Kelly spent the first half of her life afraid of dogs until in her early 20's she moved in with a friend who owned and fostered Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. This is where her love story with dogs began.
Kelly spent many years volunteering with various rescue organizations and shelters with her own adopted rescue dog, Hunter, by her side. She met FOS Founder, Laurie, through work and they became fast friends over their mutual love of all things Dog. When Laurie's dog, Otis, was diagnosed with Mega-esophagus (ME) in 2005, Kelly worked diligently by her side to help attend to his care. Through all of the ups and downs of his disease, Kelly was able to learn first hand what it took to care for an ME dog. "I believe everything happens for a reason. Laurie and Otis were put into my life for a reason, for a purpose."
That purpose became clear in the Spring of 2010 when Kelly's own dog was diagnosed with none other than Mega-Esophagus. Kelly was devastated by the news. ME is viewed as a death sentence and medically there is no way to cure or manage the disease. But Kelly knew better. In the midst of her tears she saw Otis' sweet face. She remembered all the times she fed him, sang to him and laid on the floor petting him until he was relaxed. She dried her tears, made a phone call to Laurie and by the time she got home - Otis' Bailey Chair was in her kitchen.
This time Kelly used everything that Otis had taught her to get food into Hunter's belly, to avoid Aspiration Pneumonia, to keep him fed, hydrated and well. The roles were reversed and Laurie was by their side. Taking every single thing that Otis had taught her, she was able to keep Hunter happy for just over 2 years post-diagnosis. If not for Otis, Kelly would not have had her Hunter for those 2 more precious years.
In the end, Hunter had been the one to rescue Kelly. The one who was her constant companion. The one who taught her that dogs really were okay and that your soulmate could be found in not only humans but in animals.
Kelly and Laurie had many discussions about how they would rescue, what could be done better, what gaps needed filled. So when Laurie decided it was time to execute her dream, Kelly was right by her side. This time to help carry on the legacy of Otis and all he taught them. To save dogs that were thrown away, never given a chance and that would suffer in what many would deem a hopelessly overwhelming task of never leaving an animal behind.
Kelly lives in Hagerstown, MD with her daughter Madison, her husband Chris and their rescue dogs Pappy and Paco as well as their feline friend, Marley. In addition to her rescue work, Kelly is a full-time Risk Project Manager with Citi.