What happens when you have communities with more dogs than homes and others with a need for adoptable pets? Call in the PetSmart Charities Rescue Waggin’ vehicle. More than 60,000 dogs and puppies have taken the ride of their lives since the lifesaving transport program began in 2004.
With more than 11,000 pets euthanized each day in the U.S., PetSmart Charities is addressing the problem at the community level. The Rescue Waggin’ program takes dogs and puppies from shelters in communities where their chance for adoption is low and transports them to shelters in areas of the coun-try where they quickly find their lifelong, loving homes.
As Beth Maresh of the Wisconsin Humane Society put it, “When the Rescue Waggin’ vehicle shows up at the shelter, it is so exciting. Everyone – volunteers and staff – helps unload. I tell everyone that the Rescue Waggin’ program is the best part of the job.”
Why It Works
People want pups. Areas with robust spay-and-neuter and adoption programs often have waiting lists for adoptable pets. The Rescue Waggin’ program works on a simple supply-and-demand principle.
Adoptions happen fast. When a rescued dog is settled into his new shelter, he’s usually adopted in three to seven days. Maresh said, “People often call to ask when the next Rescue Waggin’ transport will be arriving.”
Both shelters benefit. The program works with shelters on both ends of the journey to find more homes for pets in their community. Local pets are never displaced and some shelters even graduate from the program and can manage their populations in a sustainable way.
Dogs who may not have been adopted quickly, such as Izzy, a nearly 2-year-old shepherd mix, can find their forever homes. She was brought in as a stray but knew some basic obedience commands. Be-cause of her happy temperament and captivating colors, shelter workers decided that she would be a great candidate for the Rescue Waggin’ program.
After traveling from Tennessee to Wisconsin, Izzy spotted Jim. He and his wife Kerry had recently lost their dog and were instantly drawn to Izzy. Since her adoption, Izzy has brought life back into their home. She loves to play with her toys and roll in the grass in the backyard. Many dogs, like Izzy, have found their own special families through the PetSmart Charities program.
For further facts and to view a new documentary following the journey of Izzy and another lovable pup, Kane, visit www.petsmartcharities.org/rescue-waggin.