In January 2014, my husband and I decided we wanted to add an older dog to our pack to keep our elderly beagle company. I contacted My Fairy Dawg Mother Rescue, and as fate would have it, she had just taken in an older dog with a heartbreaking story. The dog had been saved by a young couple in southern Colorado. They had recently moved into a new home and were horrified by what they saw in their neighbor’s backyard. A dog, tethered to a 3 foot chain, outside in extremely cold temperatures, never brought inside, and only fed scraps when it was convenient. The dog was filthy and to the point where it was unable to walk, its legs atrophied due to life on a chain. The couple took action and asked the neighbors if they could have the dog. The neighbors told them to take him, he was old and they didn’t want him anymore. The dog had to be carried from the yard, and they contacted My Fairy Dawg Mother. The dog was brought into her care, but it wasn’t clear how he would recover. He was extremely skinny and on top of all of his other health issues, he had frost bite on his nose from being out in sub-zero temperatures without adequate shelter and warmth.

The moment I saw the dog we would name Ghost, I knew I wanted to give him all the love and comfort he had so greatly lacked in his life. He has proven to be one of the sweetest and most loving dogs I have ever known, and in less than a year with us I could not imagine my life without him. The frost bite on his nose has never fully healed, I am hopeful that eventually it will in time, but years of exposure to freezing temps may make it impossible. He loves going on walks, he drinks in the sights and smells he was so long deprived of. His legs getting stronger the more we exercise them. I wanted to write Ghost’s story for a number of reasons. He is a testament to power of rescue – because people cared enough to act when they saw an animal being neglected and abused, because Nikki took a chance and agreed to take in a dog she didn’t know anyone would want. Because of them Ghost celebrated his first Christmas with us a few days ago, a happy and beloved dog, warm and safe from harm. Ghost’s story is a reminder to never be afraid to speak up if you see a dog that is left outside too long in the cold. Although some dogs do love the cold weather, even dogs with heavy coats can get frostbite if left exposed to freezing temperatures. I often think of Ghost’s first owners and wonder how they could treat this beautiful soul with such indifference. It saddens me that he lived this way for so long, but thankful he will never know hunger or cold again.

By Stefanie Klatt