While Hollywood is filled with power couples, no relationship has captured hearts quite like the one shared by Patrick Stewart and his fostered pit bull, Ginger. But just a few short months later, the pair’s companionship took a heartbreaking turn. And the reason why will bring tears to your eyes.
Like many Hollywood icons, Patrick Stewart loves doing his bit for charity. Recently, the X-Men star got involved with the ASPCA’s “Adopt Don’t Shop” program – a campaign aimed at helping shelter dogs throughout the U.S. And Stewart knew he could do much more than spread awareness through the press.
Indeed, Stewart became set on fostering an abandoned pooch himself. Inspired by his own happy experience with an old neighbor’s pit bull named Sadie, the actor reached out to the ASPCA hoping to find a dog of that breed. So the group put him in touch with the rescue charity Wags and Walks, who luckily had the perfect match.
Only two years old, Ginger the pit bull had already experienced terrible hardship. In fact, the poor pet had been saved from a fighting ring where she was forced to breed with other unfortunate dogs. Despite her hardship, though, Ginger possessed a loving spirit that convinced Wags and Walks she’d make the perfect companion for Stewart.
After being picked up from her shelter, Ginger was soon taken to meet Stewart at his Los Angeles home. Needless to say, it was love at first sight, and the two made an instant connection. As Stewart petted his new pooch, Ginger affectionately licked her new master’s face. It was a lovable sign of their relationship to come.
“Almost immediately something happened,” Stewart told People of the pair’s first meeting. “First her warmth and friendliness and curiosity and good manners impressed us right away. But what we were not prepared for is what very quickly followed, and that was that we fell in love.”
It wasn’t just Stewart and Ginger who were overjoyed by their first encounter. After Patrick’s wife Sunny Ozell uploaded a video of their introduction in March, social media users became smitten by the duo’s undeniable bond. And from there, Stewart’s online presence bubbled over with updates on his and Ginger’s relationship.
Within moments of setting foot in the door, in fact, Ginger was already sleeping on the sofa and making herself comfortable in Stewart’s house. From evening walks to Sunday snoozes, Patrick and Sunny kept their social media fans updated through every step of their friendship. And their followers just couldn’t get enough.
What impressed people the most was just how cuddly this seemingly ferocious breed could be. Indeed, Stewart himself was blissfully ignorant of the creature’s true character until he met Sadie. He even admitted to People that he once associated pit bulls with “aggression, hostility [and] violence.” But both Sadie and Ginger’s kindness helped convince him – and many of his Twitter fans – of their good nature.
Though Ginger was his first pet dog in almost 50 years, Stewart was utterly won over by his best friend’s companionship. Soon, Stewart and Ozell began thinking of not only fostering Ginger but adopting her as well. However, the pair’s plans for the future were shattered by some sad news.
While Ginger’s friendliness is out of step with the pitbull’s reputation, many remain unconvinced about the breed’s temperament. In fact, the United Kingdom has laws forbidding the ownership of such dogs. Since 1991, the country’s Dangerous Dogs Act has rendered pooches like Ginger unwelcome on British soil.
This wouldn’t be a problem for most American couples, but Stewart and Ozell also have residence in the U.K. What’s more, the two spend a huge chunk of their time in Stewart’s native land. This gave the couple just two uncomfortable choices. They could either risk Ginger’s life by bringing her to Britain, or they could give her up to another loving home.
As Ozell wrote on her Facebook page, the pair had “explored every possibility of getting [Ginger] to the U.K.” Nevertheless, both she and Stewart had decided that they couldn’t gamble with their beloved hound’s life. As a result, they were forced to abandon their adoption plans and put Ginger in another family’s care.
By early April, Stewart and Ozell had parted ways with Ginger with a fond yet emotional farewell. And though they may have said their goodbyes, the celebrity couple vowed to stay close to the rescued pooch. On Facebook, Ozell wrote that Ginger “will forever be a light of my life, and we’ll be keeping in touch with her as much as possible.”
Stewart himself was similarly effusive, and he told People in April 2017 how much Ginger has changed his worldview. “She has brought such a quality of patience and tolerance and fun into our lives,” he said. “I literally find myself more optimistic than I was, and there is only Ginger to account for this.”
Now living with another foster family, Ginger is fortunately still with a loving home. But that doesn’t mean that Stewart has stopped caring for her. In fact, he is totally committed to finding his friend a permanent residence. “We have a list of people we know [who] would love to have Ginger,” the star told People.
Nonetheless, this isn’t the only way that Stewart is striving to save Ginger and other dogs like her. Moved by his experience, the Logan star is taking a stand against dog fighting by endorsing the ASPCA’s “Get Tough” campaign. And his followers’ reactions to his and Ginger’s tale has already done much to promote the program.
According to the ASPCA, dog fighting is still very much an issue in American society – and there are still thousands of pit bulls in the U.S. that are forced to participate in the brutal sport each year. Indeed, it’s a miracle when dogs like Ginger manage to escape to a better life.
Stewart is also directing his efforts to ending the Dangerous Dogs Act in his native land. In this respect, the actor isn’t alone as the law has been criticized by numerous charities, including the RSPCA. Meanwhile, the ASPCA is combating similar legislation in several U.S. states.
Their story may be sad, but Stewart has no regrets about his time with Ginger. Earlier in 2o17 he even said that fostering her was “one of the best things I’ve ever done.” Meanwhile, their time together has inspired countless others to foster dogs – which at least gives this heartwarming tale a bittersweet end.