HUMAN + HOUND
Samantha + Ginger & Presley
New York, NY
Social Tees Animal Rescue is a not-for-profit, strictly no-kill 501c3 organization in the East Village of NYC that takes abandoned animals from kill shelters and provides them with safe haven and veterinary care before placing them in proper forever homes. Social Tees rescues, rehabilitates, and places over 3000 dogs, cats, birds, and exotics per year, and takes special pride in its “Underdogs and Undercats” program, through which they find homes for many sick, injured, special needs, and senior animals.
As Development Manager, Samantha Brody does a bit of everything. After starting as a volunteer for Social Tees, Samantha now works full time pulling animals from the kill shelter, planning events, applying for grants, and much more - usually with her two four-legged best friends Ginger & Presley at her side.
WHO are the special pups in your life?
This sounds like a trick question -- I have so many special pups in my life, but the MOST special are Ginger and Presley. Both are Shih Tzu mixes (rescues so I can't say for sure), 3 years old.
WHEN (and how) did you first meet Ginger & Presley?
My goodness, the beginnings of these epic love stories...! I first met Ginger last February. I saw a picture of her in a daily email we get from the kill shelter featuring dogs that come in each day and need placement. I pulled her and she arrived a few days later. It was a cold dark night when the Animal Care & Control (ACC) van carrying her pulled up outside Social Tees...and when the door opened and the ACC driver came in with Ginger in his arms, I knew I was doomed. Ginger was in trashy shape, and she looked hilariously strange. She was underweight, completely matted and covered in doody, her face was very pink and her lips were puffy -- our volunteers that night aptly proclaimed that she looked like William H. Macy. When we put her on the floor she started walking... and her back and twisted bizarrely to the left. She was crooked! She had been found stray in Brooklyn, lactating at the time, her puppies had recently been taken away from her and then she was dumped on the street. (It literally keeps me up at night sometimes thinking where her puppies might be now.) It wasn't quite love at first sight for both of us though. I followed Ginger around the shelter as she wandered aimlessly, playing hard to get, almost no interest in me at all. But that was it, I had to have her -- at least temporarily. I brought her home just to foster her so I could make sure she was getting the care she needed while she recovered, and I fell for her pretty immediately. It turns out she has a few chronic health issues that we're managing, most notably dry eye that wasn't properly treated when she was younger so her vision is very poor. But she's perfect to me. (Ugh, I can't believe I just said that.)
A few months later, Presley came along. I already had Ginger and was fostering two other dogs at the time (yes, I'm out of my mind). It was one of those weekends where we were getting a a big group of rescue dogs and puppies via our partner rescue group in Tennessee, and Presley was one of them. I hadn't seen a picture of him yet, but Dimitra -- my business partner -- had been telling me for days that a very special small Shih Tzu with his tongue out was going to be coming and that I had to meet him, she had heard he was really something special. Ginger had converted me to Shih Tzu-ism even though I had always thought I was a big dog person before I adopted her, so Dimitra knew this little guy would be right up my alley. The day he arrived, he and all of the other new dogs went straight to an adoption event uptown before I met him. It was an exhausting day and I already had three dogs in my apartment, so when the event ended and Dimitra said she was bringing him down to me, I told her no. I asked her to please put him in a foster home, I just couldn't deal with another dog right now. "Absolutely not," she said. "You don't understand. This is your next dog -- I'm bringing him down, you meet him and THEN tell me you don't want him, and then we'll put him in a foster home." And... now I have Ginger and Presley.
WHAT are the best things about Ginger & Presley?
The best thing about both of them is how loving and human-like they are... and how easy they are. I wish I could take credit for how good they are, but they were the way they are when I took them home -- housebroken, quiet, friendly with everyone, well mannered. My favorite thing about Ginger is how loyal she is to me. She has definitely chosen me as her person and we have a unique bond that I never expected to have with an animal. My favorite thing about Presley is what a little showboat he is. He insists upon himself -- loves attention, wants to be in everyone's lap, is hysterically good tempered.
"Ginger does the most unbelievable happy dance when I have gone out of the room and come back or when we get to our favorite cafe in the morning and she knows she'll get treats -- she puts her front paws up over her head one at a time over and over while the rest of her squiggles around."
"Presley's tongue is always out -- he actually gets mistaken for Marnie the dog sometimes! (They have met, it was pretty funny to see them together.) He loves to roll over on his back and then twist around asking for belly rubs, and he has the cutest little walk. His back end is higher than his head so he looks like a beetle when he scurries."
"I've been with Social Tees for about three and a half years. I started out as a foster parent and quickly became close with the two incredible people who are now my partners -- the three of us run Social Tees Animal Rescue with the help of many volunteers."
WHERE is your favorite place to go with Ginger & Presley?
My favorite daily place to take them is Social Tees, actually -- it's so wonderful to be able to work with them in my lap or by my side, and they are fantastic ambassadors for the rescue world. Everyone who meets them loves them, and they often help people who are not familiar with the shelter system see how special rescue dogs can be.
To find out more about SOCIAL TEES ANIMAL RESCUE and the important work that they do, check out their website :