Thursday, August 15, 2013

Our First Transport

While pet overpopulation is a massive issue throughout the United States, the problem is particularly acute in the rural deep South where the rates of both spay/neuter and overall adoptions of the animals who do end up at shelters or animal control are lower. In an effort to help save some of these pets, many of whom are highly adoptable in other communities, rescues in states further north often bring up these animals so they'll have a better shot at finding forever homes. Lily was one of these pets; she was in the animal control facility in Pickens County, South Carolina when she was fortunate enough to be selected by Lucky Dog Animal Rescue to make the trip up to the DC area.

Even if there are northern rescues willing to take on these pets, however, there is still one more additional hurdle that must be overcome: how to get the pets hundreds of miles from the high-kill rural Southern shelters to safety with the no-kill rescues. Sometimes rescues have no choice but to pay for transport for the animals; this becomes yet another cost that rescues must incur to save needy, deserving animals' lives. Obviously, it is better for rescues not to have to pay for transport so that they can save their money to help more animals; this is where volunteer transport groups come in. These groups consist of dedicated volunteers who drive pets, often in their own cars, paying for their own gas, tolls, etc., to where they need to go. Many of these groups arrange for the transports to happen in "legs," so that each volunteer drives a shorter distance (generally 50-70 miles one way) and the legs all add up so that the pets end up at their rescues.

One of these such transport groups is Rural Shelter Transports. Peter and I volunteered with them for the first time this past Sunday, driving a dog named Tallulah, two cats named Jasmine and Booboo, and a kitten named Sabine from Baltimore, Maryland to Newark, Delaware. We were able to fit Tallulah, Jasmine, and Booboo's crates side-by-side in the backseat of my car, and Sabine rode in her crate on my lap in the front passenger seat.

Jasmine, with Tallulah's crate to the left and Booboo's crate to the right
Despite Jasmine taking an incredibly stinky poop in her crate about halfway through our drive to Newark, we had a great experience volunteering with Rural Shelter Transports and will absolutely be doing so again in the future. Since Peter drove, I got to spend the whole way to Newark playing with Sabine through the bars of her crate in my lap. I can now say from experience that long drives don't seem nearly as long when you have a kitten to occupy your time! It was also so rewarding to know that we were playing a part in saving these sweet animals' lives, from handsome, stoic Booboo who didn't move or make a sound throughout the whole drive, to regal Jasmine, who loudly protested the indignity of being stuck in a crate with the product of her potty break (I changed the crate pad when we arrived in Newark), to playful Sabine who was constantly sticking her paws out of her crate to solicit play or petting, to sweet Tallulah, who slept through the car ride but wanted nothing but tummy rubs during her potty breaks before we left Baltimore and after we got to Newark.

Sabine was very insistent about getting attention.
Sabine and I playing in the front seat.
"What's this camera thing?"
soaking up the sun and the affection
I am so grateful to the receiving rescues and all the volunteers who made these pets' "jail break" possible. I know that they will all go on to find loving forever families as a result of everyone's hard work, and I am so glad that Peter and I were able to play a small role in their happy endings.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the transport!

    Stop on by for a visit