My family recently adopted a puppy that was found down in Mississippi locked in an abandoned home, which got me thinking. We rarely hear of abandoned dogs here up north, though don't get me wrong, it happens, but not nearly as much as it does down south.
It's not that people just don't like dogs down there, or that we like them more up north. People just don't always have the capabilities to care for and house dogs, and due to poverty and other cultural differences, there are a lot of roaming dogs without homes down south. Southern culture is different in many other ways; for instance, there are not strong leash laws like there are in the north, and people down south don't tend to view dogs as family members, but rather as property. Where I'm from, up here on the North Shore, it's very typical to have your dog sleeping in your bed with you and roaming around the house as if it's their own. Down south, dogs are left outside, and spaying and neutering is not as common, which naturally leads to an increased dog population. Many of these dogs end up being euthanized due to overrun shelters in poor living areas.
Here is where Rescue Road Trips, inc. comes in, a low cost transport service for rescue dogs in the "deep south." Greg Mahle travels 4,200 miles every other week to rescue dogs from high-kill shelters down south and bring them to loving homes up north. Due to the lengthy trip, there are scheduled breaks for going to the bathroom, walking, and snacking, where "angels," groups of volunteers, help walk the dogs and give them each one-on-one time. During the trip, there is always at least one person with the dogs at all times to provide them with comfort and care.
As for the trip itself, "we leave Ohio on Tuesdays, passing through Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and arrive in Texas on Wednesday nights. Thursdays we work our way from Texas, head across Louisiana and then head north towards Tennessee. Fridays are spent getting from the south to above the Mason-Dixon line. Saturdays are the magic day, because after facing death, all dogs with me are about to embark on the most love-filled part of their lives with their forever families."
At the end of the trip, the dogs are brought to their loving families on a day dubbed "Gotcha Day." "Gotcha day is a joyously emotional experience for all involved. Be ready to shed a tear and have your heart stolen." The greatest thing about this guy's job is bringing these little loves to families that will love them for the rest of their lives. I don't know about you, but I could do that for the rest of my life and be completely satisfied.
If you are interested in adopting a best friend, or you can't but you'd still like to help, click here.