Tuesday, June 29, 2010

All Kinds of Good News!

Brittany and her friend Kristen have signed up to take trip to New Hampshire at the end of October!    I am very excited for them, and slightly jealous as well!  I know that Brittany and Kristen will make a great team, those are going to be some lucky dogs.
Me, Kristen and Brittany

Brittany and Kristen came up with a great fundraising idea for their trip, to sell dog collars handmade by the three of us.  We don't have all the details worked out quite yet, but we will soon add them to my etsy store, with all proceeds going towards their Shelter Partners trip in October. 

One more note, I recieved this info from the Salem Animal Rescue Leage about one of our pups.

"Bella was adopted to a gentleman that came all the way up from Cape Cod to meet her yesterday. He is a single older guy who is very quiet and gentle. He had a dog that resembled Bella for many years and was very interested in her when he spotted her on line. He drove a coupld of hours up to meet her and we had a little glitch getting her to the shelter from our foster home so he had to wait another two hours to meet her. Although he knew the minute his eyes set on her she was going home with him he spent a few hours getting to know her before he adopted her. He left just in time to catch the ferry back to the islands where they will live together. Very nice adoption."

Sweet Bella and her new owner!

Friday, June 11, 2010


I received a wonderful e-mail from Deb at Nashua with photos of our pups and their new families! Their camera unfortunately wasn't working on one day (when 4 dogs were adopted) but here are the rest. And she informed me that Bruce, one of our few dogs that has not been adopted, was meeting a potential family as she typed!

I cannot tell you all how happy these photos made me, I cried many happy tears.  To see these dogs that were about to be put to sleep with their happy new families is so AMAZING!  I look at the photos and can see years and years of happiness a head of the dogs and people.

I also wanted to let you all know a quick breakdown of our expenses.  Our trip cost a total of $499 which is all our gas and one nights hotel stay.  I think that is pretty good!  We did have the van that takes normal gas, the Sprinter takes diesel and I think it is a little more expensive.

Thanks to donations from Joan and Dan, Cheryl and Bud, Susan and Doug, Kathleen and Brenda we will be sending a check for $170 to Shelby County which means our trip only cost them $329!  Yippie!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Part Two

Once Brittany and I wrapped up our tour of the shelter we went back outside to visit with Joan. She had been so kind and such an encouragement to us, I cannot tell you how nice it was to finally meet her! We didn't have very long as we still had a lot of driving to get done before we could rest for the night, and Joan was so understanding of that. We talked for about 15 minutes and took some photos and then had to pry ourselves away, but not before Joan gave us the homemade cookies she had made for us! AND healthy organic apples and carrots! What a sweetheart and let me tell you something, those were the best cookies I've ever had! We punched 'Home' into the GPS and hit the road. We probably talked over an hour about how kind Joan was and got teary eyed when she disappeared from our rear view mirror.

Sweet Ella!

Time seemed to go by SO much faster once the dogs were not in the van anymore. For 20+ hours all I had done was think about how they were so unsure of what was going on and hearing their little claws scrape in the crates with each bump in the road just tore me to pieces (I promise, they were actually very comfortable but I tend to let my anxiety get the best of me). It was such a nice to change to think about how happy they were! Before we knew it we were back in NYC, except with a lot more traffic this time as it was around 3 pm. But, it kept moving the whole time so we didn't get discouraged. Being from a small town, Brittany and I just laughed about how we never imagined we would drive through NYC, much less in a jumbo van! The roads in NYC were so rough and the cages rattled really badly, especially without the weight of the dogs in them so once we hit the highway in New Jersey it was smooth sailing.

We had agreed before the trip that we were not going to worry about how far we made it back that day, although obviously we wanted to make it as far as possible we just decided there was no reason to put pressure on ourselves and we would just stop whenever we felt like it. Ronda from the shelter had told us that when she did the trip over Memorial Day weekend she had a hard time finding a hotel room so we had booked one in Winchester, VA just in case. When we left New Hampshire I thought there was NO way we were going to make it that far, 10 hours, but by a miracle neither one of us got sleepy. We had to cancel our room by 6 pm but wouldn't be there until 9 pm so we had to make the decision on if we were going to keep going or not. We decided to go for it. I'm not going to lie, those last 2 hours were ROUGH! It wasn't that we were even sleepy, just SO ready to be there. Once we arrived we had been driving straight for over 30 hours.

Brittany enjoying Joan's healthy treats!

Winchester was the first city once we crossed into Virginia and I've never been so happy to see Virginia. Our hotel was right off the interstate and we pulled Big Green into the parking lot for a much needed nights rest. I went to check in while Brittany gathered her things. We had called the hotel a little earlier to confirm our reservation and when Brittany said our name, the man immediately said that yes, he did have our reservation. We thought that was odd that he knew right off the top of his head and when I was waiting in line he was telling the people trying to get a room that they were full (glad we followed Rondas advice) so I couldn't figure out how he knew about our reservation because we had made it about a month ago. But, as I was checking in he said that someone had called and left us a gift so that is why our name was fresh on his mind. Our sweet Dad had called and gotten us a little welcome bag with fruit, special k bars, muffins and a water! We felt very special!

We had ordered a pizza before we arrived at the hotel and had just enough time to get showers before it arrived. We hadn't really eaten much of anything since the dinner our parents brought us the night before so we were starving. So, I guess pizza in our hotel room has become part of our Shelter Partners tradition. Not eating for 24 hours sure does make pizza taste good and I knew that going without sleep for 2 days was about to make for a wonderful nights sleep.

When Brittany woke me up the next day she said I was in the exact same position as I was when she turned off the light. It was the best nights sleep I'd had since last years trip. Even though we had 'lost' a nights sleep, we woke up feeling great. We went to breakfast and then we were back on the road. We picked up some Starbucks and headed south! We picked up this great radio station out of DC that was playing their Sunday morning 'acoustic sunrise' show and it was amazing. I felt so a peace, it was a beautiful day, we were feeling great and knew our pups were too!

Our windshield was NASTY!

It was about 5 hours until we were back in our hometown of Kingsport, TN. Our parents met us again outside of Pal's, our favorite fast food joint. This time we actually were able to visit for a while. We parked Big Green (Joan's name for our van!) and hopped in our Dad's car to go through the drive-thru. Pal's doesn't have seating so we found a shady spot and ate in Dad's car. We don't get to see our parents very often so it was such a treat, even if it was short. After about an hour we knew we had to get back on the road.

It was about 5 more hours to Birmingham and it just flew by. We pulled into town around 7:30 and decided to wait until Monday to take the van back to the shelter since it is about 45 minutes further away. We unpacked all our stuff and had a good laugh watching my dog go bananas over all the 'smells' on my clothes. I let him smell the van the next day and he didn't even make it past the bottom step of the van before he started drooling, I thought he was going to explode.

I can't believe that another trip is behind us. We can't thank you guys enough for all the prayers, donations (I'll do an expense breakdown later), and support. On a happy note, Joan went to visit the pups on Tuesday and two of them were on hold only an hour and a half after they had come out of quarantine! I REALLY hope we get some updates and photos from the shelters as the dogs get adopted and if/when we do I'll be sure to share them!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Part One

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!
Hello Everyone!

Brittany and I are back at work but still recouping from the trip. Hopefully I can pull our full recap together tonight. But, until then here is the super sweet post that our Northern (southern!) Angel Joan posted.