The Dog Who Rescued Cats :
Ginny Has Saved More Than 300 Needy Cats And One Special Human
Vegetarian Times, March, 1997 by Catherine Censor Shemo
The year was 1990, and Philip Gonzalez was optimistic about his prospects. The 40-year-old Vietnam veteran was earning a good having as a seam fitter. Weekdays he would commute to his construction job in Manhattan and return home to his one-bedroom apartment on Long Island for a simple vegetarian dinner. He traveled, played sports and indulged his taste in good clothes and gold jewelry. Philip might have enjoyed such modest pleasures for years to come, but a terrible accident swept it all away.
“I was putting some tools away when a big machine that cuts and threads pipe caught my right arm by the coat sleeve”, he recalls. He struggled to free himself but was swept up by the rotating machine as it mangled his arm, dashing his head against the concrete floor repeatedly as it spun. He’s thankful that he was unconscious through most of the ordeal.
Philip narrowly escaped amputation, but his right arm - his good arm - was all but useless. He also endured serious trauma and the cumulative injuries left him permanently disabled, unable to work and so broken in spirit that he refused to leave his apartment. A concerned neighbor, Sheilah Harris, hit upon an idea to restore his hope : an animal companion.
Together, Sheilah and Philip went to their local animal shelter. “I wanted a big Dog”, says Philip, “a Rottweiller or a Doberman, but the shelter didn’t have any Dogs on the adoption floor that I liked”. They were about to go when the attendant said he had two more Dogs in the back recovering from being spayed … One of them a Doberman. Philip went to the cage, and although he had his eye on the Doberman, a strange, Shepherd-sized scruffy Dog came right up to the bars and started to lick his hand. Philip wasn’t interested, but Sheilah implored him to take the Dog for a walk around the block. To appease her, Philip agreed. By the time they returned, Philip was ready to fill out the adoption papers.
The shelter attendant told Philip that the Dog, a mix of Siberian Husky and Schnauzer, had been found locked with her three pups in the closet of an abandoned apartment. She had been left without food or water. Her hair had fallen out from malnutrition and she was badly dehydrated but when found, she was still guarding her pups with her last bit of strength. Moved by the story, Philip looked down at the Dog to see her body wiggling with excitement and her tail wagging furiously. Despite all she’d been through, she was full of love and enthusiasm. Philip realized that as much as he thought he had to offer this Dog, the Dog had just as much to offer him. He promptly named the Dog Ginny after the Barbie-like dolls Sheilah collected and brought her home, her nose tucked under his chin for the duration of the ride.
THE PIED PIPER OF CATS
Three Days after Ginny’s homecoming, Philip walked her by a vacant lot. Ginny saw a Cat and ran after it, her leash slipping from Philip’s hand. Ginny shot toward the Cat as Philip looked on helplessly, fearful that the two would fight. To his amazement, Ginny started licking and grooming the Cat. The Cat was purring and rubbing against Ginny so Philip let them nuzzle for about an hour before tearing the reluctant Ginny away.
As soon as they got back to the apartment, Ginny started whining to go back to the vacant lot. This time, Philip thought to grab a can of Dog food to feed the Cat. The Cat gobbled it gratefully and played with Ginny, even riding on her back for a gallop around the lot. Philip returned every day to feed the stray but soon the “stray” turned into “strays”.
“There must have been 50 Cats”, Philip laughs, “and Ginny wanted to play with all of them”. Whenever Philip walked Ginny, all the Cats would come out of their hiding places and walk alongside her. A passerby who witnessed the spectacle called out to Philip, “What are you, the pied piper of Long Island ? Why are all those Cats following you ?” In answer, Philip dropped the leash, letting Ginny veer off in another direction. The Cats followed Ginny leaving Philip standing alone.
After the experience with the Cats at the vacant lot, Philip figured that Ginny might want a Cat of her own. The two headed down to the shelter where Philip assumed they would spend a couple of hours choosing among the shelter’s 80-odd Cats. Once again, Ginny proved to have a mind of her own. As soon as she was led to the Cat adoption area, Ginny made a bee-line for a cage holding a white Kitten. She whined and paced in front of the cage, begging for the Cat. Philip didn’t see anything special about the Kitten but he adopted it. Two days later he learned that there was something special about the Kitten Ginny chose : She was deaf.
Philip didn’t know it, but Ginny would not be satisfied with one Cat. A week later, Ginny accompanied Philip as he carried a donation of Cat and Dog treats to the shelter. Again, Ginny came to a halt in front of a Cat cage. She went into her begging routine. The object of Ginny’s excitement ? A Cat with one eye. Philip shrugged and took it home. At a routine vet appointment, Ginny caught sight of a Cat with a rope around her neck. The vet was going to put the Cat to sleep because she had lost her feet to frostbite and because she was a wild, hissing Cat who stood no chance of adoption. Philip was determined not to take the Cat, but Ginny insisted. They took her home.
According to Philip Gonzalez, Ginny had a special gift for rescuing Cats in need : “a radar of the heart” as he called it.
Ginny included Philip and Sheilah, their neighbor, in her important work and together they had provided a good home for numerous Cats, rescued and found homes for many others and fed the large population of stray Cats in their area twice daily. Many of the Cats were caught, vaccinated, neutered and put up for adoption. Those who were not adopted were returned to the streets where they were fed and visited by Ginny, Philip and Sheilah.
Two of Ginny’s many incredible rescues included Betty Boop and Topsy. Ginny discovered Betty Boop at her veterinary hospital. The gray-and-white Cat had been found in the street by some children who brought the Cat to the veterinarian. When Ginny noticed the Cat she began making the noises she makes when she wants Philip to adopt a particular Cat, most of whom physically challenged, sick or hurt. This Cat had only her arms and only half a tail. Philip adopted the Cat whom he named Betty Boop.
Topsy was dramatically rescued by Ginny at a construction site where she rescued the young Kitten from an air-conditioning duct. There were several mother Cats with their litters at this location, but Ginny carried the only Kitten who was not healthy to Philip and Sheilah. The six-week-old Kitten had a brain disorder, and would never be able to walk or stand. Philip and Ginny welcomed Topsy into their home. Topsy got around by rolling and even rolled herself into the litter box !
300 Cats To Attend Funeral For New York Dog
Chicago Sun-Times, Nov 14, 2005
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- This will probably be the first time a Dog’s memorial service is attended by 300 Cats.
A Schnauzer-Siberian Husky mix named Ginny will be eulogized Nov. 19 at the Westchester Cat Show, where she was named Cat of the Year in 1998 for her uncanny skill and bravery in finding and rescuing endangered felines. She died in August at age 17.
Ginny once threw herself against a vertical pipe at a construction site to topple it and reveal the Kittens trapped inside. Another time she ignored the cuts on her hands and feet as she dug through a box of broken glass to find an injured Cat inside.
Her owner, Philip Gonzalez of Long Beach, said Thursday that he has tried to train other Dogs to rescue Cats like Ginny, but “They just didn’t have it”.
“I didn’t train her”, he said. “Ginny was just magical in a way. I adopted her from a shelter, and they said she’s never been with Cats before. But she just had this knack of knowing when a Cat was in trouble”.
As he used to do with Ginny, Gonzalez still goes out every night to feed stray Cats in the area. The Cats seem to miss Ginny, too, he said.
“They want nothing to do with my other Dogs”, he said.
...Dos partes de una historia que muchos nunca olvidarán