The limp and Lyme disease are gone, but Ghost Dog is still afraid of his own shadow.
Animal rescuer Sean Casey, who in May plucked the gentle giant from his longtime home in Prospect Park, said health-wise, Ghost Dog is on the mend—though he has yet to overcome his fear of being walked outside.
Vets initially diagnosed the colossal canine with both Lyme disease and a bone condition in his back knee. But now that Ghost Dog has finished his treatment for Lyme disease—known to cause joint and muscle pain—the bone ailment that left the animal lurching around the park seems to have eased up.
"He’s not even on pain killers anymore and he hasn’t been limping," said Casey, who in July predicted that Ghost Dog would have to undergo surgery to correct the issue. "We’re going to have the vets reevaluate the leg shortly—if there's any way to avoid surgery, it would be nice."
In the meantime, Casey and his crew have been easing Ghost Dog toward domesticated life—and they have their work cut out for them.
"He's not great on the leash still, but he's doing better," said Casey, holding a quivering Ghost Dog on a lead outside his Sunset Park shelter. For a creature with a head the size of a prize-winning pumpkin, the dog indeed seemed nervous and unsettled, cowering every time a car or truck rumbled down busy 39th Street.
Ghost Dog's hesitation toward the bustle of daily life means it will be awhile before he'll be ready for adoption.
"Until he’s really good on the leash outside, I’m not really ready to send him home just yet. I need to know that anybody can walk him down these streets, and he’s not going to break away or take off or disappear," Casey said.
Luckily, many of Ghost Dog's supporters have no problem coming to him. In fact, several of his former park protectors have had the chance to meet each other for the first time.
"He’s got a regular group of people that used to take care of him in the park that would feed him in different places. It was always funny because each time I talk to somebody they'd say 'I'm the only one that feeds him,' and I’d say 'Nope,'" Casey said.
"Now all these people come here and they talk to each other and they spend time with him. It’s kind of funny that everybody came together."