Pets Saving People: Zephyr Expected to Save Many Lives

Petsmart Charities Pets Saving People Adam and his dog ZephyrAdam Kelly and his wife Nicole weren’t planning on becoming a search and rescue team, but they knew they loved dogs, the outdoors and helping people.


After a fateful stroll into their local Miami PetSmart® during a PetSmart Charities® adoption event, the idea became a reality.


“As we got closer we noticed that she was very calm, quiet, and curled up in her crate,” Kelly said. “I started to talk to Zephyr through the crate, and she started to head-tilt at me back and forth as if trying to understand me.”


They were so smitten with the puppy, a now 45 pound German Shepherd Mix, who had been found as a stray and was underweight, that they quickly went home to bring their poodle-schnauzer mix, Roxie, to meet her. Like the Kellys, Roxie approved, and the three went home with a new family member – Zephyr.


But the journey didn’t stop there.


The Kellys, who had long loved being outdoors, working with dogs and helping others, noticed something about Zephyr: she had a focused and motivated drive to play, especially with tennis balls and Frisbees, and loved the outdoors.


PetSmart Charities Pets Saving People Adam and his dog Zephyr 3“She would often cry out during car rides if we drove by open fields, forests, or water sources because she wanted to run around them so badly,” Kelly said.


The Kellys’ family friend had been involved in search and rescue operations to find missing people, and Kelly himself had emergency medicine experience from being an athletic trainer. Upon moving to Michigan, the couple researched what it would take to train Zephyr in search and rescue and whether the dog was a good fit; she was.


She now is in Level 2 of three for Michigan Search and Rescue and could reach field-deployable status as an Air Scent Search and Rescue K9 by next spring, Kelly said. Then, she’ll be able to find live subjects, recently deceased individuals, dropped articles in a wilderness setting and conduct building searches.


“The most fun and rewarding parts of training with Zephyr is being able to do it together as a family, watching Zephyr learn and progress, and ultimately her pure enjoyment and love for the training,” Kelly said. “Search and Rescue to Zephyr is just one big fun game.”


Zephyr, who during her move to Michigan developed a fear of strangers which was overcome with socialization and search training, has learned through search and rescue she is rewarded with a squeaky Kong tennis ball, while they all get the chance to do some good.


“The opportunity to help those in need is very rewarding,” Kelly said. “The idea that rescuing Zephyr will someday result in rescuing others in need is definitely fantastic thought.”


Kelly said the experience of adopting another dog has been life changing.


“Zephyr’s love for search and rescue as a game gave us back the dog that we adopted, and while it may seem cliché, hopefully that love will also help her to reunite families, save lives, and give closure to those in distress,” Kelly said. “I would highly advocate adopting a dog or encourage somebody to always think adoption first.”



Read More Pets Saving People Stories:


Glen and Blake


Bruce and Chica


Dottie and Pete


Mis Kyrene and Tobi


Ed and Polly


Daisy – PetSmart Charities 7 millionth adoption


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