Road home: shelter dog celebrates new lease on life

This is the story of Kip, a member of the Indiana Air National Guard, who honorably adopted his shelter dog Céilidh (pronounced Kay-lee) through Pets for Patriots.  

Kip and his wife knew they wanted another dog to help ease the blow when their beloved Tess would be gone.  It was during one of Tess’ last veterinary appointments that Kip learned about Pets for Patriots. “Tess was not active anymore because she was so old,” says Kip, “we knew Tess was close to the end. Our vet mentioned that if the time came when we were interested in having another dog, that Pets for Patriots would be a great organization to talk to.” Sadly, last October, he and his wife said goodbye to their beloved dog of over 14 years.

After Tess passed away, Kip and his wife needed time to heal and were not in a hurry to adopt a new dog.  “It took me about six months to get over losing Tess,” he says, “but my wife and I agreed that our house was empty without a dog.”  

So, in April 2011, the search for a new dog began: “We knew to stay away from puppy mills. We also knew we wanted to rescue a dog, because they are the animals that need it most.“  The Guardsman and his wife first considered one particular older dog through their local SPCA, but were turned down because they didn’t have the right home environment for her. They knew their search was over, however, once they visited the City of Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control.  When Kip and his wife first saw Lyra at the Fort Wayne shelter, she caught their attention instantly. 

Kip & Céilidh
“There was just something about her,” says Kip. “When we first met Lyra, we saw a dog that was not socialized, scared of us and tried everything to hide from us in the back of her kennel.
We knew right then that this was a dog that needed our love and attention.”
Kip remembered his local veterinarian mentioning Pets for Patriots and found that the shelter offered adoptions to member Patriots in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Working together, Pets for Patriots and the City of Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control helped Kip and his wife successfully adopt Lyra.


On April 20, 2011, Kip and his wife received the call to pick up Lyra from the shelter: “I was away for a reserve weekend and asked my boss if I could take an extra-long lunch.” When they arrived at the shelter, Lyra was very excited. “She came out, her tail was wagging a mile a minute and she was so happy to see us,” Kip says, “with just a collar and a leash we picked her up and she jumped right in our car.”  Because Lyra was so happy on the ride home from the shelter, Kip and his wife decided to rename her Céilidh, an Irish Gaelic word for party or celebration (interestingly, this term derived from the Old Irish céle meaning “companion”).

CéilidhKip tells the story about their first afternoon home with Céilidh: “She was tethered in the backyard. When my wife opened the door to bring Céilidh inside, she took off. My wife thought ‘Oh my G-d. It’s only been 15 minutes since we got home with her and I’ve already lost her.’ My wife then yelled out ‘Céilidh’ and the dog came running right back. Céilidh is as smart as a whip!”


Today, Céilidh spends a lot of time taking road trips with her owners. “She absolutely loves riding in the car,” Kip says. “We can take her anywhere. We even took her with us on a trip to North Dakota.”

Céilidh is mostly Hungarian Vizsla, a hunting breed. Kip and his wife think Céilidh might have been bred as a hunting dog, but turned in to the shelter as a stray because she’s afraid of loud noises. “Nothing compares to the greeting we get from Céilidh when we come home,” Kip says. 
She lights up my life. Whoever had Céilidh before me missed out on a great dog.”




  1. Beautiful dog..Wonderful story!

  2. God certainly does work in mysterious ways, blessed be His Name. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to read this wonderful story and that this senior pet has found such a loving home. Thank you for posting it. :)

  3. Thanks for sharing this heartwarming story!


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