Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How It Works

Take one homeless animal.
Stir in a kind-hearted shelter worker.
Gently add one caring rescue person,
A tired transport coordinator,
And a tireless transport driver;
And what do you get?
Another animal saved!

The NNHS shelter is always overcrowded with abused, neglected and abandoned animals. Until such time as spay and neuter become law in towns, cities and rural areas throughout Missouri and nationwide, the situation isn’t likely to change. As the New Nodaway Humane Society’s Board of Directors struggles to remain financially solvent, adoption and rescue are the only two options for maintaining the shelter's low-kill status in rural northwest Missouri. When adoption does not provide enough homes for the many animals that come into the shelter each month, we turn to rescue for a helping hand.

Step 1 – Find a Rescue Organization
After a great deal of research and lots of emails, we have been fortunate to work with some of the best rescues in the country. Often, there’s more of a demand for our dogs and cats in other parts of the country than there is here in Nodaway County. Thousands of emails have been sent to rescue organizations over the past three years. Fortunately, many of those groups have responded to our pleas for help.

Step 2 – Testing, Taking Additional Pictures and Scheduling Vetting
Before arrangements can be made for transporting shelter animals, a Rescue Checklist is prepared for the shelter staff. Vetting often includes spay/neuter, a rabies vaccine (always required when transporting across state lines), a heartworm test and preventative for dogs and a FIV/FeLK test for cats. Appointments are made with our local veterinarians, and the paper trail to rescue begins.

Since those who work for rescue organizations cannot see the animals in person, we are often asked to re-visit the shelter to take additional pictures. Dogs in particular must be social and get along with other dogs, our team often does extensive testing for dog-aggression, food-aggression and other potential behavioral issues. Dogs are walked through the main cat room to determine whether they are cat-friendly.

There can be no surprises when one of our animals arrives at rescue and is placed in a foster home (or, in some case, a new adoptive home) where the family may have pets of their own.

Step 3 – Setting up a Transport and Recruiting Volunteer Drivers
Shelter dogs and cats from Maryville have been transported in two-hour segments, leg-by-leg, to rescue organizations in Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska and New York. It’s a formidable effort that requires full-time oversight. We are blessed to have a professional transport coordinator who performs miracles almost every week by getting shelter animals to rescue.

Words do not adequately reflect the magnitude of a large transport. Until you have been involved in one, it’s quite difficult to explain the bond between drivers and rescue animals and the between the coordinator and her merry band of highly experienced volunteer drivers. Each driver travels with water, water bowls, the occasional dog treat, paper towels, wipes for accidents, and extra collars and leashes. They are prepared. Many have encountered long delays due to inclement weather, accidents on the interstates or when a driver is running behind schedule due to a flat tire or other vehicle emergency. They are experts at what they do, and they take their responsibilities very seriously.

Step 4 – The Transport
On the day of transport, Maryville drivers must arrive at the shelter early enough to exercise the dogs, offer them water, and get them loaded. A shelter staffer meets the driver(s) at the shelter – quite often before the crack of dawn – to assist. Each dog travels with an envelope that has its picture on the cover. The paperwork includes the shelter-to-rescue paperwork, the shelter vetting on that particular dog, a Rabies tag, and a health certificate.


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