Like many around the country, White River Township Fire Chief Jeremy Pell was moved by the story of “Roadie,” who was found with a heartbreaking note from her owner.
“I was a spoiled girl, my dad gave me my own couch to lie on and my own memory foam bed,” the note said. “My dad lost his job and soon his home from COVID. Please pray for him and give him hope that I will find a good home!”
“My heart breaks for a family that’s in that position, and for a dog that is going through all these changes,” Chief Pell said.
Pell said he also felt moved by the timing of the story, as he had been hoping to find a new Search and Rescue K-9 for his department. The roughly two-year old Shepherd mix seemed to fit the bill.
“I saw something in her face,” he said. “The breed, the soulful eyes, the stance, just something caught me.”
Soon after that, he was on the phone with the Johnson County Animal Shelter. Chief Pell adopted “Roadie” and renamed her “Rosie.”
Rosie is now being trained as a Search and Rescue dog for White River Township Fire, and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department.
“We can give her a second chapter to her life and give her a job that helps people,” Pell said.
The Chief says Rosie shows natural potential as a SAR dog. Her physical traits, intelligence and personality seem to be a good fit for the job.
“We don’t want the most hyper dog, and we don’t want the calmest dog,” he said. “We want a dog in between that can work the range of emotions, and she’s a well-balanced dog.”
“We want a dog that has drive, but is controllable,” Pell continued. “And then we want what is called nerve strength, which is the ability to deal with some unusual situations.”
Less than two weeks after becoming a rescue, Rosie is now training to become a rescuer. She spends her days at the White River Township Fire Department Headquarters in Greenwood, and then goes home in the evenings with Chief Pell and his family.
“She’s friendly. She’s happy; she’s a joy for everyone to be around,” said White River Township Fire Marshal Braden Prochnow.
What started as a sad story has led the way to a second chance at life for Rosie. Chief Pell hopes to have her certified and ready to work in the next few months.
“Rosie needs a job,” Pell said. “And she’s going to have a job making someone’s life better.”
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