No, not another doggie ghostbusters.  We have another vagabond dog story.  A dog that spent one year in the wild and captured hearts of motorists along Hwy 71 just south of Spencer, Iowa.

The story starts back in July 2010 with a news report appearing in the Spencer Daily Reporter about a German Shepherd dog running along the highway after cars and living underneath a bridge.

She was actually noticed in the area a year before.  Some tried to catch her but she was too smart and elusive, always taking off like a shot if anyone got near her.

During the winter that followed (an especially harsh winter) it was observed she was looking kind of…healthy.  She was being fed by commuters that frequented that part of the highway.  Every day motorists were stopping and leaving food.  In addition, nearby homeowners were also providing Phantom with food and water.   They were enjoying their resident vagabond dog.  She didn’t cause any trouble, she happily accepted food, but she trusted no one.

There were speculations on how she got there.  Just before Phantom was noticed, a terrible car accident occurred on the bridge she was calling home.  It was thought that Phantom belonged to the victims of the car accident and after the crash she ran off, frightened.

After a while it seemed that capturing Phantom was a necessity.  Authorities saw her as a serious safety concern for a major highway, and a shoot-to-kill order was issued for Phantom.  And that upset the commuters and area homeowners.   No way did they want to see their resident *phantom* meeting her demise at the end of a shotgun.

They sought the help Humane Society of Northwest Iowa and a local veterinarian.  Mulling it over the Humane Society and the vet had to issue a directive.  One that was likely to work in capturing Phantom.  To the motorists and neighbors – stop giving her food.   When it was apparent Phantom was really having hunger pains, she was given a meal of mash potatoes and gravy, and a sedative.

The once wild and free phantom that captured the hearts of those along Highway 71 found herself – captured.

Now she was in the hands of the Humane Society.  She was examined, vaccinated, and spent time with their dog trainer in re-domesticating her and to prepare her for adoption.

In September 2010, Phantom was formally adopted out.  For a while the identity of Phantom’s new owners was kept secret.  It’s no longer a secret, but I ain’t tellin.

But I will tell you that she has her own website and her own Facebook.  So you definitely need to check them out.

I love stories like these.  These are stories good for the soul.  Like I said once before, these dogs are spirits of eternal freedom.  A freedom I am extremely jealous of.

Phantom’s story represents the plight of millions of abandoned dogs across the country.  It’s a story her new family hopes will put an end to the senseless abandonment and death of unwanted pets, and the gift an adopted shelter dog will give you.   If you are a Facebook user, please Like her page.  It only has 53 members and it should have more.

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