Clean crates. Check. Fresh water. Check. Leashes. Check. Cleaning supplies. Check. Yummy treats. Check. One more look at the run schedule and we are ready to go.
Every weekend, starting usually on a Friday, a group of volunteers come together to help dogs on death row get to a new opportunity at life. It begins with the distribution of a list of dogs scheduled to be killed from high-kill shelters, or sometimes puppy mills, that go out to rescue groups. (“Killed” is a horrible word but the reality is, most are not compassionately put to sleep.) Rescues then speak for dogs that they are able to take in and those dogs are then scheduled for transport.
Scheduling a transport is a huge undertaking. There is the transport organizer, run coordinator and a long list of drivers that play their part on different legs of the run. These transport organizations are solely dependent on volunteers who give up their time and money for gas (our US counterparts are able to claim their gas expense). There is a run almost every weekend and there are usually close to 15 to 20 dogs per run, sometimes even more.
The run schedule goes out mid-week to the list of volunteers and people then sign up for the different legs. It can be difficult to get drivers for certain areas but the world is full of good people who somehow pitch-in last minute and the run moves forward. And that is where the magic begins.
Exhausted but on their way to a new life!
If you’ve been fortunate to be part of such an amazing event, you can relate to the excitement and energy that builds the moment the run starts. All volunteers are on the email distribution list that provides updates as each leg is complete. You’ll know which dogs you will be driving and it’s an amazing feeling to track them as they make their way along the route. Most times, they come from the States and just imagine those little beings making the trip across the border to a better life. The trip can be long and hard for the dogs as everything is new to them and sometimes they are on the road all day, from 8 in the morning to 8 at night.
Each driver drives the dogs they are responsible for to the next destination, usually a 45-60 minute drive, where the next driver takes the dogs onboard; at times, there could be up to 15 or more legs over the weekend and the transport continues until the dogs get to their rescue group. You may have seen cars filled with crates gathered in parking lots of shopping malls or grocery stores just off the highway and people moving dogs from vehicle to vehicle.
It’s amazing to see the network of people who are the links to a new lease on life for so many dogs. And to look into the eyes of a dog once on death row and know that they are now safe, there are no words. It can be heartbreaking to think that these vulnerable beings would not be here if it weren’t for those who work in rescue, but the flipside is to see how many people truly care and for that one dog, it means a world of difference.
Want to find out more about how you can get involved? Email us at jrtro.blog at gmail dot com or checkout our FB group as runs looking for volunteers are sometimes posted. Have you ever been part of a transport run? Share your stories with us by clicking ‘Leave a comment’ above.