I’m relatively new to animal-rescue transport, but I can tell you I will be helping the transport teams as long as I have a driver’s license.
If you’re new to the subject, let me toss out a quick definition: Pick up a dog or group of dogs at Point A and take them to Point B. It’s easy.
There are groups all over the country, from your local shelter to Pilots for Paws, who coordinate getting dogs from overpopulated areas with high turnover kill shelters to under-populated areas with coordinated foster homes and more no-kill shelters or breed rescues.
The group I volunteer with is Paws on Wheels. Every single weekend they start in Altus, Oklahoma, generally with about 10 – 20 dogs and the journey starts toward destinations in Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois.
To get there it takes a village. Drivers usually volunteer for a leg of about 80 – 120 miles, one way. My last transport was a two-hour drive down to Bethany, Missouri, to pick up nine little souls (six of them puppies) and deliver them to a driver in Des Moines who was headed to Hampton, Iowa.
I was down and back by lunch time.
When I tell my friends about my recent transports, or post pictures on Facebook, I often hear how that is so giving of me – so selfless. Well, that’s one way to look at it. But the truth is, I get plenty out of these runs. I meet the coolest people (many have their kids with them to assist and learn the value of volunteering), some who do this every single weekend. I usually learn something – maybe about a new type of collar or crate, special food or medication. Last transport I learned that a good audio book calms even the most nervous little Min Pin.
And you just can’t beat it for the gratification of helping those who can’t help themselves.
I urge you to try it. You just need a dependable vehicle and the commitment to show up on time. If you’re reading this I already know you love dogs.
Just call your local rescue or shelter. They will hook you up. If you want to check out groups who travel through central Iowa, I recommend AHeinz57 and Paws on Wheels:
AHeinz57 – www.AHeinz57.com – click on their Volunteer Application