It’s a sad fact: shelters in Southern states are often overwhelmed by the number of homeless pets. In turn, however, many Northern shelters have far fewer animals available for adoption. The solution seems easy: move the dogs from the crowded shelters to less crowded shelters. In reality, though, it’s a complicated and costly undertaking.
But that hasn’t deterred South Florida’s DOGS ON THE MOVE. Created in November 2011, this non-profit organization rescues animals from high-kill shelters in South Florida and transports them safely to 501(c)3 rescues and no-kill shelters throughout the United States. Since 2011, they’ve rescued and relocated over 2,200 animals at a cost of $950 to $3,000 per animal depending on factors such as the destination of the receiving group.
Most DOGS ON THE MOVE relocations include multiple stops. Melissa Sorokin, Director of Public Relations, describes the process: “We generally load the dogs beginning around 6:30am and get on the road by 8am leaving Miami. We drive all day and through the night with two drivers, and begin delivering the dogs to the rescues and shelters. Our route may take us to various rescues in different states or we also take dogs directly to one shelter who can house and adopt a larger number of dogs from us.”
Although many groups rely on volunteers, Sorokin explains that at DOGS ON THE MOVE, “We have always preferred to pay our drivers so that they have not only an emotional investment in the pets on transport but also a monetary one. We have heard too many horror stories of dogs that were entrusted to transport with volunteer drivers who were either stranded or whose whereabouts became unknown. We also find the transports to be very physically demanding and arduous, and prefer to pay for this task rather than ask for someone to take it on as a volunteer (and likely never do it again).”
One such transport involved a young, black Lab mix named J Lo. Arriving at Miami Dade Animal Services as a stray, J Lo didn’t attract the interest of any local adopters, overlooked time and time again. According to the Florida-based rescuer, “She was becoming depressed and with low spirits. One of person from our noticed her and saw this dynamic in play and our hearts went out to her. We begged one of our amazing partners in New Jersey to take her on transport and they said yes!”
As J Lo was shared online, a family of dog lovers in New Jersey began to watch her transport with interest and when she arrived in New Jersey, “This family was waiting to adopt her with open arms and open hearts. They considered her the best Christmas present ever and there has been no looking back,” Sorokin says. J Lo has now been renamed Delaney and shares her home with two other dogs. "[The family was] so thrilled with Delaney that they made a special visit to us in South Florida to meet the folks that noticed her and wouldn't let her die here in our local shelter. Delaney will be loved and pampered for the rest of her life, and we are so proud to have been a big part of her happy ending story.”
Follow the transports of lucky pups like Delaney by checking the DOGS ON THE MOVE Facebook page.
Photos courtesy DOGS ON THE MOVE