Dog that survived alone for 3 years reunited with long-lost family

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A humane society director’s detective work led to the best reunion for a dog who lost her family nearly three years ago.

Jennifer George, of Wyoming, lost little Ginger during a trip to Iowa back in 2015.

Jennifer’s husband, BJ, was on a business trip in Burlington at the time, and the family brought Ginger with them to stay at a home they were renting while they were there.

“My mom, the dog was originally hers, and she had passed away about four months earlier,” Jennifer said.

Shortly after they arrived, Ginger made a run for it. Jennifer stayed behind and searched for the dog for days with the help of the community. But she was gone.

Until last week. That’s when Kandi Glick, who runs the Des Moines County Regional Humane Society, started getting calls about a dog running loose in town.

Glick set up a trap with hot dogs, and captured the dog on Saturday. She scoured a missing pets Facebook page she runs, and found a post the Georges made about three years ago. She called the phone number in the post.

“I actually made a phone call to the husband and said, ‘Hey, were you in Burlington, Iowa, about three years ago?This is going to be the weirdest phone call you ever get,'” Glick said.

When the family got the call, they were skeptical.

“Her undercoat had grown out, she was twice as big as she is now, she had a lot of matting on her and of course, after three years her face has aged, so it just didn’t look like the same dog,” Glick said.

Ginger, shortly after her rescue.

But a trip to the groomer revealed what would be key to confirming who she was.

“She had on (when she went missing) -Jennifer remembered – a purple and lime green collar,” Glick said.

It’s a little faded now but the collar held up on the inside.

“I think I was speechless,” Jennifer said.

And through a hail storm on Wednesday, Jennifer and her 10-year-old daughter, Samantha, made the eight-hour trek to meet Ginger for the best family reunion.

“This is really funny to say, but McDonald’s saved her life. People dumped food at a car wash, and it’s McDonald’s, it’s Taco Bell, it’s Burger King and she was digging every night in the trash,” Glick said. “The water that people that people washed their cars with, it’s just amazing she survived. We don’t know how she did it.”

Ginger was a little confused, but after about 45 seconds, she recognized Samantha and started to get cozy with both her and Jennifer, offering plenty of love and kisses.

George said this reunion is all thanks to Glick.

“She’s just an angel,” Jennifer said. “What she does …is she reunites families and she gave us back this dog that meant so much to us and without her people wouldn’t have these moments.”