As a little girl, Westminster Police Communications Supervisor Sonia Kelly would find stray dogs wandering her neighborhood and hope to make each one a new family pet.
“I used to drive my parents crazy,” she said. “I somehow would always find these dogs and bring them home.”
While some dogs stayed, others “accidentally” escaped.
Kelly later learned the unfortunate departure of some of her newfound pets really meant her parents found the dogs another home.
Kelly grew up with dogs and recently was mourning the loss of her last pet — an 18-year-old Australian Shepard mix named Josie that died in September.
She now has a new furry love.
The Akita mix came into her life much like the way Kelly found most of her pets growing up: by being rescued.
While on patrol, Westminster Officer Brian Marlow found the puppy wandering near Jackson and 20th streets Jan. 4.
Marlow scooped her up and brought the little pup back to the station.
The department posted an announcement on its Facebook page to try and find the owner.
More than 100 people shared the post and dozens commented, offering to adopt the puppy.
One of the police supervisors served as a foster parent for the Akita mix while waiting to locate the owner.
“Nobody ever called and nobody ever came to pick her up,” Kelly said.
Kelly said the Westminster Police Department has seen an uptick in the number of stray or stranded animals in recent years.
In some cases, lost or homeless pets find a temporary home at the police department while employees look for the owners or arrange for the animals to go to a local shelter.
After there was no response for several days to claim the puppy, Kelly took her home.
The puppy, which Kelly and her husband, Darren, named Phoebe, had to go through a mandatory three-day quarantine at Wags Pet Adoption in Westminster before the Kellys officially could call her theirs.
“I wanted another dog but my husband wasn’t sure he was ready for it,” Kelly said. “Of course, the second he saw her he fell in love with her.
“She’s just pure energy.”