Cathy Schlitz and her dog, Jac, are about to travel into a disaster zone as they head to Nepal in hopes of helping victims of a deadly earthquake that killed thousands of people over the weekend.
The Chicago-area native and 9-year-old rescued border collie are leaving from O'Hare International Airport Monday afternoon for Nepal's Kathmandu valley.
“I guess it's a calling,” Schlitz told NBC Chicago. “To be able to train the dog and work with him to go out and do some good and help somebody.”
For the next two weeks, they'll be sleeping in tents wherever they are needed to help with rescue and recovery efforts following the devastating earthquake.
They're among four canine teams flying out of Chicago with the group Global Outreach Doctors. It's a difficult job, but they've done this before. Schlitz was at Ground Zero after 9-11 and worked with Jac during Hurricane Katrina.
“Each one is different and they're all horrible, but if you can make a difference out there ... it's what we do,” Schlitz said.
This will likely be Jac's last big job as he is nearing retirement age.
Cathy said she's ready to face anything in order to help those who've suffered terribly in Nepal, as long as she has her partner by her side.
“Going through these disasters together makes you even closer,” she said of her canine pal. “It's teamwork.”