Originally written January 31, 2012 on Fox Sports Midwest:
ST. LOUIS David Backes was searching for an activity to keep busy during the NHL All-Star break, and a decision to combine his passions of flight and animal rescue saved three stray dogs. Last Friday, Backes, the St. Louis Blues' captain, participated in a seven-hundred mile mission to Houston with his wife, Kelly, and his flight instructor, Tim Voithover. Upon landing, they picked up the animals from a group in the city that is partnered with Five Acres Animal Shelter, a no-kill shelter in St. Charles, Mo., for which Kelly serves as a volunteer and board member. In the process, Backes made progress toward earning a pilot license. On Christmas 2010, Kelly presented her husband with the gift of a flight lesson. Since, the Blues center has worked toward becoming a licensed pilot. The couple is known for animal advocacy around the St. Louis area, and they decided to take advantage of a chance to earn flight hours while advancing a cause close to their hearts. "I have been taking flight lessons for about a year now, and my wife and I are obviously actively involved with animal rescue," said Backes, who leads the Blues with 37 points. "I figured over the break if I wasn't going to the (All-Star) game, we should do something to combine the two. We had a day to head down there, and my flight instructor was willing to help out, and we had someone who was willing to donate their plane. The stars kind of aligned, and we made it happen." The three dogs were rescued in an eight-hour round-trip journey. One is a lab mix, another is a border colliechow mix, and the other is a rottweilershepherd mix. Ernie, Emmitt and Lincoln will be placed on the adoption floor in about a week. "They're pretty priceless for getting the word out in the community about rescuing and adopting," Kim Brown, executive director of Five Acres Animal Shelter, said of Kelly and David Backes. "They both bonded with the three dogs that they transferred. They're both really sweet. Getting that press coverage those dogs have been very popular. It helps the three dogs find a home quicker. David, of course, is super excited about getting his license. For both of them, it's very rewarding to help dogs while they're doing it." Kelly has been passionate about animals since she was a girl. She remembers being raised around dogs, and she recalls finding stray cats and trying to find homes for them. Growing up, she also played with frogs and salamanders, and to this day, she describes herself as "an animal person." To Kelly and David, the response to their flight has been encouraging. Both anticipate continuing their campaign to provide animals with homes and fight euthanasia, which affects about 3-4 million animals in the United States each year. David's success this season adds awareness to the couple's cause: In addition to leading the Blues in points, he paces the team in goals (16) and assists (21). After exiting the plane in St. Louis, Backes smiled and spoke about how rewarding it was to see the dogs happy and safe. He found an activity that combined his two passions. As a result, three dogs were saved. "It's always a feel-good story when athletes give back to the community," Backes said. "When there's animals involved, that touches people in a whole other way. It was very well received not just this flight transporting these dogs, but the community of animal rescue work has been phenomenal since I've been involved with it. We hope that continues."
PLAYERS: David Backes
TEAMS: St. Louis Blues

Giants shut out Pirates, advance to NLDS

Cowboys' Spillman accused of rape at team hotel

Report: Patriots benched WR for mouthing off to coach

Jose Bautista busts up reporter over Twitter

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Larry Donnell benches himself in fantasy, loses because of it


Josh Gordon says NFL’s drug policy is harrassment

Steve Smith: Ron Rivera hid in his office after cutting me

Rondo hoping for an opening night return from broken hand

Jon Gruden on Raiders job: 'I'm not thinking about coaching'

Tom Brady defends not congratulating Garoppolo on TD

Ohio State student who ran on field loses full scholarship

ESPN reporter announces she has breast cancer

Byron Scott explains why Kobe wouldn't make a good coach

Hibbert texts Duncan for advice on being like Spurs

Belichick repeats moving 'on to Cincinnati' during presser

Donald Sterling’s wife called the cops on V. Stiviano

WATCH: Mayweather shocked someone doesn’t know who he is

Who is the new face of MLB?

NHL 15 predicts the LA Kings win the Cup again

J.J. Watt buys his mom a new car for her birthday

Ranking the NFL coaches already sitting on the hot seat

WATCH: Smith tells Panthers to go home and mow his lawn

The best games on the NFL slate in Week 5

Blues News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Cowboys player accused of rape

Scott: Kobe would not be a good coach

Pats WR benched for mouthing off?

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Donnell benches himself in fantasy and loses

Gordon: Drug policy is harrassment

Who is the new face of baseball?

Steve Smith blasts Panthers coach, GM

What will the A’s look like in 2015?

All-Disappointment Team in MLB

Ryan Lochte: Phelps made dumb decision

WATCH: Brett Favre in new commercial

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.