Posted by: twodogtales | June 15, 2015

A day in the life of a rescue transport

Up until a few weeks ago as a volunteer for Golden Retriever Rescue, Education and Training (GRREAT), I’d only done home visits. That’s where I go to a home where the family has applied to adopt a Golden, interview them, and observe how they interact with my dog.

But recently I volunteered to bring a rescue dog from the home giving her up to the foster home that will care for her until a permanent home is found—a “transport.”

To protect everyone’s privacy, I’m changing names and being vague on some details.

My duties involved contacting the give up family, known in rescue-speak as the “GU,” and the foster, and scheduling a mutually convenient time to move the dog, who I’ll call Ginger. Many transports involve long hauls across state lines, but this one took only about three hours total. Forty-five minutes from my home to the pickup, an hour to the foster, then forty-five back home.

The rescue was a middle-aged female Golden who was an absolute sweetheart. Nothing “problem” about her, just a string of irresponsible owners and unfortunate circumstances. She greeted me with a Hello Kitty doll in her mouth, tail wagging, a typical happy-go-lucky Golden.

Ginger’s last owner was not bad, just a sad situation. The GU had gotten her with the best intentions but it turned out a family member was severely allergic, both to the dog and the meds they tried to mitigate the reaction. She cried as she handed me the leash, and I wanted to hug her. But I settled for reassuring her she did the right thing by calling GRREAT, unlike the jerk she got Ginger from, who’d posted her on Craig’s List.

The GU handed over all the things they’d gotten for Ginger, her bed, bowls, toys, as well as medical records. I loaded them in the car, and Ginger happily climbed in the back seat. I texted the foster that we were on our way, and Ginger almost immediately fell into a deep sleep.

An hour later, we arrived at the foster home—although more than once during the trip, as I listened to her light snoring and glanced back at her angelic face, I wanted to just turn for home and keep her.

Her foster family, including a dog brother, gave her a huge welcome. They had a big yard and fully dog-friendly home, including a prime sofa perch in front of a picture window. I admit I hope they become “failed fosters,” which means they’ll fall in love and adopt her permanently.

I have an even higher level of appreciation for fosters now. It took me about 10 minutes to bond with Ginger, and my heart hurt seeing her little face peer out the storm door as I pulled away. But I know even just taking that three hours out of my weekend helped move a sweet dog closer to her forever home.

It takes all kinds of participation for a rescue operation to run successfully, so if you love dogs—and if you’re reading this blog, you do—reach out to a rescue and lend a hand. Whether you make a donation, help out at an adoption day, or spend a few hours as a dog taxi, it’s worth it.



  1. I love this story! I just contacted GRREAT last week about becoming a volunteer. I’m not sure I could do what you did- all of the goldens would end up back at my apartment with our own!

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