Today’s post is written by Shereen Raucci of Mile High Weimaraner Rescue. It covers transportation of rescued animals. We look forward to your comments below.
Since most rescue groups cover more than one state, taking in dogs from sometimes 1,000 miles away, transport is a vital part of the groups success. With rising gas costs, it’s also imperative for a non-profit group to have a dependable, yet reasonable source of transportation, whether it’s local or long-distance.
Safe transport means more than just having a driver and a vehicle. The transporter has a very important role in bringing each animal to safety. This can mean providing heat and comfort during cold months or air-conditioning and fresh water during warm months. Does the transporter have means to separate the animals for their safety? It also takes a great deal of organizing successful transports, especially if multiple dogs are riding along. Smaller, local transports might be easier to organize but are none the less important.
For local or in-state rescue, many groups rely on local volunteers. Some groups even have an appointed Transport Coordinator and specific group who are on call to help with transports. Most are asked to use their own vehicle and in most cases, are not reimbursed for gas or other expenses(if transporting for a non-profit group check with your tax specialist to see if your expenses are tax-deductible).
Local transports may be meeting a larger incoming group, picking up from a shelter, or meeting with an owner surrender. They often deliver the incoming dog to their foster home or boarding facility. Since the driver doesn’t always know what to expect from the dog, they should be prepared and have a kennel or other means to secure the dog in their vehicle, fresh water, slip lead, muzzle, and maybe a handful of treats for good measure.
Long-distance transport is a whole world of its own and without these transporters, the number of dogs saved would be far less than they are today. Long-distance transports can be by private vehicle, van to hold multiple animals, even by train or plane! We’ve also used over-the-road truckers who let a dog or two ride along. When it comes to getting a dog safely to your rescue, you will find you get pretty creative when needed.
C.A.R.E. (Colorado Animal Rescue Express) is a non-profit animal transport group that is based in Denver, CO and twice a week makes runs to Kansas. There several other transporters from outlying areas meet. Each dog is walked and pottied, and given fresh water before loading into the C.A.R.E. van to go to their respective rescue group in Denver.
CARE works with over 110 rescue groups and each transport can move approximately 20 animals. CARE also rescues animals from Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico and Nebraska. They also transport animals from rural Colorado shelters and their geographic focus is continually expanding to help animals in high kill shelters.
CARE relies on donations to cover the rental van, gas, and the purchase and maintenance of transport supplies. The average cost per animal is $29. Since they began on 6/27/07, they have done 476 transports, including 8,621 dogs and 557 cats. CARE volunteers have driven over 506,000 miles to save animals through March of 2011. Check them out at
I mention CARE in detail because I am most familiar with them. I’ve driven for them, I’ve had 2 of my own dogs transported by them, and I’ve helped at dozens of arrivals. We recently had two Weim’s arrive last week and one was too tall to ride in a crate so he got to be the co-pilot! But there are many groups just like CARE all across the country that are a vital part of this rescue world. I’ve listed a few below that I’m familiar with but if you don’t find what you’re looking for google transports and you’ll get pages of links. And don’t be afraid to talk to other area rescue groups and ask their suggestions.
All Paws Transport Service, LLC (http://allpawstransport.com/) helps dogs in the south get to safety in the northeast and already works with several rescue groups, but is able to expand. If you’re in that area check out their very detailed website for rates and more.
Rescue Riders is a New England based group that has pick up and drop off locations in AL, TN, KY, OH, PA, NY, CT, VT and NH. (http://www.rescueriderstransport.com/)
In addition to road travel, there are also dozens of Air Transports, many non-profit who have professional pilots that donate their time to transport animals cross-country.
Check Muddy Puddle at
http://themuddypuddle.com. This website lists several transport groups, schedules, requirements, etc.
If you ever have the opportunity to volunteer with a transport group, to drive a leg of a transport, don’t pass it up! It’s truly a rewarding experience and shows another side of rescue.