|Lucky, Our Overnight Guest|
The dogs with our rescue come primarily from shelters in Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina with the help of a system called Rural Shelter Transports. (In addition to their Facebook page I just linked to, they also have a blog.) I've referred to this process before as the doggie underground railroad.
Here's how it works: Rescues groups commit to pulling certain dogs from shelters in these areas. The dogs just need to hitch a ride. Starting on Saturday morning, volunteers near the shelters drive the dogs about an hour north. They pull over to a rest stop where more volunteers take the dogs and drive them another hour north. These exchanges happen many times over up the East Coast. At different points in the ride, dogs are taken off the transport and are taken into their receiving rescues by volunteers who are waiting at the assigned rest stops.
With the cooperation of MANY people, thousands of dogs are pulled from shelters and sent to rescues each year. To get an idea of just how many people are involved and the logistics behind it, check out this week's "run sheet," as they call it. You'll see how dogs come on and off at given points.
The entire length of this weekend's transport from Lexington, VA to Worcester, MA couldn't be done in one day. (Imagine driving this route yourself and stopping every hour. And imagine the stresses on the animals.) The mid-way stopping point on Saturday night was our exit off the Turnpike. When the transport reached our area, the volunteers pulled over and handed off some animals to receiving rescues. For instance, our rescue took in several dogs at this rest stop. These dogs were then immediately given to their foster homes. But what about the dogs who still have miles to go in the journeys? Well, they just need a place to crash for the night.
Please find Rural Shelter Transports on Facebook and "like" them. They can always use volunteers to drive one leg of the trip or take an overnight guest. It's really a small time commitment, but it's one of those reminders that every little bit counts.