From River's mom:
River has kindly allowed me to tell the story of the transport today of Hunter the English Setter. His trip started in Georgia and will end at his new furever home in Illinois today.
I thought I would backtrack a little and explain what a transport IS. In short, it's a relay. Volunteer drivers generally drive 60-100 miles and hand a dog or dogs (we've done as many as 30 at a time) to the driver or drivers of the next leg of the relay. Sometimes it's done over days if it's really long but most of the time in one day. Thank dawg for email and cellphones. It's so easy to contact everyone now--not just to arrange the transport but in case of problems along the way. The transport coordinators are people who do nothing but arrange transports. They are almost never located along the route but somewhere in the US or even in Canada arranging US transports. As the dog is handed to the next driver (and you just pray you remember to give them the papers and food and toys that were sent along) the one left behind calls the coordinator. That way, she can contact people further down the route if there's a hold up. That's done with email.
I want to note that fortunately I have NEVER lost a dog although some have been tough to handle nor has anyone else in all the years I've been doing this. I have, however, pulled puppies and a mama off a transport because in my opinion they were in such bad shape they would have died along the way (I fostered until they survived--they had contracted parvo which hit just as they were being transported). And everyone I work with is very passionate about what they do--or you could say crazy like me. It always gives me hope knowing them when you can get so depressed listening to the news and what humans can do to each other and to animals.
So to the transport. I got everyone up at 6am and as River will tell you I'm NOT a morning person. He, however, is as lively and perky at 6am as at noon or midnight. After getting everydog back in and settled in their 'day' places (for instance, Georgia will attack Belle when I'm not supervising so she stays in a crate when I'm gone), I hit the road.
Hunter had been fostered by greyhound rescue just outside Atlanta until he was healthy and ACES (Another Chance for English Setters) had arranged for his adoption. They left home at 7am to meet me at a Cracker Barrel restaurant. I always arrange to meet at Cracker Barrels--lots of grass and I love to eat their food when I'm finished transporting. Yeah, well, it's my favorite junkfood place, too, because it has old time candy like from the 50s & 60s as in last century.
This is a picture of the sky as the sun is coming up. I'm almost at the big highway. It's going to be a sunny day.
And there are also the drivers who do this as a business (not me, maybe when I retire). They charge $125/dog and can take 40 or more dogs at a time in a huge air-conditioned, USDA approved trailer (it's all very regulated). Sometimes we send dogs up north that way if the adopter can afford to pay the fee otherwise, we figure out a free transport. It's great having all these options so as many can go as possible. I'm also darn glad that gas went DOWN 60 cents a gallon this week!
Here he is sitting up in the back seat. You can see him in the rearview mirror. Most drivers have vans or SUVs with crates. I never could afford one so we do the best we can with my small car. Fortunately, it was very cool, in the 60s, so I had no worries about AC this time.