We have cars.
Some are large, some small.
Some are barely roadworthy but we pack the miles on them anyway.
Some are fancy, expensive and new. We fill them without thought of status.
We find gas money.
We collect loose change. We turn in pop cans.
We save tips from work, or dip into our grocery budget.
We refrain from buying that new pair of jeans, quickly figuring that the money could get our cars another 100 miles down the road instead.
We sacrifice part of our weekends at home with our families.
Usually they are supportive but sometimes it is difficult.
We are often tired, road weary and broke. Often the weather makes us hesitate. We all have other things we could or should be doing.
We still drive.
We are dog rescue transporters.
You wouldnâ€™t recognize us on the road. You would see just another driver with a dog crate or two in the back.
We volunteer to drive these four legged friends across the United States and Canada â€“ wherever they need to go to get to safety.
We take them from puppy mills, dog pounds and away from those who would euthanize them and we get them to sanctuaries, rescues and shelters that will care for them and find them new, loving homes.
We drive about 100 miles a trip but some drive farther. We meet the next driver and pass our precious cargo to the next car, careful to hand over paperwork and special tips for each passenger. For some dogs the journey is several days long. Every mile counts.
We care deeply about our work and our passengers. They steal our hearts, just as they break our hearts.
We try and follow up on them and we rejoice in every happy ending.
It saddens us when we take them across international borders and have to declare them â€˜worthlessâ€™.
To us they are priceless.
Every dog is confused and frightened. Most are gentle in spite of what they have endured.
All are quiet once the car is moving. We cannot imagine what they are thinking, or what suffering they have encountered before this day.
Many are old, starved, have skin conditions or have had recent litters. Some have missing teeth, are blind or deaf, or have just outstayed their welcome. Owners may have passed away, or tossed them away.
Very often they smell. They have accidents or are car sick.
We pick them up, we hold them and love them. We let them feel comforting hands upon them. We speak kindly to them and give them blankets to snuggle in. We sometimes ride with them on our laps.
Our cars and our clothes can be cleaned.
We are your neighbors, co-workers, associates and friends. We drive SUVs, vans, cars, buses and trucks.
Some carry one dog, some as many as twenty or more.
We do not look impressive. We do not stand out from other cars on the road.
We carry paper towels, disinfectant, dog treats and plastic bags.
We likely have nose prints on the windows.
And there are hundreds of us.
We have cars, and we choose to put them to good use, despite the costs.
Once we have looked into the eyes of a dog with their new family,
we wouldnâ€™t have it any other way.
â™¥ A big thank you to all the volunteers.