For those who follow animal rescue feeds on Facebook, the story isn’t unusual. A woman posts a picture of a sweet looking Lab who is in a high-kill shelter in South Carolina and is days away from being euthanized. A Facebook friend steps up and agrees to rescue the dog . . . but she lives in Boston, MA . . . now what?
For many animal rescuers, transporting animals out of danger can be as difficult as getting them out of harms way in the first place. That’s where Operation Roger steps in. This “rag-tag group of pet-loving truckers,” transports animals across the country’s truck routes away from high kill shelters and into the loving arms of rescues or people willing to adopt them.
According to the group’s website, their mission involves a small band of volunteer drivers who allow companion animals to catch a ride in the cabs of the big rigs and get “a lot of TLC enroute.” Since the group began in 2005 they have transported more than 700 pets.
The transport works by a choreographed set of moves from all involved. Someone who has a dog that needs to be delivered will contact the group and arrange to meet a driver at a rest stop or travel plaza where the pup is then picked up and delivered to his destination city where the driver again will meet the recipient at a regular route stop. The website makes it clear that this is not a taxi service — no door-to-door service is available. They are also very clear that they transport rescue animals only, they do not transport for shows or breeders.
The organization was started by a truck driver Sue Wiese when she was looking for a way to help abandoned animals after Hurricane Katrina. Now retired, Wiese told NBC News that she called a popular radio talk show and said she wanted help transporting animals from that disaster. Following her on-air plea, she received a dozen calls from truckers who wanted to help and Operation Roger was born.
Operation Roger would love to expand its network and has a call out for more truck drivers to take part. Don’t drive but want to help? They also need shuttle drivers and temporary layover foster homes as well. To learn more, offer a donation or sign up as a volunteer, visit their website at OperationRoger.com or email OperationRoger01@yahoo.com.
Oh, and that Lab we mentioned at the beginning of the story? Operation Roger driver Mark O. gave that little dog a ride all the way to Boston where he is now in is happy, forever home.