It was one of Katie’s biggest runs—nine dogs. All of the puppies needed to be transported from Phoenix to Minnesota to have a chance at finding forever homes.
For Katie, the VP of service transition with OneNeck IT Solutions—a TDS company—this was her third “puppy run.” In March she picked the dogs up at a shelter in Phoenix and prepared to get them to their midway destination. But, before beginning their trip, the nine puppies spent the night with Katie and her other four dogs.
“The puppies were in a shelter for strays and surrendered animals,” said Katie, who firmly believes every dog can be trained. As you can see by the picture, they are all small dogs. In fact, there’s a huge stray population in Phoenix according to Katie.
“Over 400 dogs are in the shelter and new ones come in every day,” said Katie. “There are lots of small dogs here, but not many in the shelters or rescue groups in Minnesota. And that’s where these puppies are headed for adoption.”
For the trip, Katie loaded the nine dogs (each in their own kennel) into her new Honda Pilot, purchased specifically to fit more kennels. This way, each puppy has their own space and she can take more dogs each trip. They departed promptly at noon on Friday and arrived in Wichita, Kansas, the halfway point, on Saturday at 6 a.m. There, they met up with the person that would transport them to Minnesota.
Once in Minnesota, the dogs were dropped off at Pet Haven and four other partner shelters to await adoption—and they didn’t have to wait long. Just a few weeks later, Katie had heard at least six of the dogs had been adopted.
“Dogs are my soft spot,” Katie added. “I started volunteering after I lost my beagle. I was looking for a new dog and went to the Phoenix shelter. I was totally overwhelmed by the number of small dogs looking for a family. I did a little research and found this opportunity where I could give a little bit of my time and it could greatly improve their chances of being adopted.”
In addition to her trip in March, Katie made two Puppy Runs in May and August 2014. In all, she’s transported 17 dogs and when asked if she plans to continue her response was “Absolutely! If Minnesota had space, I’d do it every month.”
Though the terms “puppies” and “dogs” are intermixed in this story, Katie says, “I refer to them as puppies, but they are really past the puppy stage of being easily adoptable, which is why we go to great lengths to help improve their odds of adoption.” In addition to transporting puppies, Katie also volunteers and contributes to the Arizona Beagle Rescue and Best Friends—Utah.
Update: When we spoke with Katie again just this week, she had picked up six more travel mates and hoped to double that number before she heads to Oklahoma City this weekend to meet her Minnesota counterpart.