From shelter dogs to service dogs

Many local animal shelters are nearing capacity. In some cases, old dogs are waiting to be euthanized to make room for new ones, but now some of these dogs are getting a second chance at life.

Leo is your typical dog. He’s playful, likes to run and loves his ball.

It’s hard to imagine that this cute guy was about to be euthanized because no one would adopt him. Then, Clay McElya came along.

"A lot of dogs end up in shelters for the exact same reason we’re looking for them," says McElya.

McElya is a dog trainer. He recently teamed up with Sandy Green with the Four Rivers K9 Search, Rescue and Recovery Team. Together, they’re scouring local animal shelters searching for the dogs that no one wants.

For Autumn Hollis at Marshall County Animal Care and Control, it’s a great feeling to see this group stepping up and saving lives.

"It makes all of us happy," says Hollis. "Anytime anybody can pull anything from us, it’s awesome."

The dogs are being trained for a specific job depending on their personalities, like tracking people who are missing or becoming service dogs for those with disabilities and veterans with PTSD.

Four Rivers K9 is planning to expand so it can rescue even more dogs like Leo.

"We’ve got volunteers ready to come up here and train. We just need a facility to do it," says McElya.

They can’t do it without help from the community, which is why they set up a GoFundMe page.

McElya is hoping they’ll raise enough funds to move forward with the expansion, allowing them to train more service dogs for the people who need them the most.

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