The Ghost Dog has come in from the cold - lured by a piece of salami. The white stray had eluded capture by transfixed Fire Island residents for about two weeks.
A motorist who spied the dog by a Robert Moses State Park road Monday tried to lure it with dog food near a loop he'd made from his belt, when two park foremen stopped to help.
"I had salami with me," said foreman April Robinson. "We put the meat on one side of the loop and he put his head right through it."
The motorist retrieved his belt and left with his two passengers without giving his name, Robinson said.
By late afternoon, the dog, possibly a husky-German shepherd mix, was sleeping soundly on a comforter in a Town of Islip animal shelter kennel in Bay Shore.
"He's thin, possibly blind in one eye" and looks to be about 3 or 4 years old, said Joanne Daly, shelter supervisor. "He was a little nervous; there was so much going on. He's tired. I think he's very happy to be laying down and comfortable and warm."
The pooch can be adopted after a seven-day stay in the shelter, and medical and behavioral assessments.
The dog was dubbed Ghost Dog, Whitey and even Dune Wolf by year-round residents, who said he appeared skittish as he trotted constantly between the state park and Ocean Bay Park, 4 miles to the east. He'd eat out of their hands, but run if anyone tried to hold him.
Park employees had surmised he'd been abandoned at the beach, said park facilities supervisor Elizabeth Wintenberger, but no one had witnessed it.
The recent extreme cold may have worn him out, she said. "He's like Forrest Gump in the movie; he said, 'I'm done, I'm not running anymore.' "
"He was beautiful, very calm, very smart," said Robinson, who with fellow foreman Marco Flores put him on a rope leash to await the shelter's truck. "He sat when we said, 'Sit'; he gave paw when we said, 'Give paw.' I did give him the salami. I had to be fair."
The shelter has already received "over 50 phone calls," said Daly, from people interested in adopting the dog. They must file applications in person at the shelter, at 210 S. Denver Ave., in Bay Shore.