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Kellie in the shelter

Debbie Butler of

Kellie is a one-year-old female who was picked up from a shelter in rural Alabama. She was initially found on a walking trail by a woman out for her daily walk. Kellie followed her home; the woman notified Rescue.

Bobbi Procyk immediately started the ball rolling to find this sweet girl's rightful owner. Bobbi instructed the lady on all the things that needed to be done - and soon - to help this young girl get home.

Lynn O'Shaughnessey was contacted and Kellie was listed on the national lost dog site. The woman who found her - who just happens to be named Kelli - posted found dog signs on every tree & pole in her community. She posted Kellie on Craigslist and called her local newspaper to run an ad.


Kellie arrives at Debbie's house:

As Kelli was walking with Kellie, posting the signs, an animal control officer happened by and informed her that the dog had to be turned over to the shelter since she was a stray. Kelli was heartbroken.

Bobbi called to tell me that this poor thing was at the shelter. Well, Birmingham, Alabama is quite a ways from Greensboro, North Carolina. The shelter put a seven- day hold on her. If she wasn't claimed at the end of seven days, she would be available for adoption. If she was adopted quickly then it would all be good. We all know, however, what happens to many dogs in rural shelters when they aren't adopted.

I contacted the adoption coordinator in Shelby County, Alabama and I want everyone to know how wonderful they were to work with. The folks at this shelter are doing everything the way it ought to be done. They were thrilled to offer her to us as a rescue group so long as we would pick her up on the seventh day so her spot could be available for another dog. The agreement was made.


Well, all right, but promise not to laugh . . .

I failed to look at the calendar and wouldn't you know it, the seventh day turned out to be the day before Thanksgiving, the busiest travel day of the year. Aireangel Kelli agreed to drive Kellie from the shelter to Atlanta, Georgia - a three-hour one-way drive for her. Now this is a woman not affiliated with Airedale Rescue in any way, shape or form. She recognized a need and she filled it. I think she's my new hero.

What a day that turned out to be! It was a 13.5-hour trip for Kellie & me by the time it was all over. She was dirty, stinky and probably a lot hungrier by the time we finally reached North Carolina. We were pretty full with fosters at my house, and as luck would have it, all the inns were full, given it was Thanksgiving weekend.

In rescue, there are just those times when you have to say, "what's one more dog?" Kellie was fed & bedded down for the night. She was really a mess; matted all the way to the skin. I'm not a groomer; I've never clipped a dog in my life, but my husband & I decided to give it a try. You may suggest that we shouldn't quit our day jobs and we won't argue that with you. Regardless, it was better than what she originally looked like.


. . . I had no one to take care of me.

Kellie had a spay appointment for Tuesday morning and was dropped of at the prescribed hour. I received a message from the clinic a short time later, telling me me not to panic, but to give them a call as soon as I could.

(As a new rescue group with limited funds, we use the low-cost spay & neuter clinic offered in our county and we are thankful for this valuable resource.)

When I called, I was told that Kellie had a significant heart murmur and that she needed to be vetted immediately. Needless to say, I went into panic mode and informed them I would pick her up immediately. Guess what? They went ahead and spayed her. Ugh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would have canceled the spay given the heart murmur until we had more information, but what was done was done.



I took Kellie to our family vet a couple of hours later, where the heart murmur was confirmed as a four out of six on the heart murmur scale; the recommendation was made to have an echocardiogram as soon as possible. This was set up for two days later.

I've become a pro at waiting since I formed this group in March of 2010. First I waited on Rocky [whose story can be read HERE]. I've waited on homes for over 35 dogs this year. Now I was waiting on the news for Kellie.

The EC was on Thursday morning and once again I dropped Kellie off at the clinic and went home to await results. I waited and I prayed that Kellie would be fine. I hoped that perhaps she just had a bad virus. At the very worst I imagined that I would have to tell potential adopters that she would have to remain on the heart medication that had begun a couple of days earlier.