Nineteen puppies at the Southern Pines Animal Shelter were loaded aboard the Rescue Waggin Tuesday morning to begin their journey to their new forever homes in Wisconsin.
The Rescue Waggin is program run by Pet Smart Charities that transports animals from shelters where overcrowding exists to shelters in other parts of the country where they have a better chance at getting adopted. The Waggin runs along the East Coast, Midwest, Great Plains, and South Central States.
Southern Pines is one of 60 shelters that use the Rescue Waggin. Typically the Waggin comes to the shelter twice a month. In 2012 75 dogs and puppies were sent to other parts of the country from the shelter. Shelter manager Lara Hudson says that number could be larger if more members of the community would foster the animals until the Rescue Waggin comes to pick them up.
"Then we can take those animals on intake and immediately put them in foster care for a period of two weeks," said Hudson. "Then the foster family would just bring them back on the designated date for Rescue Waggin pick-up. We would provide the food, medication, anything the foster family might need to care for the animal. But we do need help from the community to continue doing this."
The Rescue Waggin program is a three-part program designed to help shelters save pet's lives. It includes the transport program, grants for spay and neuter expansion, and professional consultations and funding for enhanced operations and shelter improvements.
About another 20 puppies are scheduled to board the Waggin Thursday, Feb. 7 to go off to a shelter in another part of the country to be adopted.
Anyone interested in fostering an animal can contact the shelter at 601-544-6632.