Shelter Hopes To Help Dog Overcome Debilitating Fear

An animal shelter in Georgia is trying to raise funds for a unique dog who was so frightened of people that his fear literally caused him to have a heart attack and “die.” The young dog, who thankfully was brought back from the brink of death thanks to shelter staff who quickly administered CPR, is named “Ghost.”

Paws Humane, in Columbus, Georgia, released Ghost’s story on Wednesday, along with a special request for help – the shelter’s Facebook post touches on Ghost’s one-of-a-kind situation:

In the history of PAWS, we have never had a case this unique and in order to ensure he gets the rehabilitation that is needed, it is imperative we build this outside enclosure for him.

What, you may wonder, happened to cause Ghost to develop such a deep fear of people? When he was just a puppy, he and his litter mates were pulled from Columbus Animal Care and Control by an area rescue group. During the transfer from the animal control agency, to the waiting rescue van, young Ghost managed to escape.

Tragically, multiple efforts to capture the young runaway failed and Ghost began living his life as a feral dog, alone in the woods near the PAWS facility. While on his own, Ghost grew increasingly wary of people, but his loneliness and curiosity about humans and their dogs remained evident.

PAWS described how the scared dog was finally captured, and what happened when he was finally secured:

Worrying for his safety due to the very busy road nearby and the coming winter, the PAWS staff made a plan to lure Ghost and capture him. The plan was to bring him into the shelter for rehabilitation. Ghost was feral at this point, having never been around humans.

He was scared of everything and everyone, but he was clearly longing for something and was curious about humans and animals. So, the PAWS staff lured him with treats and caught him. Then he had a heart attack, they revived him, and everyone fell in love with him.

According to shelter staff, Ghost is one of the saddest dogs that you will ever see…he longs for affection, but is too afraid to receive it. He does not wag his tail and he will retreat to his kennel to spin in circles if he accidentally makes eye contact with a person.

Though many feral dogs can display aggression, Ghost is quite the opposite. PAWS explains, “Ghost is the kindest, most gentle spirited dog we have come across in a long time. We see a lot of dogs at PAWS, and this one is special.”

In an effort to help this special dog overcome his tremendous fear, and hopefully one day be rehabilitated enough to be considered “adoptable,” the shelter is trying to raise funds to build a special outdoor enclosure for him. PAWS explained:

His rehabilitation will likely take a year or more, and it will be costly. We are already at the three-month mark, and he still isn’t ready for adoption. Would you consider donating to his care and rehabilitation? We are partnering with CorePaws, a non-profit that helps promote hard to place animals in shelters across the U.S., in fundraising $3,200 for Ghost to have a separate enclosure and a partial roofed area. This enclosure will be used for his outdoor rehabilitation and will allow PAWS to help more animals like Ghost in the future.

Casey Smith of PAWS explained the need for the outdoor enclosure to the Ledger-Enquirer:

Since he grew up outdoors and is acclimated to it, we have been advised by experts … to allow him to stay in a safe, outdoor enclosure during the day and sleep in his kennel at night. This will help with his mental state by helping cut back on the amount of fear he feels being trapped indoors all day. Ghost has made some progress indoors, but we feel he will make more progress in an outdoor enclosure.

Read more about Ghost and the fundraising efforts on his behalf at this link to YouCaring.

PAWS Humane on Facebook here.



Penny Eims

Penny is a freelance writer who provided content to her National Dog News column at for 8 years. She is a current contributor to Fido Friendly Magazine, as well as a newly formed website, Pet Rescue Report. Penny is married and she has two rescued German shepherds and two kids.

1 comment

  1. Susan Pelletier says:

    CBD will help that dog with anxiety and fear. It is safe for humans and dogs.
    Please google and get some.

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