THE POWER OF TRANSPORT
Picture yourself in AT&T stadium for a Cowboys football game. Look around – with every seat filled, you are one of 80,000 people there to enjoy the game. Close your eyes and imagine dogs in each of the stadium seats instead of a person. Now add an additional 16,707 dogs to the field and around the parking lot. What you have pictured is the 96,707 dogs euthanized in Texas animal shelters due to lack of space in 2019. Believe it or not, this is a 15% reduction from 2018 where Texas ranked No. 1 in the country for shelter deaths.
Washington state is in a unique position compared to Texas – more potential adopters are looking for dogs than are available for adoption. One of the drivers behind this adoptable pet shortfall are the successful spay and neuter laws, and enforcement of those laws, in place which limit the overall dog population. Washington’s success is reflected in the numbers: no dogs have been euthanized due to lack of shelter space in over 10 years. The Humane Societies of Washington developed a plan to facilitate shelter dog transport to help fill the gap of dogs available for adoption and began partnering with shelters and rescue organizations in Texas.
Dallas Dog partnered with the Washington Humane Societies to create greater opportunity for our dogs to find their forever homes. The incredibly successful outcome of the partnership program is clear. Whereas a dog may spend months in foster with Dallas Dog seeing little or no adoption interest, our transport alumni are typically adopted within one to four days - sometimes even within hours - of their arrival in WA.
Transport saves 3 LIVES for each dog transported:
The life of the dog being transported
It creates a foster opening for another dog we can save
It creates an open shelter kennel for another dog to be rescued
Texas continues to experience a mass overpopulation of stray dogs; often overwhelming our local shelters and resulting in significantly poor health in the stray pet population. Sadly, Texas has more dogs available for adoption than adopters to take them in to their homes – which means some dogs may never
be adopted in our state.
Transport to the Pacific Northwest is a spectacular gift we can give our dogs. By making the lifesaving trek to Washington it provides our dogs an opportunity to get the best home in an area where there are more adopters than dogs and time to adoption is counted in hours and days rather than months and years.
The dogs are carefully selected. Old, young, big, little… all types of Dallas Dogs are submitted to our partners in Washington. Biographies of candidate Dallas Dogs are submitted for evaluation by the receiving organization to determine which is a good fit to their adopter community. Feedback is then
provided with the list of dogs approved for transport. Sometimes all dogs we submit are approved!
Once selection is complete, the real work begins. All dogs must obtain special health certificates from a veterinarian for out of state transport. Scheduling is managed by our medical team and typically occurs the week before the transport date. Local coordination of foster dogs to the transport departure point is coordinated, which can be a herculean feat when coordinating a large transport group. All dogs must arrive at the departure point within a specific window of time on a given date.
We ask our fosters to write letters to the adoptive families, describing all that is special about their foster dog. Some go to great lengths and provide play by play detail while others feel more comfortable providing highlights – it is whatever is most comfortable for the foster. Additional photos and biography
information is provided by the fosters which is then gathered and provided to the destination partner to identify potential adopter matches and for inclusion in marketing programs
Dallas Dogs travel in a climate-controlled trailer equipped with real-time video cameras. Our transporters are well versed in canine health and take great care of the dogs during their travels. Dallas Dog volunteers remain in contact with our transport team allowing us to provide status updates along the way
including delays encountered, any health issues and arrival estimates at the destination shelter. Travel updates often help soothe the anxiety we may feel over our foster’s travel.
Staff and volunteers anxiously await our transport and treat our dogs as we would. Just as we do with new Dallas Dog fosters, the team is ready to dispense treats and love when our dogs arrive! They clean any dogs who may be in need, remaining dogs are spayed or neutered and time is spent allowing the
dogs to decompress from the trip.
They want nothing more than for our dogs to find the perfect forever home. Keep in mind, “shelter” in Washington is not the same as “shelter” in Texas. They are light, bright, clean, happy places for our dogs. Sometimes it may be in the dog’s interest to move to one of their fosters for a short while - maybe
the dog developed a cough or were a bit nervous after their travels. The shelters want our dogs to be 100% ready to succeed in their new home with the support from an army of committed fosters and volunteers.
Not all dogs travel well. In the event one of our dogs has challenges recovering from the trip, the shelters in Washington have wonderful behavioral units to help our dogs. Their staff and volunteers work with the dogs until they are ready to be adopted. On the rare (and we mean VERY RARE) occasion a dog cannot overcome their issues, they are returned to DogRRR to continue behavioral work with them here in Texas.
Hours are spent putting together the presentation slides which include every dog's medical history, printing records, and making travel envelopes for every dog. As fosters, it is emotional, sometimes the uncertainty gets the best of us, we have a gut reaction and request to foster fail. We call those "emotional adoptions" and they are often more for the foster themselves than the pup. They will quickly bond with and love another family, just as they bonded with and loved you. When adopting a pet it should be because you can not live without that best and you can provide it the best life, not because it hurts too much to let them go.