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Today’s session is about Getting ready for the transport
OK, you got the email saying there are dogs needing transport. You signed up for a leg. You checked the map, GPS, map program in your phone, and you know where you are going, where you are meeting and where you are going from there (don’t laugh, I’ve been on transports where I’ve been called or asked how to get to the next stop, because nobody takes the time to plan ahead).
Before we get to far along, let’s back up just a few seconds. It is important to know who you are working with. I work with one single breed rescue, who is very organized and the dogs they transport come with; a crate, collar and tags, harness, leash, food, meds (if the dog needs them), blanket and bed, toys bowls and records. I know that when transporting with this group everything is done and it will be easy. Mostly because these dogs are coming from a foster home and going to their forever home.
I work with a few other groups and the dogs are coming from shelters and going to foster homes, these dogs have nothing. Records only and maybe a collar if the shelter had an extra one. Many are being saved from death, and are coming from high kill, no adoption shelters. I hate using the word shelter, when it comes to facilities that kill dogs. To me “shelter” means “a place of protection, a place where you can go and be safe”. Not a guaranteed death sentence, where you are going to be murdered.
Ok, so now we skip back to where we started. You are excited and ready to get the transport going. Time to prepare the car first. I have a bunch of old hospital towels and blankets (hospitals, typically don’t use linen with other hospital’s names on them, so they put those aside) and pee pads or “chux” if you are using the human version. I cover the back seat with the pee pads. I then drape a blanket over the seat and back and make a nice seat cover. I also pee pad the floor. If I’m driving alone, I will do the passenger front seat. I learned from one rescuer, she goes to the dollar store and buys vinyl shower curtains. She uses these under the pee pads as extra protections from unexpected leaks. Make sure you have water and a bowl, the dogs will be thirsty and maybe dehydrated from the travel. Now pack your transport bag and lets get ready to travel.
I have a gym bag that is full of supplies. My gym bag has collars of different sizes, leashes of different sizes and length, as well as a few “slip leashes”. Paper towels, extra blankets, extra towels, extra pee pads (enough to recover my seats if need be). A container of Clorox wipes, water and water bowl. A few healthy treats are good to have as well. A muzzle is good to have, again a few different sizes, a seat belt restraint is also good. to have. While not in my gym bag, but still important, the crate. Some times crates, it depends on how many dogs are being transported.
Before we get on the road, make sure you have a map, directions, or map app for your phone and a GPS. Make sure you have the contact info of the driver you are meeting, the driver you are going to hand off the dog too and the transport coordinator. Make a quick check of the car to make sure you are all ready and prepped. Lets go!
You want to get to the meeting place a little early, that’s incase the transport is running fast (which usually never happens), and you can be ready to accept the dog without rushing. When you rush, you make mistakes and you forget stuff. Even if the transport is running late, take your time, your responsibility is to the dog! remember; It’s all about the dog! When you meet the transporter, introduce yourself and make sure that this is the correct person and the correct dog. Often when there are large transports, there will be multiple drivers. You want to make sure you have the right person and dog. Next get the paperwork and the dogs belongings and move them into your car. Make sure you ask how the dog was from the previous driver. It is very good to know if the dog is an escape artist, or doesn’t like travelling or falls asleep as soon as the car starts moving. Make sure the dog has a collar and leash or a slip leash on before attempting to remove the dog from the car. Once out of the car, make sure to hold the leash tight (don’t laugh or think, I’m being condescending), you don’t want to be the one to call the transport coordinator and say you lost the dog, or the dog got loose and then got hurt or killed. Take the dog for a short walk around the area. Make sure you give him enough time to go potty. Offer him some water and then put him in your crate, back seat or where you plan on having him while you are traveling. You will see all kinds of ways people transport dogs, I’m going to teach you the correct way. Ideally, the dog should be restrained while you are driving, the reasons are many: you don’t want the dog to interfere with your driving, you don’t want two or more dogs fighting in your car while driving. You don’t want the dog to escape from your car when you open the door.
You can restrain your dog a few ways. The crate is the best, it protects you and the dog by creating a barrier. A seat belt harness is another good way to secure the dog. Many states are now requiring dogs to be secured while driving. If the dog is small you can use a booster seat that the dog sits in and is secured too.
So load the dog and away we go! Some people like to play music during the travel, if you do, please keep it low and relatively light, No heavy bass rap etc. Make sure you contact the transport coordinator and let them know that you are on your way. You may want to contact the person you are going to meet and let them know you will be meeting them.
When you arrive, greet the next driver make sure they are the correct one and give a quick report on the dog. Hand over the paperwork, and dog’s belongings. Make sure the dog has a leash on and bring the dog over to the new driver. Make sure the new drive is ok and has everything done and then call the transport coordinator while you are heading home.
Once home, it’s time to clean up your car. Regardless of weather the dog had an accident in the car or not, you need to remove everything and wash it with bleach. Throw out the pee pads unless they are the reusable type, then wash them. Wipe down the cars plastic surfaces with the Clorox wipes. Clean the water bowl, and the crate. Disinfect everything. When you are going into your house, change your clothes and wash them as well. Don’t let your dogs sniff your clothes. Get ready for the next transport by resupplying your bag if you used anything.
Dogs, like people are susceptible to diseases. Like children, dogs are very social and they pass disease by sniffing each other, drinking from the same bowls, sniffing and lick pee and poo and just plain coming in contact with surface areas that an infected dog has touched. Some of the disease include but are not limited too: Lepto, bordetella , or kennel cough, Influenza, para-influenza and parvo. You really do not want your dogs to get sick because you were helping out another dog.
A special note for transporting puppies. Puppies should be kept away from all other dogs, unless they are part of a litter. Wash your hands in between handling puppies from different litters. Puppies do not have a fully matured immune system, this is why they are basically quarantined. Puppies do not touch the ground during the transport. Puppies need to have a separate water bowl and they need to be crated. The puppies need to be allowed to potty in the crate and that means you may need to clean the crate and the puppies. Make sure you observe the puppies close, if one shows signs of being ill, you will have to separate the puppy from the others. I’m not talking car sick, I mean weepy eyes, cough, lethargic, diarrhea, dull eyes, this puppy needs to be separated. It is probably already to late, but we should at least try to keep the illness from spreading.
Be careful when handling the dogs, I can’t stress enough, these dogs are tired, stressed, scared, confused and they don’t understand what is going on.
If you do everything as listed above, your transport should be nice, relaxed and easy.
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This is Charlie Moe the voice of Daisy’s Rescue thanking you for rescuing and helping dogs.