat.

And that’s where Antonio Caldwell, deputy director of animal services at the Brownsville Animal Regulation and Care Center, joins Ginger’s rescue story.

“It was about eight or nine weeks ago that we got a call through dispatch for an animal control officer to respond to a construction site,” Caldwell remembers. “There were two dogs that were kind of roaming around, and they looked like they had been dumped at this construction site.”

Animal control brought the two boxers to the shelter, and Caldwell immediately saw the greater concern here — a pregnant mother with no place to give birth.

“Ginger was as wide as a house, like super pregnant,” he says. “It makes you sad to think who would abandon a pregnant mama with no food, no water, in the heat at a construction site. It’s a terribly sad thing, it’s insane, but these are things that we deal with on a regular basis.”

It’s a tragic and hideous thing that the abandonment of a living thing should be common. But as with all things dark and tragic, there is a way to work it to a positive effect.

In this case, that positive something comes in the form of a practiced protocol when mobilizing on behalf of an abandoned animal.

Antonio Caldwell, deputy director of animal services at the Brownsville Animal Regulation and Care Center, is seen with Ginger. (Courtesy Photo)

“They brought in Ginger, and we immediately got her food and water and got her settled,” he recalls.

A rescue organization in Central Texas quickly took in the male boxer. Ginger, however, remained in Brownsville and actually stayed in the veterinarian’s office for about two days.

“They made her super comfortable,” Caldwell says. “She was so pregnant she could hardly walk it seemed yet.”

At this point, however, Caldwell had not yet seen Ginger. That changed about two days after her arrival.

“I went next door to our vet’s office and peaked in and saw these ginormous brown eyes staring at me, and immediately it was, ‘Oh, my goodness, we can’t have you having your babies here at this shelter,’” he recalls. “This is no place for a pregnant mama to give birth.”

On top of that, a three-day weekend was upon him, and he couldn’t accept a mama dog having her pups alone in a vet’s office without assistance and laying there for three days.

He called his wife, let her know they were having “company” that weekend, then took Ginger home.

Just in time, apparently, because within two days Ginger had given birth to 12 boxer puppies.

“I cleared out my office completely, and my office became a nursery for these puppies,” Caldwell said. “We cared for them for the eight weeks they were with us.”

Four of the puppies didn’t live very long, but the other eight were strong, healthy, full-blooded boxers — four males and four females. Caldwell had an adoption event at a local PetSmart, and all eight puppies found homes.

But there was still Ginger, and no one took her home. It is a sad circumstance that even in adoption scenarios for children, people want the younger more than the older. The babies and very small children find homes, and the older kids and the teenagers get left behind.

Such is the case also with dogs and cats. While everyone wanted Ginger’s babies, they didn’t want Ginger herself.

But again, this negative turned into a positive.

“My wife and I were so attached we were actually glad that she didn’t get adopted because I think we wanted to bring her home,” Caldwell said. “She had already spent two months with us, and we couldn’t imagine seeing her with anyone else. So she’s now happily running around our house, and it’s so good to see her wagging her tail and with those big beautiful brown eyes.”

Caldwell urges everyone to get their dogs and cats spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted puppies and kittens being born into a life of misery.

And if you have a pet you don’t want anymore, do the humane thing and bring it to a shelter, not a construction site in 103-degree weather.