Dog rescuers will go the extra mile, literally, to find the right home for the dog being saved from negligence, abandonment or abuse.
Meet the dog transporters.
For more than 15 years, Lauren Gibilaro has fostered and transported rescue dogs. She lives in Waxhaw – but drives an hour-and-a-half one way, on average, to transport dogs being saved from a desperate situation.
“I am just a small part of the big picture,” she said in an email.
Recently, a huge dog transfer of 200-300 dogs went through the Monroe airport. Through the “Pilots N Paws” annual event, pilots donate flying time, planes and fuel to help transport dogs.
Gibilaro works with a network of rescuers, transporters and fosters who travel the east coast all year long.
“You feel like a million bucks afterward,” she said of the transports. “You can’t help but get choked up a little (when you transfer the dog).”
Doris Godwin is one of the coordinators for the transports, which happen almost every weekend.
Godwin, who works from her home in Georgia, has a database of drivers she put together that she emails before each transport in order to coordinate the transports smoothly. A detailed spreadsheet outlines the connections and locations of each of the transports. It takes endless hours, and lots of detail, to organize all the people and animals involved.
And this is all volunteer-driven.
Drivers use their own crates and travel with the dogs, which are fully vetted and vaccinated, to a location to meet other drivers. Those drivers continue on the trek until the animals reach their ultimate destination and home.
“I left the corporate world to dedicate the second half of my life to rescuing,” Godwin said. “There are so many precious souls that need to be saved.”
In addition to her volunteer work coordinating dog transports, she works as a pet sitter. She estimates that more than 100 dogs are transported and rescued each month.
“Volunteer drivers are rewarded with lots of dog and puppy kisses, a warm heart and full spirit for having helped save precious lives,” Godwin said.
For more information, or to help, contact Doris at email@example.com.