Gateway Pet Guardians Blog

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Aubrey, “The Ghost of the Streets” – A Happy Tail

A guest post from our foster and adopter, Brian:

“The story of how this very special dog came to live with us starts in December of 2011 with the rescue of our dog Montana from the streets of East St Louis.

My wife and I volunteer and foster for Gateway Pet Guardians. During an event we were volunteering at we meet this sweet little puppy they had recently rescued and just knew we had to adopt her. Curious, we asked about our Montana’s history and her rescue and learned of a video that was taken the day of the rescue that included a short glimpse of a very shy, elusive, and “Ghost Like” feral dog named Aubrey, her mother. Over the next few weeks and months we learned what we could about Aubrey and followed her thru the long distance photos that were taken of her during the daily feeding routes thru East St Louis. It was during this time that I began to refer to Aubrey during discussions with my wife as “The Ghost” because of her elusiveness. Also, a lot of the pictures of her were taken in the snow or in the mist and fog of the early morning, making her appear ghostly. Aubrey is a white shepherd mix.

The Ghost

Aubrey prior to rescue

I became obsessed and just knew I had to help this dog. So I offered any help I could and told the Executive Director of GPG that if they could rescue Aubrey we would foster her. It was then we learned Aubrey actually had an owner that just let her roam and she had become feral because of this. He would have to surrender her before she could be rescued. Aubrey also would disappear for days at a time and was so scared of humans she would have to be trapped.

Fast forward thru the next two years, following her only thru short glimpses and worrying about her on the streets. In the spring of 2014 Aubrey’s owner finally relented and surrendered custody of her to Gateway Pet Guardians. I reconfirmed my willingness to foster her and urgent efforts were then started to rescue her. Aubrey had begun to limp very badly and carry her left front leg. Volunteers also noticed she had begun to lose weight. But Aubrey was just not ready to be rescued yet, she would never go all the way in the trap. Finally on March 11th, 2015, a year later, the trap door finally closed on a very sick, tired, and defeated dog. To say I was relieved when I received word that Aubrey had been rescued is an understatement. Words just can’t describe what I felt.

Aubrey would spend the next two days at the animal hospital and the reason for her failing health was discovered. Aubrey had a serious infection caused by an old healed gunshot wound in her left shoulder. Amazingly a pellet was still lodged near her thorax. This had to have happened during one of her many disappearances and because she was so reclusive it was never noticed by the volunteers on the daily feeding routes. Aubrey was also Heart Worm positive and would have to be treated for that.

Rescue Day

Rescue Day

On March 13th, 2015 I would finally get to meet Aubrey in person when I picked her up from the veterinarian.  I, like everyone else, had expected Aubrey to be a large, menacing dog. After all, that’s how she appeared in all the pictures of her. The pictures were very deceiving though. What I found was a smallish, sweet, very scared dog that only weighed 34 lbs. She let me pick her up and take her home to the special room we had created just for her. Her long journey to recovery had begun. The next few days just consisted of lots of R&R and of me and my wife getting her to trust us. She was also taking lots of medicine to fight the infection and prepare her for her eventual Heart Worm Treatment. She kept to herself and remained as reclusive as she had been on the street but she was never the aggressive dog that hated humans that everyone expected. She was calm, sweet and always let us give her the 12 daily pills she had to take.


Aubrey’s Room

Then on March 20th, something amazing and very unexpected happened. While lying in bed that night I heard a strange crying and new it had to be Aubrey. I hurried to check on her and found her wide awake and no longer wanting to be by herself anymore. I opened the x-pen surrounding her area and picked her up and she slept the rest of the night on my lap. From that point on her recovery seemed to accelerate and she became more social and started to became one of the family.



Aubrey and Thunder


Aubrey Asleep in her Food Bowl

Mother and Daughter

Aubrey and Montana

As the months went by Aubrey recovered from her infection and went through her treatment for Heart Worms, which also went well. I also began to struggle with the fact that she was just a foster and eventually I would have to help her find a new home. She had also become attached to her pup Montana. Breaking them up had become unthinkable. Then on August 30th, my birthday, I received the greatest gift. My wonderful wife and several of our friends from Gateway Pet Guardians had arranged for us to adopt Aubrey and had a video made as way to let me know.

You can watch the video here: Aubrey is Officially Adopted!

My Aubrey Girl is now no longer a “Ghost”. She’s a part of our family forever.

That horrible house where she used to live was recently torn down and now the only thing that remains of her former life is the pellet from that terrible gunshot wound. The doctors decided it was best not to remove it.

Aubrey is now healthy, happy and I never have to worry about her again.”

We are so thankful for Brian and Sarah, our wonderful fosters! Our GPG pups are so lucky to have them!


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