Transporting Rescue Dogs

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This past weekend, I did another leg of a transport for rescue dogs. I transported 4 of 13 on Saturday from South Hill to Richmond, where they spent the night in temporary foster homes. Sunday, with many other volunteers, they went in to the following shelters up north, avoiding euthanasia that they faced in the full southern shelters.

Almost Home Rescue of Maine, Westbrook/Portland, ME
Animal Sanctuary Society, Mt Laurel, NJ
County Animal Alliance, Willingboro, NJ
Salem County Humane Society, Carneys Point, NJ

Here are the dogs I transported. I did not take these pics; they were taken by other volunteers. When I arrived in South Hill for pick up, it was raining buckets, and by the time I got through traffic heading back to Richmond, it was totally dark. So, thank you to the other drivers for shooting these.

Doris, who coordinates this caravan, has this to say about the efforts and outcomes of dog rescuing:

Every weekend, numerous dedicated volunteers help to save homeless pets from high-kill shelters in the South by driving them on leg-to-leg transports to no-kill rescues in the Northeast.  Other volunteers overnight them during their 2-day journey.  This actually happens all over the U.S., from and to locations everywhere.  

I (Doris) am one of many volunteer transport coordinators, and I organize runs from AL/GA/SC/NC to approved rescues/fosters/adopters in the Northeast, primarily in PA and NJ, but occasionally all the way to NY, CT, MA, and ME. These transports are like relays, with volunteers driving one or more legs, each approx. 50-75 miles distance, 1-1.5 hours long. Each driver takes as many dogs as can safely and comfortably fit in their vehicle (from one passenger to many), picking them up from one location and delivering them to another location along the interstate on a specific route and schedule. A sequence of volunteers thus moves the rescued dogs all the way from their origin to their destination where they will find wonderful furever homes. New drivers are sent our transport guidelines and protocol and are coached and assisted on their first run(s).

My transports are most often set up for Saturdays and Sundays, starting in AL early Saturday morning, overnighting in Richmond, VA on Saturday night, and continuing on Sunday to destinations in the northeast.  The route is up I-85 thru the Carolinas to I-95 in VA and north from there.  Sometimes volunteers are needed to pick up passengers from their fosters or boarding facilities and bring them to the main transport route.  Each leg requires from one to many (5-6) drivers, depending on how many and what size dogs are being moved.  It is recommended that the passengers be crated for safety, but one or two adult dogs can be tethered uncrated in a vehicle, if the driver is comfortable with that arrangement, and if the dogs can safely be kept away from each other, unless they are bonded.  Drivers with small cars to large SUVs are all welcome to participate.  There are 10-25 legs on my large transports for up to 10-20 dogs and puppies.  I try to do this at least once a month.

I also arrange smaller local transports to move dogs from shelters to boarding or foster care, or to meet long-distance paid transport.  These occur often and have only 1-3 legs and 1-2 dogs.  We don’t have as many drivers who are available on weekdays, so this is a very important way to save dogs locally.  Another critical need is for local fosters, and an overview of this opportunity to help is in a separate document.

The sweet souls on transport have all been vetted and are up-to-date on vax, spayed/neutered (if old enough and healthy enough), and have been quarantined for 10-14 days or more out of the shelter to help ensure they are not carrying any communicable diseases.  Most dogs are very people- and dog-friendly, but some have been traumatized from neglect, abuse, or being dumped by their owners and have to be treated with extra TLC.  We alert volunteers to any special transport requirements for any particular passengers.

I send out an email to volunteers in my database at the beginning of the week with the transport route, legs, timing, passengers, and driver/overnighter needs. If you are interested in helping, just respond to that email. On Fridays, after transport has been filled with enough volunteer drivers and overnighters, a “run sheet” is sent by email to all participants with full details on drivers, vehicles, passenger assignments, meet location addresses, etc. I monitor and manage transport throughout the weekend to give everyone timing updates and any other relevant info.

I haven’t met anyone yet who doesn’t thoroughly enjoy being part of the rescue transport community!  This is a hands-on way to save precious lives that would otherwise be euthanized and to send them to wonderful new furever homes.  Your hearts will be filled with love and joy and your spirits lifted!  Since almost all of the rescues are 501(c)3 organizations, your mileage and tolls are tax-deductible as allowed by the IRS. 

PLEASE JOIN US by sending me your name, location, email, and phone. I’ll add you to my database for future rescue foster and transport emails.


Doris also recommends donating to local shelters. Here are two in Virginia she recommends:

Hope for Life Rescue in VA,

Second Chance Habitat Rescue in VA,

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