Transport is one of Sarge’s most valuable and successful programs. Approximately once a month, we send a van load of adoptable dogs to a partner rescue in New Jersey, where they find loving homes very quickly. This program depends on the support of volunteers to help with temporary fostering, vet checks, travel crate preparation, loading and most importantly, driving the van to and from New Jersey. We sometimes need drivers for shorter trips, such as from the Adoption Center to Asheville Humane Society when we are able to add a few dogs to their transports.
Why does Sarge’s transport animals to rescue partners in the Northeast?
The simple answer is that in Haywood County there are more animals that need help than we can adopt to local homes. And because of the highly developed spay/neuter programs in the northeastern states, there are not enough dogs available locally there to supply the demand. Statics show that the intake of stray and unwanted animals in Haywood County is twice the national average, and that we simply do not have the population base to place them all locally. Nor do we have the resources to harbor them over time.
What might we know about the adopters?
By opening their homes to our travelers, the families in northeastern states have demonstrated a willingness and desire to adopt their animals from rescue organizations. Spay/neuter is an accepted practice and is controlled by both ordinance and by the belief it is the right thing to do for their animals. Our latest transport is typical of the reception our transported animal receive, as 12 out of 14 were adopted the first week there.
Who benefits from transport?
Last year Sarges placed about 925 dogs thru adoption, transport, and breed rescue. 47% of those saved were thru transport. This year we are again over 40%. Our partners benefit as well since much of the revenue generated allows them to grow their rescue operations. Each of our partners has been in animal rescue for decades, and between them place thousands of animals every year. In the end it is plainly the animals that benefit most. Nationwide, countless numbers of animals that would not have survived, now live long, wonderful lives.
How are animals selected for transport?
Our transported dogs are highly adoptable animals that come in all shapes and sizes. Many are larger breed dogs that are prevalent here and can be challenging to place locally. We cannot begin to tell you how many of our lab and shepherd mixes, guardian types such as the pyrenees, and especially our long eared natives – the hounds – now have northern addresses. There are the mid-size breeds like the cattle dogs, the aussies, and the terriers; and the little ones – such as the chihuahuas, poodles, and poms.
What about puppies?
Because spay/neuter is a basic foundation of animal care there, fewer litters are generated in the northeast – so puppies that arrive on transport find adoptive homes immediately. In our area, there are many more litters than local rescues can foster to the generally accepted adoption age of eight weeks old. The pipeline stays full with new litters coming into the county shelter that are too young to adopt (NC state law requires an adoptable shelter pup to be two months old), and difficult to provide for in a shelter environment. We transport puppies to give them a chance to become adults. There are simply not enough foster homes that specialize in puppies to harbor all the littles ones. (Surely there is a special place in the hereafter for the homes that do foster the pups).
How large is the program?
There are many staff and volunteers involved in transporting our animals. The drivers are amazing, making long distance nighttime runs while the animals are asleep (at least most of the animals). Others include the medical team, data entry folks, foster families, photographers and bio writers, the folks that maintain the heathy environment for our cats and dogs at the adoption center, and the folks that “attend” the 9:00 PM send off party. The process from selection to delivery is closely co-ordinated with our adoption and medical operations.
The big picture
One last thing to acknowledge is that we are aware we are sending animals that could very well find a home here given enough time. We send those dogs because we know they will find great homes quickly, we know our partners will welcome the next group we want/need to send, and we know that local adoption alone will not save all our Haywood County dogs. Sometimes you send some pups, or purebreeds, or “little guys” to get a couple more big guys on board. It is all part of the big picture in Sarge’s rescue efforts. And we are saving a lot of animals that deserve a second chance.