A German shepherd mix named Roadie was wandering the streets of Franklin, Indiana, unsure of where to go.
She couldn’t find her way home, so she sat down under a tree and waited for help. A kind passerby spotted the dog and noticed a message in a bottle attached to her collar.
They contacted Michael Delp, director of Johnson County Animal Control, who immediately rushed to pick her up and bring her back to the shelter. The note attached to Roadie’s collar explained that she had once been well-loved by her family, but after her dad lost his job and house due to COVID, he let her go.
Luckily, Roadie was in perfect health — happy, playful and full of energy — but she still needed a home.
“When I read the note, [I felt] two emotions: one, if it is legit, my heart goes out to that individual,” Delp told The Dodo. “If it was not legit, [I felt] anger that someone would manufacture an excuse to abandon their dog that was designed to elicit sympathy.”
“As it turns out, from our investigation, the note was completely legit,” Delp said. “We were able to ascertain who the owner was and get that individual the help that was desperately needed.”
Jeremy Pell was skimming the local news on Saturday when he came across the story of Roadie’s heartbreaking abandonment. As the chief of the White River Township Fire Department and a reserve sheriff deputy, he had been looking for a dog to train in search and rescue for months, and Roadie seemed perfect.
“I opened up the news and saw Roadie,” Pell told The Dodo. “I saw the breed and the story and the fact that she is literally in my backyard.”
Pell went down to the shelter to evaluate Roadie, and she passed all her tests with flying colors, earning her a new life, career and family.
Roadie now goes into the office with her dad every day to work on her social skills and obedience training. She has a bed next to his desk, and follows him around, greeting people and playing the occasional ball game.
She’s still in the beginning stages of her training, but her dad is hopeful that one day they’ll be able to work side-by-side to help the community.
“She’s bonded to me,” Pell said. “She looks to me for guidance and acceptance and she tries to do her job. She thinks that she should bark at people she doesn’t know, but when I tell her that it’s OK … I get these soulful, caring eyes and it’s almost as if she’s apologizing. She will sit beautifully, look me in the eye, lay her ears down and very slowly lift her paw up to touch me.”
Roadie’s family has given her a new name to match her fresh start — Rosie Grace.
“All our dogs have middle names, so she’s Rosie Grace,” Pell said, “because it’s by God’s grace that she was found and got a new career, and we’re hoping to take her from rescued to rescuer.”