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SACRAMENTO — It’s not often a mother has to tell her children that a family member is sick, so there won’t be much left for the holidays. But that is exactly what Army Sgt. Elise Dahlberg had to do recently when their family dog, Ginger, went through a month-long ordeal.

Ginger, a Queensland Healer, had gone missing for several weeks. She arrived Saturday at the Front Street Animal Shelter, but in bad shape.

“The dog is still super sick,” explained Gina Knepp, Front Street’s manager. “The woman paid her bill, which we love when people do. But she said, if my kids have to give up Christmas to save Ginger, that’s just what we’re going to have to do.”

That bill was for nearly a thousand dollars.

Ginger was being treated for Parvovirus, which can be fatal at times. So Front Street is taking donations to help this dedicated Army sergeant in need of some assistance.

“If we can help someone’s life be better, as well as their animals … that’s a double-A plus,” said Knepp.

Ginger was reunited with Dahlberg this week. Home for the holidays, where she belongs.

“A person in uniform, protecting our country, sick dog, Christmas, the just tugs at your heart,” expressed Knepp.

And hopefully, this will be one holiday that will last for a lifetime.