SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A dog found wandering in South Dakota is now in working as a disaster search dog.

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF) is wishing a happy birthday to Dempsey, a stray once taken in by the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society, who hoped at the time that his owner would turn up to reclaim him.

That never happened, however, and due to his size and large amount of energy, the Humane Society says he was passed over for adoption. That’s when SDF recruiters entered the picture.

Visiting the shelter, the recruiters supposedly made note of Dempsey’s disposition and potential, adopting him to train in their program.

Since then, they say that Dempsey has excelled in their program, graduating in March with the most recent class of search dogs. He has been paired with Nebraska Task Force One, and is continuing to train with the goal of full certification and deployment.

Founded in 1996, the SDF is a California based organization which rescues and trains dogs to be paired with firefighters and other first responders in order to find people buried alive in disasters.

According to their website, SDF dogs have helped in the aftermath of such events as landslides in Tijuana, Mexico, the 2023 earthquake in Turkey, Hurricanes Ian and Fiona and many more.