If you're a stray dog or an owner-surrendered dog in the rural south you don't have much chance. The shelters are packed to overflowing, and there are far fewer adoptions from shelters than there are dogs coming into the shelters. The sad fact is that for most of these dogs there is no way out, unless a rescue takes them. Since the rescues in the south are themselves overflowing, sometimes the only hope is a rescue up north. By us!
But how does the dog get here?Every week, emails fly all over the country. Rescue coordinators who are very good at logistics find out which dogs are being saved in which rural shelter, and their final destination, and plot a route composed of about hour-long legs across the country. Emails with the suggested routes fly all over. Volunteers email back- I can drive the Crown Point, IN route to Hinsdale- I can drive the Hinsdale to Racine route- and on and on. Adjustments are made. Last minute changes, and on a lucky Saturday a very lucky dog leaves rural Alabama, or rural Georgia, and gets into a crate in a car with a complete stranger and heads north. Twelve or more hours later, the lucky dog arrives in Wisconsin or Illinois and their final rescue.
Here is the story of four lucky dogs who left rural Georgia for Wisconsin. This is a very typical day and not at all a long day for transport. Sweetie, a rat terrier, Tiny, a chihuahua, Bitsy, a Heinz 57 mix, and Murphy, a basset mix, were woken up by a volunteer at a shelter in rural Georgia. Let's get up, guys! Big day ahead! And the dogs had a light breakfast ( very light. No car sickness for this group!) and were loaded into crates in the back of Paulette's car. Paulette left at 7am, and at 8:05 am she arrived at a meeting spot in Tennessee where she met Jeannie. They walked the dogs, gave them a little water, and packed them into Jeannie's car.
Jeannie drove to southeastern Kentucky and met Jill ( careful of meeting times! Time change!). Same routine, then Jill packed them into her car and drove to northwestern Kentucky where they met Cathy. More walks, more water, Jill cleaned a little doggie carsickness from one of the crates, and Cathy drove to southern Indiana. Julie picked the dogs up just south of Indianapolis, and drove to Lafayette. In Lafayette ( another time change!), Julie handed the dogs over to another driver ( a last minute substitute, so Julie wasn't sure who she was meeting until she was on the road), who drove to Crown Point. Another driver change, another time change, and the dogs were on their way to Hinsdale.
At the Hinsdale Whole Foods ( conveniently located off the interstate highway), one dog met his final rescue while the other three went on to Crystal Lake, another change, and the final leg of their very long day, arriving outside Milwaukee at close to midnight.
At the end of the day,all the drivers got emails with photos of the various transfer points, and an update on the trip. New friends who have never met exchanged emails about how perfect the dogs were in Tennesse and how perfect they were in Wisconsin.
And eight more lives were saved. Eight? But there were only four dogs on the transport? Yes, but when one dog is saved you save not only that life but the life of the dog who gets the available spot in the rural shelter.
Think you might like to try driving a transport? Please contact a local rescue and ask if you can help. They will know of many transports going on during any given week, and would love the help. For only an hour or two out of your week you will save lives and feel great. See you on the road!