Tuesday, August 14, 2007

In the words of country legend Willie Nelson...

On the road again, going places that I've never been.
Seeing things that I may never see again,
And I can't wait to get on the road again.

My friend Whitney and I head out in 48 hours - destination: Laconia, New Hampshire! And yes, we're driving. Straight thru. In a Humane Society van. Filled with dogs. 25 dogs to be exact. Hahahaha! This is the ultimate in "crazy dog lady" adventures!

Shelby Humane Society has a shelter partnering program with three shelters (and various rescue groups) in New Hampshire (see http://www.shelbyhumane.org/ for more information on sponsoring a dog for our trip). Having lived in the south my entire life, it's hard to wrap my mind around an animal shelter that has a waiting list for dogs. But I've been there and I've seen it for myself. Empty runs. Volunteers with no dogs to walk. People waiting in the parking lot for our vans to pull in. All this is the result of companion animal registration requirements, strict spay/neuter laws and education. It's a world away from "yard dogs" and animals left to fend for themselves on the side of the road. It's a world away from people who want their dog to have a litter of puppies so their children can "experience the miracle of life." It's a world away from here. And it's like heaven.

Since the program started last fall, SHS has sent close to 500 dogs north. Once they arrive at the receiving shelters, they're in quarantine for 7-10 days for health reasons and evaluations. After that, the majority of the dogs are adopted within the week. 500. Adopted. All of them. And we're not just sending up the cute, fluffy, small breed puppies. Our first trip included two 6yo hound-mix sisters, at least one Chow-mix and several very non-descript black dogs. These are dogs who surely would have been euthanized here. But in New Hampshire, the shelter workers made a huge fuss over each and every dog we pulled out of our van - big or small, black or white, young or old. They were happy to see all of them!

Our last trip was to the New Hampshire SPCA in Stratham (http://www.nhspca.org/ close to the Atlantic coast). We left Birmingham at 9:00 a.m. and arrived at the shelter the following day at 9:00 a.m. This trip will include Stratham again as well as the New Hampshire Humane Society in Laconia (http://www.nhhumane.org/ in central NH). Once we unload the dogs, we have the lovely task of cleaning out the van - it's really not as bad as it sounds - and then we're on our way back home. We're planning to stay in the Hartford, CT area Friday night to have dinner with friends and then we'll likely stop somewhere around Knoxville on Saturday night.

We have everything we'll need - air freshner, caffeinated drinks, satellite radio and a laptop with a Verizon air card. We'll be blogging from the road so check back frequently!

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