PUPPY INSPIRES DEAF WOMAN TO CHASE FIREFIGHTING DREAMS

Another family had already expressed interested in Roo, but Kelli wasn’t going to give up. She left her information with the animal welfare group, and 2 days later, she got the call that Roo was hers.

Who rescued whom?

Little did Kelli know that the puppy she adopted would end up rescuing her.

Born deaf, Kelli has faced adversity her entire life. But Roo made things easier. “Roo has been with me through thick and thin,” she said. “She loves me unconditionally, and I love her unconditionally, too.”

Kelli wore hearing aids, but as she got older, her hearing got worse. She eventually qualified for cochlear implants — small electronic devices that provide a sense of sound for people who are profoundly deaf, or seriously hard of hearing.

While the implants were a game changer for Kelli, they required many surgeries. It was a rough recovery for Kelli, and Roo was next to her the entire time.

She would sense that Kelli wasn’t feeling well, and Roo comforted her by giving her little kisses. “It was like me and her against the world,” Kelli said.

Running down a dream with Roo

With Roo by her side and a better ability to hear, Kelli decided it was time to pursue another dream: she wanted to be a firefighter.

Kelli’s uncle is a captain in the Denver Fire Department in Colorado, and he was her inspiration. Roo gave her the courage she needed to take the first steps.

“I didn’t think I could do it because of my hearing loss,” Kelli said. Instead, she gave it her best shot.

After 12 weeks of rigorous training, Kelli was accepted to be a firefighter at the Clayton County Fire Department just outside of Atlanta.

“There are not a lot of hard-of-hearing or deaf firefighters out there. I’m lucky the fire department gave me a chance to prove that I could do the job just as others can. Roo was a reminder for me to stay strong, stay positive and not give up,” Kelli said.

Adopted pets change lives

Kelli has now been a firefighter for 8 years, and she has Roo to thank.

For Kelli, pet adoption is more than bringing a pet into your home — it’s a chance to save a life, while the pet has a chance to save a person’s life, too.

“It’s very important to give these pets the homes they deserve. You never know how this dog or cat can make a difference in someone’s life, whether they have a disability or not,” Kelli said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


By Karilynn Galiotos from PetSmart Charities.

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