Second-Chance Success: Former Stray Turns Search-and-Rescue Dog

Zephyr was once lost and in need of help. Now happy in her forever home, she’s working on paying it forward.

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Zephyr was once a stray, lost and wandering, without a family. But the tide turned for the shepherd mix. She got the help — and the forever family — she needed and will soon be able to return the favor for others.

“She was just staring at me, giving me this focused stare,” owner Adam Kelly told Michigan-based NBC affiliate WLIX.

Kelly and his wife spotted Zephyr at an adoption event at a Miami PetSmart, and immediately fell in love. Now living in Lansing, the family wanted to do something to help others.

Now the dog’s in the home stretch of her training to become a Michigan search and rescue dog. These dogs are called in to help locate an autistic children or Alzheimer’s patients who wander away from home, search for hikers gone missing and more.

There are three training levels to complete; Zephyr is nearly finished with level two.

“Through search and rescue she has really gained a lot of confidence,” says Kelly.

And it is often strays like Zephyr that make the best search and rescue dogs.

“They’re very independent,” says Kelly, “and are willing to go out and do stuff on their own, make great search and rescue dogs.”

Kelly says she loves running and roaming … and her reward for locating a target is a squeaky ball and a game of fetch.

Feeling inspired?

National Pet Adoption Weekend kicks off Friday and runs through Sunday. It is part of PetSmart Charities‘ effort to connect animals like stray dogs with pet lovers.

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