Since March 2009, McKamey Animal Shelter has been an active participant in PetSmart Charities' Rescue Waggin' program - a national transport program that transfers adoptable dogs and puppies from overcrowded shelters to animal shelters where there is more adoption space and more opportunities for a new home. Since joining the Rescue Waggin' program, more than 1,350 dogs and puppies have taken this life-saving ride from Chattanooga to other shelters in the midwest.
"It's a lot of work for us, but partnering with PetSmart Charities has been an important life-saving program for our shelter," says Karen Walsh, executive director for McKamey Animal Shelter. "We know that the dogs and puppies we send on the Rescue Waggin' vehicle will have the second chance they deserve to find new homes."
Every month, staff and volunteers from the McKamey Animal Shelter choose dogs and puppies for the trip, evaluate them behaviorally, and give them health exams before they are officially accepted into the program. The dogs are picked up by a Rescue Waggin' vehicle and transported during a day-long trip to their destination shelter. Along the way, piped-in music helps them sleep and video monitors in the cab enable transport coordinators to keep an eye on their canine charges until they reach the new shelter. Once there, they are sterilized, if needed, and get about 24 hours of down time before placed on the adoption floor. Dogs transported through the Rescue Waggin' program are generally adopted within a week of arriving at their new destination shelter.
"With three to four million pets still euthanized across the nation each year, we created the Rescue Waggin' program to help shelters achieve their goals of getting more adoptable pets placed into good homes - wherever those homes may be," says Susana Della Maddalena, executive director of PetSmart Charities. "Dogs that may languish at one shelter are generally adopted within a week of arriving at their new destination shelter.
As a partner in the Rescue Waggin' program, McKamey Animal Shelter is also eligible for grants through PetSmart Charities to improve operations and make shelter improvements. Over the last three years, they have received more than $132,000 in grants to make operational and shelter improvements.
The Rescue Waggin' Program operates in the east coast, midwest, great plains, and south \central states. Nearly 60,000 dogs and puppies have been saved through the Rescue Waggin' program since it began in 2004. The PetSmart Charities' Rescue Waggin' program is funded entirely by donations.
The next Rescue Waggin' vehicle pick up for McKamey Animal Center will be Friday at 11 a.m. About 20 dogs will board PetSmart Charities Rescue Waggin' vehicle.