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Ghost - Our First Foster

Updated: Jun 5

This article was written by Gil Grand. You can learn more about the author at the end of the post.


Great Pyrenees dog with mouth open
Ghost smiles for the camera.

Our love of fostering began in 2015 with a pure white Great Pyrenees named Ghost. 


He was aptly named because he roamed Interstate 840 for two years and eluded every attempt to capture him before finally being rescued by Big Fluffy Dog Rescue. 


As you can imagine, Ghost was extremely underweight and had a severe case of heartworms and such intense mange that he had to be shaved down to his skin. 


My wife Melissa and I had recently lost both of our senior dogs, Loretta and Annabelle, within a year to cancer, and we felt a longing to help rescues by fostering. That’s when we saw a post about Ghost.  


Ghost was not doing well in the kennels. Although all his medical and physical needs were being met, the loud kennel surroundings were taking a toll on his mental health. He was anxious and stressed and desperately needed a quieter and calmer environment to decompress and heal.  


After our application was approved to foster, Melissa and I drove to Smyrna to pick up Ghost. He was skin and bones and looked pitiful. Now began the “getting to know each other phase” of the fostering process. 

Girl hugs large white fluffy dog.
My daughter, Liza, hugs Ghost.

Although he had been through the wringer, Ghost was a gentle giant from the get-go. He naturally had a wall up for the first few weeks with us, but eventually, he let down his guard little by little with each passing day.


While Ghost loved to be pampered and made new friends with our other pets, one characteristic remained – Ghost was a free spirit with a wandering eye and a desire to roam freely. It was like he lived in his own little world, and, on occasion, it was like everything disappeared around him and all he saw was the road in front of him.


Once you got to know Ghost you couldn’t help but love him. He was a sweet dog with an old soul.


After six months with us, Ghost completed his heartworm treatments, gained strength and weight, grew back his beautiful thick coat of white fur, and was adopted by a nurse in the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts. I’ll never forget the lump in my throat and my heavy heart the day Ghost was to be transported to his new home. Our emotions were so high that I didn’t know if we would be able to let him go. However, as much as we wanted to keep Ghost, we knew we needed to let him go if we were to help more pets in need.


Man holding a leash tied to a large white fluffy dog.
Transportation day for Ghost

Fostering is both rewarding and heartbreaking at the same time, but it's ultimately worth it when you consider the magnitude of the homeless pet community. Melissa and I have fostered nearly 70 other dogs over the years, and each one has a piece of our hearts forever. In May, we made our newest foster from Metro Animal Care and Control, Lucille, a permanent family member.  


I want to say a heartfelt thank you to all those who adopt or open your home to foster. There’s always a need, and most rescues will provide all the supplies and medical care. 


Ghost was 90 lbs of pure love and put us on a path of fostering. They may stay for a few days, two weeks, or several months. Each foster has a story – either known or unknown. Ghost changed our lives and is inadvertently helping us change the lives of many dogs like him. 


About the Author: Gil Grand

Gil Grand is a Canadian-born singer-songwriter, GRAMMY award winner, and eight-time Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) nominee. Currently, Gil co-hosts Nashville Jubilee, a toe-tapping live performance that brings together the best of country music and side-splitting comedy. Outside of his music career, Gil and his wife Melissa love caring for animals in need. They have fostered nearly 70 dogs and regularly support Pet Community Center.

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