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NBA player finds dog missing for 4 years and returns it to ecstatic owner in 'holiday miracle'

Basketball player Kelly Olynyk turned into Santa by reuniting a dog with its owner. The dog had been kidnapped by her dog-sitter.

NBA player finds dog missing for 4 years and returns it to ecstatic owner in 'holiday miracle'
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - OCTOBER 19: Kelly Olynyk #41 of the Utah Jazz looks on during a game against the Denver Nuggets at Vivint Arena on October 19, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

For Kelly Olynyk and his wife Jackie, the Christmas of 2023 brought with it an out-of-the-ordinary opportunity to be the Santa Claus to someone. And like a good Samaritan, they too fulfilled their mission. Olynyk, a Canadian basketball player was driving along with his wife, looking for a place to eat in San Antonio, when they spotted a grey dog roaming around near the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant. “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 Olynyk said in a story he first shared with Eric Walden of the Salt Lake City Tribune.

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 14: Kelly Olynyk #41 of the Boston Celtics celebrates after a play in the second half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden on November 14, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 14: Kelly Olynyk #41 of the Boston Celtics celebrates after a play in the second half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden on November 14, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

 

It was the day of Christmas, and the couple had rented a car so they could spend some time together before Kelly played the match with San Antonio Spurs on December 26. After discovering the lone dog, they decided to find its owner. Jackie, a dog lover, was very peculiar about returning the dog to its owner, and so they spent nearly 10 hours with no evidence on their hands. “Jackie was like, ‘We’re finding some place for this dog, and if we can’t find a place for this dog, we’re keeping this dog,’” Kelly said according to The Washington Post.

 

They paid their restaurant bills, approached the people nearby and checked the dog to see if it had a collar or tags. It had none. They set off for the nearby animal shelter, found it closed due to Christmas Eve and located other animal shelters. But all was in vain. Finally, their efforts caught an auspicious wind when an emergency clinic discovered a microchip on the dog’s body. The microchip contained the owner’s name, phone number, email address, and their house address.


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Kelly Olynyk (@kellyolynyk)


 

However, the given phone number turned out to be out of use. The owner at the house address too had shifted there only four years ago and didn’t have a dog. After exhausting all the options, they decided to keep the dog with them. But there was another problem. They were staying in a hotel mandated under the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. The dogs were not allowed in the hotel.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Vlada Karpovich
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Vlada Karpovich

But they thanked their stars when they received a phone call from an unknown local number. The caller said to Olynyk, “Hey, I got a message that you might have found my dog.” The caller also told him that the dog’s name was "Harley" and that it was stolen by her dog-sitter nearly four years ago. As it turned out, the woman’s house was only about 10 minutes from where they were. Kelly acted as a Santa by lending a benevolent hand in the reunion of the dog and its owner. For Kelly and Jackie, this Christmas turned out to be a golden chance to say the deepest prayers of their hearts with this good deed. “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.”


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Kelly Olynyk (@kellyolynyk)


 

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