Recently, I had the opportunity to speak in front of a group of people who had no idea what CTR does or even that there was a need for groups like CTR. Most of the time, I’m surrounded by like-minded folks who are living dog rescue, day in and day out. Or, I’m with my friends who have known me long enough and heard my “Don’t breed or buy while shelter dogs die” sermon enough times that they understand what and why I do it. When I explained to the group how many dogs die in Tx every year, there was an audible gasp. When I told them that there wasn’t the same sort of death toll, exactly the opposite, in the North, they were intrigued. When I described the process of finding, vetting and transporting dogs to the North and that, this year alone, we have moved 150 dogs, they were impressed. That speech gave the 10,000 foot view.
Here is a more detailed version of how, what I like to call “Rescue Coordinating” works.
1. I get an email or text or facebook message or am tagged on a facebook post about a dog who is slated to die in the next day, week, weeks.
2. If the dog passes the test, meaning you can answer “yes” to all of the relevant questions – Is the dog under the age of 5, get along with other dogs and people, isn’t overly shy, isn’t a or part bully breed, isn’t heart worm positive and has no health issues that you know of, then I send the dog’s information to one or more multiple groups I work with in the north.
Now, I’m going to make a side note, here. My partners in the North are not just getting emails from me regarding dogs in dire need of rescue. They are getting emails from groups all over the south. There is not one dog that is less in need than another so they basically play the difficult role of deciding who they are going to say “yes” to and who they have to say “no”. That is why it is so important to me that I maintain a good relationship with my partners and that the dogs I’m sending do check “yes” for all the relevant questions. They know that the bio that comes with the dog is never falsified or doctored to make the dog appear anymore than what they are.
3. Now, I wait. I’m checking email every few minutes waiting my northern partners to get back to me with a “yes” or a “no”.
4. We get a “yes”! Now we need to pull the dog from the shelter, work on finding a foster home and someone to transport the dog to the foster home. This is never easy and has fallen through on some dogs meaning the dog doesn’t get his freedom ride or his freedom, period.
5. Dog makes it to foster home (which is normally my house since we are so short on fosters) and during the time that we had confirmed dog would make it to foster home, I’ve reached out to the transporters CTR uses to find out who is going where, when and if they have a spot available.
Another sidenote. Transporters are often on the road and not easily accessible. So, the answer to this question could also take a couple of days and then I might find out the next transport isn’t available for a few weeks.
6. Transport is found and now I need to make an appointment to get the dog to the vet. The dog must be up to date on all vaccinations, heartworm tested (heartworm test has to be negative and no more than 30 days out from transport) and they need a health certificate.
7. Dog is put on transport (which sometimes arrives at 1 am) and makes his/her journey to her new life.
Now, while all of this is happening, I’m still getting pinged, emailed, tagged on dogs in dire need of rescue. So, I’m not just focused on this dog, I’m focused on multiple dogs every single day. My partners in the pit, those that are actually going into these hell hole of a shelters are doing the hard work, taking pictures and networking these dogs. They are waiting anxiously to hear back whether their dog has been accepted. I’m waiting anxiously to see if the dog has been accepted.
While I was typing this, I checked my email at least 10 times hoping to see an email about 11 dogs I sent, yesterday. It feels like when I was a teenager calling to check my answering machine, in hopes that a certain boy had called, expect this time instead of the possibility of teenage tears, a dog’s life is at stake.