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Minnesotans Help Abused Dog Make 2,700-Mile Journey

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CANNON FALLS, Minn. (WCCO) – A pit bull that was just a few hours from being euthanized is getting a new chance at life, thanks in part to some Minnesotans.

Paws for a Cause learned Callie needed a loving home far from the brutality she experienced as a puppy and stepped in to help coordinate the effort. Callie is only 1 and a half years old, and she’s already seen half the country.

Darcy Sheryak took Callie in temporarily at her home in Cannon Falls, between the Twin Cities and Rochester.

“You’d never know she’s had such a rough life,” she said.

The pit bull’s remarkable journey started in Nashville, N.C. In late June, she was captured by a trap along a county road. She went to the local dog pound called Nash County Animal Friends, which is run by Carol Vierela.

“The shelter staff loved her,” said Vierela. “There are not a lot of dogs they fall in love with, and they actually named her Smiley, because she was always smiling.”

Deep inside, though, there was a story of sadness and neglect. Someone used a pocketknife to cut off Callie’s ears. Scars indicate she was likely used as a bait dog for animal fighting.

Callie stayed at the pound for two months. The pound posted her picture on its website. Wynter Brown just happened to see it after doing a Google search of adoptable dogs.

“Her picture came up, and I went, ‘Oh, that’s a beautiful dog. I want that dog!’ And I said, ‘Oh, somebody will adopt her,” said Brown.

But no one ever did adopt Callie. So right before Callie was to be euthanized, Brown made the call that changed both her life and Callie’s life.

“If I didn’t take her, she would have been put down. And for being so young, she deserved a chance. She deserved to be a happy dog in a loving home,” said Brown.

There was one big problem. Callie was still in the Carolinas and Brown was thousands of miles away in Calgary, Canada. There were several solutions, including teamwork and transportation.

Callie first traveled to Ohio, where she stayed in foster care before heading to Indianapolis for a few weeks. Pilot Dale Klinefelter, who lives in Chicago, flew to Indianapolis, picked her up and flew her to Winona, Minn.

“As soon as we took off and got into the air, she calmed down, and I think she went to sleep for a while,” Klinefelter said.

The Sheryak family met him in Winona about two weeks ago and welcomed Callie into their home. They know, though, that they can’t keep her for very long. Brown is expecting her.

A trucker who happens to be heading to Canada on a delivery route will take Callie with him and straight to Brown. He’s part of a group called Operation Roger. Truckers give their spare seat to a pet that needs to be transported between cities. The group has transported nearly 600 pets across the country in six years.

“By me adopting her, I’m bringing her this far. Other people can see a dog can travel if you want it,” said Brown.

Callie is expected to leave Cannon Falls soon and complete the final leg of what has been a 2,700-mile journey, leaving hurt behind and moving forward into a new life of happiness.

“She definitely deserves a good home after all that she’s been through,” said Sheryak.

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