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Dog abandoned at North Texas lake now has a forever home after living on his own for 7 months

'Ghost' also spent months at the city's shelter because the nervous dog needed a patient owner with experience.

GRAPEVINE, Texas — For more than seven months, Wes Milner kept getting reports of a dog near Grapevine Lake that would pop up late at night or in early mornings but would flee anytime someone got close.

“There was a dog going through the trash at Whataburger,” Milner, a Grapevine animal services officer, said. “The photos that we got and the video that we got was really blurry.”

They started in June of 2021, and Milner would set traps, feeding areas and cameras and still only caught glimpses.

“He would see the trap, and he would bark at it. He did not want anything to do with it. He was smart. He would paw at the back of it,” he said. “He just vanished like a ghost, and I was like, ‘ok, game’s on now buddy’.”

He named the Australian Shepherd-Lab mix "Ghost" and finally, in early 2022, was able to trap the dog in a backyard. But that’s when Milner says the truly tough part began.

“Ghost was going to need a lot of help, and he was going to need a lot of special attention,” Milner said, emotional. “I put a lot of work into the dog and there’s a lot of dog’s out there that need help.”

After months of trying to find Ghost a forever home, Jonathan Kaing and his wife showed up to the shelter on a whim looking for a partner for their 7-year-old husky Athena.

“Kind of in the distance we just saw Ghost like looking all sad and I think his face just made me feel some type of way for him,” Kaing said. “In my heart I knew I just needed to take him away from that.” 

For weeks after their trip to the shelter in April, Ghost was timid, keeping to himself in a corner of their home.

“Shy, Scared,” Kaing said. “He did not want to be anywhere around us.”

“Seven months on the streets of Grapevine is a long time for a dog to be himself,” Milner said.

Now, he’s still nervous around traffic but is playful around his family and Athena.

“He always wants to be next to our side,” Kaing said. “He’s like completely loosened up and we can see his personality now.”

Now the dog someone didn’t want, and no one could catch has a new friend and a new home.

“That’s all we ask is for someone to open their heart, open their home,” Milner said. “This just makes my whole day to see how well Ghost is doing. I’ll live on this high for weeks.”

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