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Barking, Snarling Rescue Dog Transforms Into World’s Most Playful Pooch

We rescued Phantom when he was 3. We drove from Charlotte, North Carolina to Cleveland, Ohio to pick him up.

PHOTO: MICHELE LOTT

He came out barking and snarling, 15 pounds underweight with ribs showing. My husband didn’t want to take him, but we made a promise to foster him for American Belgian Malinois Rescue, so I told them to load him in the car.

Phantom had some words for us the first 45 minutes of the drive, but we came to an understanding during the 8-hour drive home. Phantom didn’t trust anyone and wouldn’t let our friends come in our house. He also didn’t want anyone near him when we went out in public, despite everyone wanting to pet him.

PHOTO: MICHELE LOTT

With plans to adopt him, we got a trainer. Within six months, Phantom realized people weren’t so bad and now looks forward to people coming over because everyone is now a potential playmate that will endlessly throw a ball. He also enjoys going out and meeting new people and loves going to daycare and playing with other dogs.

The transformation in the 2.5 years we have had him speaks volumes that all dogs deserve a chance. Now I must go, as Phantom needs his ball thrown.

PHOTO: MICHELE LOTT