A breathtaking rescue took place over Labor Day weekend, 1991, by the KBTCSC. Kelly, an abandoned 3-year old male Kerry, had wandered the brush in Moreno
Valley for days until he was picked up by animal control. Two weeks later and with four hours to go before he would be put to sleep, our Club was notified
and engineered a last-minute, white-knuckle rescue. But the real climax of the drama was finding a loving home for Kelly before the weekend was over–the
home of Jim Sandifer and Bill Thompson of La Jolla (friends of Lonie and Doug Ward). Since then, Kelly has enjoyed life as the only pampered pooch
in the house, but he apparently has not forgotten his gratitude to those who showed him “the way home.” Last New Year’s Eve, Kelly initiated a rescue
of his own!
The dinner party had been fun. A few good friends, a sumptuous meal, and a toast to the new year at midnight ended the year on a pleasant note. Jim and
Bill said good-night to their last guest and set about cleaning things up. It was Jim’s turn to take Kelly out for his last walk of the day, so off
they went into the cool dark night.
The residential area where they live was quiet, the streets dimly lit, and Kelly knew the way by heart. So it was a surprise when Kelly began tugging at
the leash, wanting to go another way. He was not pursuaded by Jim’s firm reminder that it was late and time to do his duties, not to carry on with
the neighborhood cats or whatever it was that had caught his attention. But Kelly was equally insistent. Taut and alert, Kelly made it clear he was
going his way and Jim was going with him! Resigned (as all of us Kerry owners are at times!), Jim followed Kelly down the middle of the dark street,
and came close to running into . . . ah . . . , let’s just say, running into something one would not expect at 1:00 am in the morning!
Bill, meanwhile, had finished the clean-up and was just sitting down to relax a bit when Jim arrived with the announcement, “Bill, I would like you to
meet Muriel. She is lost.” Bill, expecting to see a cat or lost dog, was utterly amazed to see a confused elderly woman at his doorstep announcing
that she was cold, hungry, thirsty, and lost and would surely catch the dickens from her 93-year-old mother for getting home so late!
Thanks to microwaves and leftovers, Muriel was given a repeat of the evening’s meal and plenty to quench her thirst. Throughout the meal, she kept one
hand on her fork and the other constantly stroking Kelly’s head, saying over and over, “You love me, don’t you dear Kelly?” And it was plain, he certainly
Luckily, Muriel remembered her address, so everyone piled in the car and Muriel was driven home warmed, full, and comforted. When they reached her apartment
in Pacific Beach, it was 2:30 am and the area was swarming with police officers in squad cars. It was then that the full story unfolded. Muriel had
taken a walk at 1:00 pm that afternoon and had been the subject of a search as a missing person since 5:00 pm. The elderly and disoriented woman had
wandered the hills of La Jolla for over 13 hours!
It goes without saying that Jim and Bill felt “ten feet off the ground” with pride that it was their very own Kelly who saved this woman a night of misery,
and perhaps even her life. A few short days later, they received a letter of appreciation from the Chief of Police of the City of San Diego Police
Department, commending them for their “assistance and compassion” and “willingness to help others.” The letter stated, “Actions such as yours help
make our community safer for everyone.” Yes. The actions of Jim, Bill, and Kelly ensured this woman’s safe return home. Truly, Kelly has more than
earned his title of “Rescue Dog!