Saturday, May 21, 2011
Today was a marathon transport day. Normally, we divide up transports in "legs" where each volunteer driver has about a 1.5 hour trip one-way. That was not possible today. There were three GSPs in need of a weekday transport. It's tough to find weekday help (after all, we all have to work), and even more challenging to find someone who can transport three large dogs at one time.
Earlier in the week, there were three GSPs in desperate need, in two different KY shelters. They had 24-48 hours before being euthanized. All three were owner surrenders, so they have even less time. The shelters have a mandatory hold on the "strays" so their owners can have the chance to claim them. That is not so with the owner surrenders, so we have to act quickly.
At first, there was a sense of panic...where were we going to put three GSPs? We had just taken several over the weekend, and there were also two waiting to come in. And, where was I going to put them on a Tuesday, with no volunteers within a reasonable distance to the shelters? So many questions...so much to do...so little time left...
Thanks to two wonderful shelter volunteers, all three dogs (Isobel, Guinness and Rusty) were pulled on Tuesday, and transported to an AMAZING vet clinic in Richmond, KY. They don't normally do boarding, but they made an exception for us. We had used them before, for some other shelter dogs, so they knew our rescue would pay our bill on time. The prices were reasonable, and they received loving care.
I found foster homes for all three. The Bailey family in WV, the Baker family in OH, and the Celesky family in MD. But, it would take some coordination to get them where they needed to go. I would have to drive to the vet to retrieve them (2.5 hrs each way). Then, I'd have to drive another 1.5 hours to meet Jim and Nancy Kane. Jim is a volunteer driver for a transport van for the Parkersburg, WV shelter. Every weekend, they load the van with lovely animals in need of homes, and drive to Hagerstown, MD. From there, they are picked up by their respective rescue groups, and they are on their way to a new life. Jim and Nancy would collect all three GSPs from me in Charleston, WV. They would then drive to meet Carol Bailey in Ravenswood, WV. Carol would be fostering Guinness, and she would keep Isobel overnight (The Baker family would pick her up Saturday morning). Jim and Nancy would hold Rusty overnight, and Jim would load him on the transport van VERY early Saturday morning, for his trip to MD.
(I should also add that while I am typing this, Cookie, a young female GSP from KY is now en route from Bowling Green, KY to Hagerstown, MD on a different shelter transport. She will arrive in MD at 6:00 am. There will be a small team of volunteers who get her where she needs to go...in the early morning hours on a Saturday)
So, now you have the history of how this all started. As I was driving along, on about hour six of the transport, I was starting to feel tired. My legs were aching a bit, my back was stiff and I was starving. I was dreading the next four hours of driving, until I could finally get home. Home...home to my "own" rescue dogs and fosters. I knew they were in need of attention. Hubby had let them out to potty, but they would have preferred some "me time" and some long runs in the yard.
I was feeling road weary for sure. I looked down at sweet Isobel, there on the front seat in her seatbelt harness. She was staring up at me with the most beautiful expression. She was so content. Then, I glanced in my rear view mirror, at the two large crates blocking my view. Rusty and Guinness were back there, sleeping quietly. Then, it hit me. Perhaps I was tired and hungry, but my car was full of LOVE. It was full of LIFE! It was full of HOPE! There were three little hearts beating in that car. They were beating because a small army of caring people made some small sacrifices to save their lives. The shelter volunteers, the vet clinic staff, the fosters, the transporters... We were ALL a vital piece of the puzzle. When the pieces are put together, precious lives are saved.
All of my own dogs and fosters at home are ALIVE because a small army of people once made small sacrifices to save THEM. Those sweet faces I kiss goodnight, the ones I treasure and adore, would not be with us, these amazing gifts to our home, had there not been a small army of kind people, willing to take a little time out of "their day" to perform a task or two, to save their lives.
The rest of my journey passed quickly, and I had a smile on my face the entire time. I felt at peace. There was LIFE and LOVE in that car today. And, there was an abundance of LIFE and LOVE greeting me at the door when I got home.