Kelly Olynyk and his wife change their whole-day plans in pursuit of finding a missing dog's home on Christmas.
Dogs with their innocence have the ability to form a unique and precious bond with humans. Sometimes, the bond does not even take seconds to develop, as evidenced by what happened with Harley and the Olynyks. Kelly Olynyk and his wife, Jackie, were traveling through San Antonio in a rental car and stopped for lunch when their eyes fell on a gray dog who was all alone strolling in the parking lot, as per the Washington Post. The Olnyks were not residents of the town and were there for business. Kelly plays as a forward center for the Utah Jazz and the team was set to have their match against the San Antonio Spurs the next day.
After going near the dog, it suddenly began embracing Jackie. They formed a bond instantaneously. “We opened the door and were looking to see if the dog had any tags when it suddenly jumped in, right into Jackie’s lap,” Kelly recalled. The couple quickly called off their plan for lunch and began the pursuit of finding the dog's home. In their interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, Kelly shared why the dog's well-being was such a priority for them. “Jackie loves dogs—all dogs,” said Kelly, “There were no tags on the dog and she said, ‘If it was our dog missing or lost, we’d want someone to help out.’”
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The pair, who are pet parents of dachshunds themselves, began their search by looking up animal shelters in the town. They wanted to approach animal shelters to figure out whether the lost dog had a microchip. But since it was Christmas, they were unable to find any facilities open. “A friend suggested we try an emergency vet, so that was our next move,” Jackie said, “Finally, we found one.” The emergency vet found a microchip that had the name Harley. It also had a phone number and address. The phone number was no longer in service, but the address was nearby, so the couple chose to explore it.
“We were feeling pretty good, thinking, ‘Okay, we’re going to get this dog home,’” Jackie said. But they got the shock of their lives when they knocked on the door. The person who opened the door was confused, as they had never come across the dog, much less lived with her. “They were like, ‘Um, that’s not my dog and I’ve lived here four years,’” Kelly said. This got the couple to their wit's ends, as they had nothing else to go on. At this point, they decided to get their friends involved to search for the owner on social media, as they had her name from the microchip. Through a group effort, they were able to locate her. “She hadn’t responded, so we were emailing her employer and asking her friends on social media to call us,” Jackie said.
During this time, the pair bonded with the dog. The couple got a lot of treats for Harley and took her to their hotel room. The dog was not unhealthy by any means, but he enjoyed the delicious treats. The Olenyks were so bonded with the dog in just a span of one day that they decided to celebrate Christmas with her. “Even though it was cold, we asked to sit outside so the dog could be with us,” she said, “Everyone thought we were crazy, but the three of us sat outside and ordered appetizers and had our little Christmas dinner together.” Their friends managed to find a house in San Antonio willing to take Harley for the time being but after a drive there, they decided not to part ways.
Utah Jazz player Kelly Olynyk & his wife Jackie found a dog in a parking lot of a fast-food restaurant & spent 10 hours on Xmas day searching for the owner. The dog Harley been missing for 4 years. A nice story of people doing the right thing.— Ned Pyle (@NerdPyle) January 10, 2024
Gift article https://t.co/xnOG4WQfOx
Soon, Harley's mom came across the social media posts and contacted the couple. The Olynyks were taken aback when they found out that the reason she was so hard to reach was because Harley had been missing for four years. The woman's house was just 10 minutes away from them, so the couple took a drive. “She opened the door and the dog jumped into her arms,” Kelly said, “It was awesome.” It was a Christmas miracle for the pet parent to get back her precious Harley after four years of being stolen. The pet parent is still in touch with the couple, giving regular updates about the precious doggo.
The couple is happy that they did not give up at any point. “It was just one of those ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again things,’” Kelly said, “There were so many dead ends and if we had stopped at any one of those, we wouldn’t have gotten to where we did.”