HCHS manager Sandy Behnke nicknamed the dog Ghost when he showed up, seemingly out of nowhere, Wednesday evening moments before rescuers were about to give up on finding him. Ghost also has hauntingly blue eyes.
On Tuesday, a shelter Facebook follower posted a photo showing the emaciated Ghost, and Behnke was frantic when she couldn’t find him during Wednesday’s rescue mission. The trailer was loaded with the other rescued cats and dogs, and Behnke and her team were about to leave when something nudged the back of her leg. When she turned around, it was Ghost.
He spent Thursday at a Rogersville vet’s office, where it was determined that Ghost has roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms.
“He had to get 100 CCs of saline because he’s severely dehydrated, and he’s on antibiotics twice daily for parasites,” Behnke told the Times-News Friday. “Thankfully he was negative for heartworms. He’s going to make a full recovery.
“It’s just going to take time, and we can’t give him as much food as he wants. We just have to feed him small portions several times throughout the day so his stomach won’t flip.”
There has been a tremendous outpouring of support for Ghost since his story went public.
James and Katie Stergios of Talbot brought a $200 donation to the shelter Thursday to help cover Ghost’s vet bill.
On Wednesday, a young girl from Rogersville named Josie Waller donated $5 from her birthday money toward his care.
Behnke said there were several other cash donations Friday to help cover vet expenses, as well as 20 inquiries from people interested in adopting Ghost.
Next week, a volunteer will begin medically fostering Ghost until he is recuperated so that donations can still be used to pay his vet bills. When he is completely well, Ghost will be placed up for adoption, and one lucky family will receive a very gentle, loving dog.
“He is very sweet and very strong,” Behnke said. “He walks good on a leash. He loves the cats. He hasn’t tried to go after them, but he’s very interested in them. He’s very loving. He wants attention. He’s a good dog. We haven’t heard him growl one time, and he’s not aggressive around the other dogs.”
Earlier this week, the HCHS was asked to rescue several dogs that were left behind after a family of squatters, a woman and two children, were evicted from a vacant house on Old Stage Road off Burem Road south of Rogersville.
A family member of the woman who abandoned Ghost and several other dogs told Behnke Friday that Ghost wasn’t her dog. She found Ghost and tied him to a tree. That house hadn’t had running water for more than three years, and neighbors told Behnke they brought the dogs water and food.
“All their other dogs were tied outside, so when they were evicted they just basically untied them and left them there,” Behnke said. “I guess Ghost didn’t get fed because he was in bad shape.”
That lady is now supposedly living in her car with four other dogs in a Rogersville store parking lot, Behnke noted. The woman’s two children are staying with family members.
The Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office is aware of the situation, Behnke said. The HCSO had responded to animal complaints at that location prior to the eviction but were unable to take any action.