Tagged: “volunteer”

On The Way Home: A Transport Volunteer’s Story

A woman touches a dog in a kennel inside a van

PawsCo transport volunteer, Nelle, welcomes pups to their new life with PawsCo

By Judy Craddock, PawsCo transport volunteer
 

At least 10 others waited on the expanse of asphalt in the early autumn sun when I pulled my car into a parking spot and lifted the hatch. Two metal crates were wedged into my cargo area like puzzle pieces, waiting for the special delivery on its way from a rural animal shelter. When I volunteered to transport foster pets for PawsCo last weekend, I envisioned a short trip with a dog happily riding in the back seat, head out the window with that “freedom” smile on, ears flapping in the wind, eyes filled with anticipation of better days ahead.

However, several steps come before that dream can be realized.

Those of us who came to take these dogs to their foster homes waited patiently on the van. We chatted and paced in the parking lot until we saw the “Critter Cruiser” turn in. We gathered at the back of the vehicle as a gracious volunteer driver handed out the paperwork for each pet. He traveled hours with about a dozen dogs, and was as calm and engaging as someone who had driven without the canine symphony behind him. When the doors finally swung open, the greeting party began.

A small crowd gathers near a van used for transporting animals

Rescue representatives await opening the transport vehicle.

The ooohs and aaaahs...

The oh-my-goshes and the guessing of breed mixes…

The laughing at the given names, and whether or not they actually fit…

The melting of hearts over a crate of puppies…

The first real leash walk for many, stepping gingerly across warm pavement on the way to soft grass…

 

Four dogs sit in crates in the back of a van.

Rescued dogs await their next step

My co-volunteer Nelle took three of the dogs in her car, and I loaded a sweet Basset-mix and a terrier who looked a little shaken from the move. When the dogs exited the van, one-by-one, they were a little stiff from the ride, thirsty, excited, scared, and curious. As we departed, I noticed that some of the dogs seemed to say farewell to their road buddies, wishing each other good luck on the way to forever homes.

We arrived with the dogs at PawsCo headquarters–a warehouse space with bags of donated food, toys, and crates. A vet team member performed a quick medical check of each animal and a photographer captured each pet’s best side. Dogs got new collars, food and water, and some much needed wiggle room in the safety of the office. As each dog’s foster mom or dad arrived, there was another round of that same chorus.

Ooohs and aaaaahs.

Oh-my-gosh!

Melting hearts.

Woman wearing a purple shirt holds a black and brown dog.

Amy, a PawsCo Volunteer, Holds Bingo.

It’s impossible not to fall in love with each of these animals as they make their way toward forever homes. From being released from overcrowded shelter life, to the long car ride, to those double doors swinging open and the first steps out into the welcome party, each pet has a look of hope in its eyes. The best response we can give is to answer that with the promise of a safe and loving foster home on the way to that ride with ears flapping and the knowing smile of better days ahead.

If you are interested in becoming a transport volunteer with PawsCo, you can start by filling out a Volunteer Application.