Transporting Rescued Animals

Cats and Dogs from the Hurricane affected regions still need help. I do my part by transporting animals when I can. I work with Maine Coone Rescue and get emails when an animal is going to be coming through my area. I volunteer to take a leg or section of the trip and get the animal from one person in the chain to another.

I find this work fascinating. I met Mr. Beasley doing this. I’ve met some wonderful people who love animals through the groups. I now have friends that foster, or take in and care for an anmimal for a short time, as well as transport animals, so I know who to call if I need an animal or need to foster an animal.

Most of these animals come from loving homes, were once well cared for and truly loved. Through no fault of their own, their owners had to give them up. They ended up in the rescue instead of the animal shelter so that they would have a better chance at life. Most shelters put animals to death after a set time period. Cats living in rescue are allowed to live their natural lives.

Pet Finder is a wonderful resource for adoption, but also for rescue. let’s say you live in Florida and see a cat you want to adopt, living in Pennsylvania. The cat would make a trip to your home. Even though you pay for the service of having the animal brought to you, the drivers do this for the love of the animals. The fees you pay for adoption include the veterinary care, certification for crossing state lines, and a small fee to keep the organization going.

I’m lucky, because my transport co-ordinator is so organized. I’ve been part of transports by other people that are a mess because someone decided to strike off on their own to move the animals, instead of following protocols. I’ve fostered cats overnight when it was necessary. I keep a second litterbox available for this use, and always have extra bowls around. My cats can get a little unhappy about the visitor, but I cuddle everyone if possible, and keep to the schedule to get the cat to its forever-home.

Usually, my co-ordinator takes control of everything and I just meet someone someplace in town, drive about 90 minutes to the next meeting place and drop the animals with the next leg. The biggest thing I worry about is not holding up the transport by being late. I had a big dog once who was not in a carrier, and that worried me. It worked out OK, but I won’t transport any more animals not in crates. I was so worried about the dog the whole way, that the trip made me frantic.

The hurricane affected areas are still producing a lot of animals who may never see their owners again. It’s so heartbreaking that I can easily be overwhelmed with the magnitude of needy cats and dogs. I know I cried during a recent PBS Special. It fired me up to do as much as I can. I live in a small apartment, and can’t legally take on more cats, but I can foster for a short time (1-2 weeks if necessary) one cat at a time. During that time, the cat is cared for and loved, and given as normal a life as possible. When it’s time to hit the road again, I have the carrier cleaned out and ready to go, all the paperwork and personal items for the cat packed, and start out to the meeting place for the next leg, with an eye to meeting the next transporter.

To get involved with this work, look for Yahoo! Groups or Google Forums under animal rescue and sign up or subscribe to them. Post your offers, thoughts and concerns to the forums and provide your email address to the leaders of the transports. If you can foster an animal, do so. Even a short stay is welcomed. If you can take special needs animals, let them know. Cats testing positive for FeLV need special care and to be separated from the general cat population. Diabetic cats need special foods.