Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Transport Railroad

One of the most fun things I do on the weekends is drive a leg or two of dog transport.  Here's how it goes: dogs, puppies, cats in a shelter/pound/area rides to another area/rescue/adopter/foster who will ensure their life and find them a happy home (unless they themselves are the happy home).  Dedicated rescue directors and incredible people called "transport coordinators" collaborate to move dogs from where they are not wanted to where they are.  Over the course of a week or two, emails are sent out to anyone with any interest at all in dogs - if we cannot drive that weekend, we pass the email along.  The longest complete transport I have been involved in was getting a Bloodhound from Dallas, TX area to WI.  She got to me and I was going to WI in a week; so, she chilled with us (me and Busch Kennels as we feared her jumping my 4 foot fence) for a week, then I drove her to my destination at which I was met by her new mom, who had driven 3 hours one way to pick her up.

Claire, adopted Bloodhound TX to WI
People aka drivers sign up for legs or distances near their homes or cities, then meet the person driving before them, accept the dog/pet, make sure water/food are done as directed and drive on to the next driver for the next leg.  Cell phones are crucial to call your next driver and to keep in touch with your coordinator.

Critical to transport is the paperwork (yep, it never ends).  Dogs transported across any state line and often within states need a signed health certificate.  I once called a coordinator because the dogs I was supposed to accept did not have their health certs. (no one else had checked the paperwork - check your paperwork).   Without a health cert. (which means a vet has seen this dog within the last 10 days and certified her as healthy to travel), you could jeopardize not only the health of other dogs in your vehicle but your own pets as well.  IF A COORDINATOR OR DIRECTOR FEIGNS IGNORANCE ABOUT/OR DOES NOT ENSURE HEALTH CERTS, RUN AWAY - they do not have the dogs' interests at heart - they are only interested in getting them moved at whatever cost to any other pet or person.   Good coordinators (and believe me, if you are going to be a coordinator, you need your mojo together) understand the importance of proper health certs. and paperwork. 

This morning, I helped with two sets of puppies and a mom.  What the coordinator stressed in CAPS was the importance of keeping these puppies safe and healthy; that meant they did not leave their crates - we changed their pads and washed them in the crates (one set pooped almost immediately after I picked them up; I could smell it!), we fed them some food, offered water (which was not left in the crate - what a mess that would be) among other precautions, like wiping mom's paws off before she re-entered the crate with her puppies.  Who knows what cooties her paws may have picked up while she was out doing her business?  There were many more directions from this very thorough coordinator - chief after the health of the dogs was keeping in touch with her throughout the transport so those down the line knew whether or not we were ahead or behind on time, what the weather was, taking photos and sharing (these were cute puppies). 

And NO, you cannot adopt a dog you fall in love with on your transport.  If you really want that dog and she is not yet adopted, you need to make arrangements with her rescue to adopt ONCE TRANSPORT IS COMPLETED.  Never let someone remove a dog from your care.  

I like meeting breeds I don't see often - like Australian Cattle Dogs, Border Collies (watched one jump from the parking lot into his crate without touching anything in between - awesome agility) among others.

Many of us have a Saturday morning off or the whole day.  Let me know if you would at all be interested in driving a leg or two; most legs are an hour to two hours max. before meeting up with the next driver - some less, some more, some days I can drive a long way, others not so far.   I will be happy put you in contact with those needing your help.

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