Senior Computer Tutor
Frightened Dog in the Alley
Ginger was a stray I found one day scrounging through the dumpsters behind my silk-screen printing business in Anaheim. She was obviously malnourished and looked as though she may have been mistreated. She was very fearful and did her shakey best to avoid being caught.
But I couldn't just ignore her and let her eat garbage. So I finally managed to grab her and get her into my car. Once caught, she offered no resistance.
I already had a couple of German Shepherds at home (my wife wouldn’t allow anything but
thoroughbreds in the house) and
I took her to my veterinarian and asked him to check her out. He said if I could leave her overnight he’d get back to me the following day.
When he called, his tone of voice said he didn’t have good news. “She’s pretty sick and may never get back to a state of normal health.”
“Well, please do what you can,” I replied, “I’ll give her lots of TLC and see if I can nurse her along into becoming our shop mascot.”
I can't remember why I chose to name her Ginger, but she was basically a very friendly pooch who soon got over her timidity and eventually became a favorite with my customers, many of whom she'd greet at the door with a wagging tail. And her health did return to what seemed to me to be perfectly normal.
Now and then there'd be somebody she didn't care for—so she'd just give them a wide berth and lie down under my drawing board.But one day Ginger became a completely different animal.
I was at my drawing board, near a window with a view of our parking lot, while Ginger slept at my feet. Suddenly she sat up and started growling. The hair on her back stood straight up as she suddenly dashed to the front door, barking ferociously all the way. Then she started clawing at the door with the barking becoming louder and more intense.
Well, I could neither see nor hear anything unusual going on in the parking lot, much less anything near our door. I did see a car entering the far end of the lot (about 100 yards away) which looked like it might be coming in our general direction—but nothing else.
The car was moving hesitantly, as though its driver was looking for an address. Eventually it came to a stop in front of our shop. By now Ginger had become a raving lunatic who looked as though she might actually claw her way through the front door.
A young woman started to get out of the car, but suddenly turned pale and jumped back in, slamming the door behind her.
The woman just sat there, petrified with fear. Naturally, I went out to talk to her, but it took all the strength I could muster to keep Ginger from following me through the door.
The woman rolled her window down a couple of inches, and I asked if I could help her.
"I came to buy some Open House signs," she said in a trembling voice, "but you've got a dog in there."
"Ginger?" I said. "No problem—she's harmless—but I'll put her in the bathroom if you'd like."
"No, you don't understand," she said. "Dogs don't like me. This happens everywhere I go. They always find a way to get at me. I can't go in there!"
I could hardly believe what was happening and really didn't know what to say. Finally, I told the woman that I would bring out whatever she needed.
Well, I was able to fill the lady's order without her leaving the car. But Ginger didn't calm down until the woman had been gone for about ten minutes.
To this day I have no idea how Ginger managed to sense the arrival of that woman when she first entered our parking lot (the length of a football field away). But I certainly became a believer in animals having a 6th sense.