October 5, 2016

Record Breaking Ride: ASPCA’s Nancy Silverman Rescue Ride Program Transports 5,000th Dog

AnnaMay in a car
AnnaMay, the 5,000th dog transported by ASPCA's Nancy Silverman Rescue Ride program. 

Last week, 25 pups and young dogs got a new “leash” on life as they boarded a transport from Tennessee to the Empire State, thanks to the ASPCA's Nancy Silverman Rescue Ride (NSRR), which relocates dogs from the Southeast to shelters in the Northeast where they have a better chance for adoption.

Among them was a Chihuahua-mix named AnnaMay, who had the honor of becoming the 5,000th dog transported via NSRR this year, reaching the program’s goal for the year and exceeding last year’s tally of 3,481 dogs transported.

AnnaMay originally came to McMinn Regional Humane Society (MRHS) in Athens, Tennessee, as a stray. The pint-sized pooch was so nervous and fearful that veterinarian Erin French Dols asked Esther Cruze, a Veterinary Technician at the Humane Society’s clinic, to foster her before placing her on a transport. Thanks to Esther, it took just two weeks for AnnaMay to get acclimated to her foster family, which included other animals and children, and she was soon cleared for transport.

On Wednesday, September 28, two drivers departed MRHS—which sends dogs to the Northeast on a monthly basis—for the 900-mile road trip. Midway through the two-day journey, the transport stopped at Augusta Regional SPCA in Staunton, Virginia, where the dogs (and drivers) got a good night’s sleep before re-boarding the vehicle for the remainder of the journey.

Nancy Silverman Rescue Ride Program Transport

On Thursday afternoon, the transport arrived at Mohawk Hudson Humane Society (MHHS) in Menands, New York, just north of Albany. Less than 48 hours later, AnnaMay was in a new home.

“She’s the best—this little dog,” says Thomas Wright of Waterford, New York, a single father who adopted AnnaMay for his 10-year-old daughter Abby. “We visited the shelter the night before, then checked the web site and went back first thing the next morning. We could have gone to a breeder or a pet store and spent hundreds of dollars, but I’m teaching my daughter to think outside the box. I said, ‘We’re going to rescue a dog from the shelter.’”

AnnaMay and her family
Thomas Wright and his daughter Abby with their newest addition. 

Thomas, a loan officer, says AnnaMay is their first dog. “We needed a new addition,” he says. “And we gave this dog a new life. That’s very gratifying.”

In fact, AnnaMay was one of 25 animals adopted Saturday at the MHHS’s five area locations, which include satellite adoption centers at local pet supply stores.

“We’re very committed to helping other organizations, and really like to form those partnerships,” says Marguerite Pearson, Marketing and Communications Manager at MHHS, which routinely takes in animals from the NSRR. “Our first priority is always our local pets, but when we do have space, we enjoy collaborating with other groups.”

It helps that the MHHS is located in a “super animal friendly market,” according to Mike Buckley, Vice President of Philanthropy and External Affairs for MHHS. Mike cites dog parks, pet-friendly housing and supportive media outlets that helped nearly 4,000 cats and dogs find new homes in 2015.

“Transporting these dogs from areas of the Southeast, where the risk of euthanasia can be high, to places where they’ll be adopted, is very rewarding,” said Kristen Limbert, Senior Director of Animal Relocation at the ASPCA.  “It feels great to be part of a program that gives so many dogs a second chance. These are amazing animals that just need a change of venue to find an adopter.”

The ASPCA’s Nancy Silverman Rescue Ride is currently in its second year of operation. The Rescue Ride vehicle has already made 145 trips to source shelters and looks forward to many more lifesaving trips in the future.