ALACHUA ‒ The Facebook post began with “Most of you know this sweet angel as ‘Ghost Dog.’ She has been a large part of our community for over a decade.”

The post, which went live on Feb. 10, was written by Jennifer Trenteseaux, and this is her story about a stray dog that roamed areas of Alachua for years.

In her own words, Trenteseaux tells us about ‘Ms. Princess,’ a mix breed canine, that has been “roaming the community here in Alachua since 2014.

“Her initial food and water stop was with the old manager at the RaceWay in front of Publix on U.S. Highway 441. As a homeless street dog, she was getting food where she could and absolutely terrified of any human that attempted to approach her. Over the years, she migrated from the Raceway side of 441 to other and became well known at the Wendy’s and the gas station that adjoins.

The Elusive Ghost Dog

“My husband and I married and purchased a home in late 2017 behind the Publix in Heritage Oaks. This is when I first spotted Princess (formally known as the illusive Ghost Dog). One morning, I stopped for gas on the way to work and saw her in the RaceWay parking lot. I tried to catch her for three hours. We ventured through that parking lot and the Publix lot, until she eventually ran into the woods.

“Princess was spotted many times over the last 10 years, and many attempts were made to rescue her. Our community banded together to try and show her that people are good. Many people attempted rescues and left food and water when those attempts failed. There were always postings of the encounters on PetFinder, Nextdoor, and or Alachua/Gainesville /High Springs Words of Mouth.

Community Care

“About two years ago, I noticed Princess frequenting the fence line that bordered my community and the wooded area. It was then that some amazing neighbors got together and routinely left food and water out for her. I'm absolutely amazed at the love and dedication so many have shown this sweet girl. I love our Heritage Oaks Community and the amazing people of Alachua/High Springs.

“Over the past two years, shelters have been built, dog houses and blankets have been plentiful, and the area is daily maintained.

“For the past 1 1/2 years, I’ve driven my golf cart up to this wooded area and sat with her. I brought her chicken, water, and always came with a heart full of lots of love.

“I’ll never forget, over the summer, she dug a large hole along the fence line to stay cool. One day, I saw her resting in it, and I came ready with a cooling blanket. She backed up and looked at me with pure curiosity. As I turned to walk away, she would inch closer and closer. I then sat at the corner of the fence line and she investigated.

Curiosity Turns to Trust

“Over time, she was curious and she got even closer to me. My heart was so full. I began calling her ‘Princess’ and routinely visited. It didn’t take long for her to come running out of the woods as I called her name. We were both in love. The bond started to grow more and more daily.

“On one of my afternoon visits, I hit the jackpot of joy. I was sitting in the dirt near the opening of the wooded area, and she came right up to me and ate some chicken from my hand. I then started petting her, and it was instant heaven for both of us.

“This poor girl had no human touch for over a decade. She was happy crying as I ran my hands up and down her fur and tickled her cheeks. As I left that day, she was howling and crying. Naturally, I came back to give her more love… immediately.

“The next day, the same thing took place. I made four trips that day. I focused on brushing her, loving on her, and getting her used to a leash. I did this for almost two weeks. After almost two years of working up to this point, I didn’t want to scare her away by pushing too fast.

Her Best Life Yet

“On the morning of Day Nine of lovin’s, I brought her breakfast, and we sat together as I gave her lovin’s for an hour. Over the past nine days, I worked on getting ticks off of her as I petted her, and it continues this day, too. After a few more visits, that day she came home with me and the rest have been focused only on her best life yet.

“I’ve taken Princess to Hilltop Family Vet in Alachua. She will be receiving all of her care there. It brought me to tears as we were in the exam room, and employees came to share their stories of the infamous ‘Ghost Dog’ with me. They shared sightings over the years and expressed so much joy for her rescue.

“Our goal is [to] keep her happy and get her healthy.

“Last week, we received her blood work back. Princess is positive for Ehrlichia, a tick-born disease, and is also heartworm positive. Her kidney values are elevated slightly...most likely due to the Ehrlichia. The treatment is the same. Bonus!

“As I share her story on social media platforms, many have suggested the ‘slow kill’ method (simply using the monthly heart worm prevention). I spoke to Dr. Miller at Hilltop in depth regarding this suggestion. The large risk with this method is that the heart worms will last for very long (years) before they die off. The new growths will be prevented, but as the existing die off, there is a high risk causing a Pulmonary Embolism as they dislodge.

“Given that Princess has been in the wild since around 2014, we estimate she is at least 10-13 years old, and we simply do not have time. Also, we need the treatment to battle the Ehrlichia.

“With that said... Dr Miller suggested a chest x-ray (three views to evaluate her heart size and lungs), and then decide how aggressive we are with the treatments, and if her heart and lungs can handle it. Likely, she can because there is no respiratory distress at this time.

“This leads me to my next point. Dr Hill also recommended keeping Princess and my four kiddos completely separated for three weeks. Why? In order to allow the vaccinations to take effect and to fully rule out respiratory issues.

“It will be a tough three weeks, folks. But, we got this...

Getting Her Healthy

“Monday, at 10 a.m., she will go in for her x-rays, and we will then decide if she is clear to start the tick and heart worm treatment. Total treatment cost is estimated at $2,000. This may change due to the aggressive treatment she may require. It will also be over a one-year span. If we start Monday, what will be due is $300 for the x-rays and $600-$700 for the start of her treatment. That will total $1,000.

“Her needs have totaled $1,246 thus far.

“I’m reaching out to you for two reasons. First and foremost, to help spread the word and inform our community (that has had a huge hand in her survival) that this sweet angel is okay safe, and in a loving home! Secondly, to give the community a chance to follow her Best Life Journey and help facilitate that any way they can.”

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And that is the story of Alachua’s ‘Ghost Dog’ – so far. Trenteseaux has posted updates about her efforts to spread the good news with the community utilizing Nextdoor, Facebook, and Paypal.

Trenteseaux writes, “As you look through the links you’ll notice there has been an overwhelming response from the community thus far. People have shared so many stories of leaving food for her, trying to rescue her, or even protecting her from 441! She is such a large part of our community, and I’d love for this best chapter of her life to continue with the army of residents and business owners that have cared for her over this past decade.”

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Editor’s Note: For those who have been part of this amazing dog’s life, or those individuals who would like to, check out those social media postings, and give a thought to contributing to her medical needs via PayPal Fundraiser at https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/91DC6rxHEB

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Donate to the amazing Princess here:  https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/91DC6rxHEB