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‘Ghost’ finds a good home

by Tom Chillemi

Few things can melt a heart like the sight of a neglected dog.

For weeks, a skittish hound nicknamed “Ghost” had been haunting Urbanna. Several attempts were made to catch the emaciated animal with food, but her fear of humans was more powerful than her need to eat.

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Freckles has a new home.
Fortunately, Ghost, now called “Freckles,” has found a home with Joanne and David Harmon of Deltaville, and is settling into her place among their pack of three other dogs.

“She was skittish at first, but is coming along,” said Mrs. Harmon on Tuesday. “She walks on a leash and went riding in a car.”

For the first two nights in her new home, Freckles slept standing up, said Mrs. Harmon. “I guess it was so she could take off.” (Horses sleep standing up so they can run from a threat.)

Freckles has since moved to a soft chair.

She’s blending with “Dolly,” “Buster” and “BB,” and the Harmons’ seven cats. “All of our animals have been adopted,” noted Mrs. Harmon.

Freckles, whose ribs are showing, appears to have been abused and now appreciates the comfort of a good home. “She’s a young dog and she’s going to make a good pet,” said Mrs. Harmon. “She’s going to be fine.”

For about a month, the stray had people concerned in the Urbanna and Saluda areas. No one could get near her.

Urbanna Town Council member Joanie Ward saw the stray at the Urbanna Market and led the dog to her home on Rappahannock Avenue by holding a piece of lunch meat out of her car window. “But, she wouldn’t come through the gate,” said Ward.

The plight of the stray dog was discussed briefly at the Urbanna Town Council’s January 26 meeting. A plea was made for citizens to try to catch her. (Urbanna still has no leash law and attempts to enact one have always brought out considerable opposition.)

Ginny Sawkins of Urbanna was among those trying to help the homeless dog. “I know of at least a half dozen of us who were feeding her, and trying to save her from being hit by a car, shot or starved. Just about everybody in town was trying to catch her.”

“Too smart”

Middlesex Animal Control Officer Ricky Warren said they nicknamed the white and brown dog “Ghost” because she was so elusive. “We got a lot of calls, but by the time we’d get there, she’d be gone,” said Warren.

Warren and his department had been trying for a month to catch Ghost, who later migrated from Urbanna to Saluda. “She was too smart for the live trap,” he said. “She’d go in it, but wouldn’t trip it.”

Warren tried more than once to catch Ghost but could only get within about eight feet of her. He tried for two hours one cold day in Urbanna, but gave up when his hands started to sting from the freezing temperature.

Last week county animal control officer Mike Goodwin got close enough to grab Ghost with his hands near Middlesex High School in Saluda.

Ghost had no collar or micro-chip identification, and had not been tattooed, said Warren. “We had a nice lady bring a bag of dog food to the shelter for her,” said Warren.

Her claws are worn down from running on asphalt and concrete, and her ribs are showing. Although she’s still a little suspicious of strangers, her fears are easing. Whether Freckles loses her timidness is a remaining question. But, the worst part is over.

Now that she’s been adopted, said Mrs. Harmon, Freckles is happy just to lay on the sun porch at the Harmon home. “She’s a survivor.”

Adopt a Pet

There are plenty of animals waiting to be adopted. Please contact Middlesex Animal Control Officer Ricky Warren at the county shelter at Cooks Corner (behind the old Rappahannock Central Elementary School) at 758-2779, or the Middlesex Animal Welfare League at . Donations to the shelter are always welcome and should be mailed to Middlesex Animal Shelter, 2840 Gen. Puller Hwy., Saluda, VA 23149.

posted 02.18.2009

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