All tips are reprinted with permission. If you have any to add, please contact us. Feel free to jump in with any new ideas.
from Linda Crowley, Fantasy Forest Kennels, Taylor Valley, NY:
- DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING! If you are planning on transporting the dogs in crates, ask how big the dogs are.
- These are not your dogs. Do not trust that they will behave as nicely as your dogs. They may refuse to go in the crate, they may be fearful of riding in the car, they may not accept you taking any liberties such as grabbing a collar.
- Do not assume the dogs are leash trained. Do not assume they will come with collars and leashes. Do not assume the collars they have on will fit right.
- Do not assume they will stay in your fence, or crate if you have to house them overnight. Likewise, don't assume they can be chained out, or will stay quietly in the house/garage. You must be prepared to be flexible.
- Do not assume your own friendly firkins will accept the intrusion of a strange dog, even if they were fine with it last week.
- If you are transporting more than one dog, do not assume that they will be happy in each other's company - especially if you are trying to drive with them loose in the back of the car together.
For those involved in making the arrangements:
- People generally have time or money to offer, but not both. If someone volunteers their time, someone else might volunteer to contribute some gas money.
- Transfer points must be clear. Two directionally impaired people who don't know each other, meeting someplace on a road neither has been on, with no clearly defined meeting point, is a recipe for disaster.
- Make sure everyone is reading from the same map. A couple of years ago I planned on meeting a person at "the rest site after the bridge, before the city" Neither of us realized their were two different stops, one which was on my map, the other on his. After 3 hours of waiting, we each returned from our 200 mile drives frustrated and upset with the other person. We had to try again with different directions.
- Consider sending each dog with a folder of his own information including a "log sheet". I want to know when I transport a dog when he was last fed, if he drank enough water, if he is relieving himself properly, that sort of thing. And talking of food, how much of what kind of food and when? Is the dog traveling to an adoptive home or a foster? If someone along the way shows a decided interest in the dog, should I tell them he's available, that they need to contact (who?), or that he's taken.
- Drivers might consider using a cell phone. If you discover your directions weren't as good as you thought, if there is an unexpected detour or delay, it would be very helpful to be able to contact the driver of the next leg, even if they are already enroute. BTW, whom should I contact if something does go drastically wrong? (Something else for the dog's information packet.
from Mary Ann Nastro:
Having just been the lucky recipient of the generosity of people transporting my Sammy from Chicago to St. Louis, there are a few points I would like to add.
When I knew that Sammy was coming, I bought a leash, collar, and had tags made for the journey. One tag had his name, my address and phone number. Another had his name and my parent's phone number - afterall, I was on the road to get him! The other had his name, Orphans of the Storm (where he originated) and their phone number. You can get these tags made on the spot at Petsmart. I also wrote his name and my parents and Orphans of the Storm phone numbers on his collar with permanent ink. I then overnighted the package to the shelter and followed up with a phone call to make sure they received it and followed the instructions.
from Meg Imbriale:
- Carry enough water and bowls for the distance.
- Don't think that the trip is going to take the same length of time it would if you weren't traveling with a rescue. A 4-hour trip to MA from NJ took six hours due to all of us getting used to each other and the weather (it was rainy and foggy).
- Carry cleaning supplies - paper towels, a disinfectant, a small bucket, plastic garbage bags. Nothing worse than traveling in a vehicle in which a dog has gotten sick or had an accident.
- DON'T ASSUME that the 55lb rescue is going to jump into your vehicle. You might have to lift the dog up. I was very glad my kneecap didn't decide to dislocate again at the rest area somewhere in Connecticut.
from Karen Sorrell:
A few things on transport for those of you who might not be familiar with it:
- bring water, lots of blankets, baby wipes, paper towels, "doggy" towels, plastic bags (trash or grocery type), collars, leashes.
- You'll need water for several things: for the dog(s) to drink, to clean up messes and to wash your hands. Baby wipes are great to clean up all kinds of messes.
- Blankets are great to cover car seats. If you are transporting a dog loose, line your car seats with trash bags or some sort of plastic, tape it down, then put blankets over your seats.
- Paper towels, doggy towels and plastic bags are great for cleaning up barf, poop, etc. Been there, done that!
- Collars and leashes are obviously needed for potty breaks. However, if you are transporting loose, I know a lot of people leash the dog, using a flat buckle collar, and tie the leash to one of the "Oh God" bars. It helps restrict movement. Oh, and 60 pounds of Siberian in your lap at 70 mph is not conducive to driving. I learned that one a while ago.
- If you are transporting more than one dog, especially if it's a pregnant or in-heat bitch, please do your best to crate them. A dog fight at 70 mph is NOT fun. Yep, been there and done that one, too. If you are crating, but have a wire crate, again put plastic down, then blankets on your car, then the crate on top of that. Diarrhea and barf can travel far through wire crates. Yeah, yeah, done that one too. ;>