About to pull out (the first time)
Brittany and I had decided on a 10 am departure and the Shelby County Humane Society is about 45 minutes away from where we live so Brittany came over to by house around 9. We drove to the shelter in my car, with a quick detour at Chick-fil-a for a chicken biscuit! When we got to the shelter there was the huge Sprinter loaded up and waiting on us. We signed a few papers, loaded in our stuff and got ready to pull out. As we started to pull away I tried to turn on the AC and it wouldn’t come on. Uh oh. Sara from the shelter came out and could not get it to work either. Sara called the maintenance men from the state facility across the street to come over and check it out. They were so nice and checked the fuses but had no luck figuring it out. The shelter employees made a few calls and found a place in town that worked on AC. We quickly drove there (the dogs were still in the van) and they got to work. No luck, after about an hour they determined that it was the fan motor and there was no way to get it fixed. Brittany and I drove back to the shelter and Sara and her team quickly started to get another van ready for us. It took a little over an hour for them to unload and reload the van. I will admit, at this point I was getting a little anxious because we were loosing so much time but before I knew it the van was ready and we were on the road.
The guys at Wilson Paint and Body checking out the van
Amazingly, they were able to fit all the dogs into the smaller van and we were happy to have the ability to recline the passenger seat, which was not an option in the sprinter. I took the wheel and off we went! The first few hours were great, we ran into a little traffic in Chattanooga because it was 5 on a holiday weekend, but everything kept moving and before we knew it we were in our hometown of Kingsport, TN. Our parents were kind enough to pick up dinner for us and meet us in the Perkins parking lot right off the interstate. We had just a few moments to grab a hug, let a few dogs out and go to the restroom and we were on the road again.
It soon got dark and we found ourselves driving through the never ending Virginia! We did a great job of taking shifts and making sure that neither of us were driving when we felt sleepy. We did seem to switch out more this year but managed to get through the night and pull into NYC just around sunrise! Brittany did a great job driving as I navigated and we managed not to get lost this time! After New York, things start to move quickly and we breezed through a few more states. Our pups did great and were quiet as could be for the majority of the trip. Before we knew it we were getting close enough to call the shelter and inform them of our arrival time. Those last 45 minutes or so were pretty rough and the dogs were getting restless but we knew it would all be over soon.
At a toll in NYC!
NYC at sunrise!
We pulled into the Salem Animal Rescue League around 9:30 and were greeted by a friendly group of folks waiting to unload the dogs. We were only dropping off 6 dogs there so we couldn’t stick around for long as we still had a vanload of dogs for the next shelter. As we were pulling out we saw each dog being walked by the shelter staff. It was so nice to see them all so happy and out of their cages!
Unloading at Salem
It was a little more than a 30 minute drive to the Nashua Humane Society but we got to see some beautiful New Hampshire communities along the way. When we pulled into the Nashua Shelter we were so relieved to have completed our trip! When we got out we saw our friend Joan and her Dog Ella waiting for us. Even though we had never met, it was so nice to see a 'familiar face'. We just had to run over and give her a quick hug before we started unloading.
Joan contacted us a few days after our trip last year. She said to be sure and contact her before our next trip and we did just that. Joan and I had been e-mailing back and forth for a few weeks and because our original second stop was supposed to be an hour and a half further north, we didn’t think we would have time to meet up. But, just days before we left there was a shelter change to Nashua, which is only 30 minutes from her home. It was fate! Joan gave us a quick hug and we gave Ella a quick pet and then on to unloading. Joan was such a trooper and even helped us clean out the cages, she really is an angel! After all the dogs were unloaded we were able to go see them (Joan had to stick behind because they must be quarantined for 3 days) in the special receiving area. The shelter director told us that they had built this wonderful area of the kennel just for Shelter Partner intakes! It was so nice and organized; they had a chart already printed out showing which kennel each of our dogs was going to. They also had dinner ready!
Someone was very excited to be home!
The organized kennel chart
Dinner is ready!
It was so nice to visit with the staff, they were so friendly and had such a passion for what they do. We took a quick tour of the whole facility and even got to see an Alabama dog from the previous weeks transport being adopted! This shelter takes photos of all their dogs with their new owners so we hope to get some great photo updates to share with you all. We only got two last year, but they meant the world to us.
This is getting a little long, so I’ll finish up with Part Two tomorrow!