Rescue Run #1

In the spirit of National Dog Rescue Day, Dogs Colorado is excited to present Rescue Run #1. A behind-the-scenes tale of canine rescue and part of a three-part contribution by Jean Alfieri of Colorado Springs.

Rescue Run #1

Last week I had the opportunity to make a “rescue run” for the Pikes Peak Humane Society. (Yes – you can call me a “Rescue Ranger”! – Feels like that job should come with a super-hero cape, doesn’t it?!) Our Mission: to bring back 20 dogs from southern Colorado shelters to be adopted out in Colorado Spring. Here’s how it went …

I met Larry (“the cat guy”) in the parking lot of the Humane Society bright and early on Monday. We loaded the Rescue Rover with towels and our overnight bags, confirmed the “passengers” that we expected to pick up, checked our route, and hit the road to Durango. We only made it as far as Woodland Park when the transport van steered itself into the parking lot of the Donut Mill (a mandatory stop)! With the proper caffeine and sugar fix, we tried again. The miles flew and the stories flowed. Larry has been making this run (often by himself) for years. He is approaching his 100th run – and is closing in on 1,000 dogs transported! Oh, the stories he can tell!

We arrived in Durango mid-afternoon, parked the van and made sure we were prepped for the pick-up scheduled the next morning. We met for breakfast even brighter and earlier than the day before and were at the Durango Humane Society at 7:45am. We picked up dogs from there as well as from other transport vans, from two other locations. We garbbed up to load puppies first. Then the dogs. Most boarded very willingly. They were nervous, but who wouldn’t be? Just as everything seemed be going smoothly, we had a “pancake dog”.

A pancake dog lays as flat as a pancake and won’t move no matter how much coaxing and cooing is offered. They’re just too frightened to budge. This sweet little one was just staring up at us with big brown eyes. We moved around to maneuver her out of her kennel and I picked her up. Larry moved into the van to open the door and she pan-caked right back into her new space. She stayed in that position, not making a peep, the entire trip.

We traveled on to Pagosa Springs, where we expected to pick up four puppies. But one had been adopted out yesterday – Hurray!

Onward to Alamosa, where we picked up our last passengers. Cocoa, a beautiful (and feisty) black lab mix was happy enough to enter the van, but once in her kennel, she decided she wanted no part of it, and tried to escape. I could not close the door because she stuck her big paws out and she pushed – hard. With all 60 pounds of her lanky, squirming body (which felt more like 200 pounds!) she pushed and scrambled. I called to Larry for help. He’d already shared his story of the one that got away (a couple years ago). And although his story had a spectacularly happy ending, I didn’t want to repeat that ordeal. Larry moved quickly and asked the lady helping us to close the van door, just in case she broke free. Between the both of us, we were able to maneuver Cocoa back into the kennel and secure the door.

We were loaded up with 19 dogs and headed home! It was exhilarating! And you’d have thought we were royalty upon arriving back at the Colorado Springs Humane Society! A full team met us to help unload the dogs. They welcomed our new arrivals with smiles and pets and encouragement as they happily exited the van. 19 lives saved!

As we cleaned the van, Larry asked if it was what I expected. It was all of that and more. What an experience! Would I be interested in doing it again? – Are you kidding?! In a heartbeat!

Jean meeting Larry the Cat Guy for a rescue mission
Jean and Larry The Cat Guy

Are you feeling inspired to make a donation towards a rescue run? You can do so on the Pikes Peak Humane Societies’ website

The Rescue Rover