LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Dog lovers come from far and wide, but here at home, that love is needed to help out with dog transports.
These transports are crucial to help keep dogs from kill shelters alive— and all it takes is a car!
The transport process is where volunteers take dogs from one shelter and move them to another. Many of these dogs are being moved as they try to avoid euthanasia at their current shelter, which has been a problem.
Sandy Valentine runs a rescue out of Sheridan and regularly makes dog transports. She said that more volunteers will mean fewer dogs left behind.
"We've got a dog in a shelter here in Texas, and maybe they need to go to Pennsylvania," Sandy Valentine with Valentine K9 Rescue said.
That's how the process typically begins for dog transports.
"It's like a relay, but you're using a dog instead of a baton," Valentine described.
Volunteers pick a 1-hour time slot for the transport and work together to get the dog to its destination.
"We need a volunteer for leg number one from Dallas to whatever an hour outside of Dallas is and then we need a volunteer for leg two that goes from that location to the next," Valentine explained.
According to Valentine, the problem is that occasionally, some of these legs of the trip never get filled.
"There are so many animals that are being left behind simply because they don't have the ability to get from point A to point B,” Valentine said. “I hate to see them post on a page that says that a run failed, and going through Arkansas is always very difficult to get animals through here. There are just not enough people that know."
Sandy added that with fewer volunteers comes more dogs not making it out of a kill shelter. In her experience, many dogs are needed outside of Texas.
“Texas is an extremely high-kill dog state,” Valentine said. “A lot of the dogs that go in the shelters there don't make it out alive.”
Where or who these animals would be headed up north to typically have spay and neuter laws— these are laws that aren’t quite common in the natural state.
However, if the animal can make it to one of these cities with spay and neuter laws, they have a fighting chance.
"They have the ability to absorb more of our dogs down here,” Valentine said.
Valentine breaks down what the process will look like for someone who wants to get started as a volunteer.
Once the need for a dog transport is established, Facebook groups and/or message boards will often post the opportunities.
Volunteers will offer to drive one of the 1-hour legs. Once each time slot is filled, then every volunteer is notified at least 24 hours before the move.
"You get to spend your hour with them and then you get to watch them go on to a home, it's just so rewarding to see how many people come together for the benefit of an animal," Valentine said.
She also hopes that more volunteers will give the process a chance.
"Not everybody can foster, not everybody can adopt, but I think just about anybody can probably transport," Valentine said.
If you'd like to learn more about ways you can help, contact Sandy Valentine at email@example.com.
You can find a list of Facebook groups to join if you'd like to become a volunteer below: