• Coalition for LGD

The "Freedom Ride"

Updated: Mar 19

We'd like to introduce you to Anna and tell you a little bit about this incredible human being. Anna has been with her high school sweetheart, Jeff, for 36 years and has four children and 3 grandchildren. Both Anna and Jeff have a combined 20 years of service in the United States Air Force protecting our country. Anna is a licensed Radiological Technologist and when she's not working, she loves to spend time with her family going camping, hiking, and fishing. She also enjoys running 5k and Half Marathons and loves traveling to run races and explore new places. Are you already exhausted just reading about what this woman does? Well, in her free time, she does even more!

Anna is a transporter. Anna started doing transports in the Fall of 2019. She was scrolling through Facebook and noticed some sites that talked about volunteering to transport animals of all kinds. Anna saw that there were so many animals in need and said "I just wanted to do whatever I could do to help them out. I love dogs and I thought why not help out when I have some time off, so I did." Her very first transport was a small female Pitbull named Spring who was coming in on a load from Stockton CA. Anna met the transport in Idaho and took Spring to her foster home in Montana. Anna transports for dozens of rescues and shelters and has traveled thousands of miles and has given hundreds of dogs their ride to freedom.

Anna brings Jeff, her husband, along quite often. Anna adds, "When I told him about the very first transport that I had set up, from Blackfoot, Idaho to Missoula Montana, he told me that sounds like a date. He said let’s just get a room in Missoula and make a trip out of it! So that’s what we did, we stayed in Missoula and found a nice little Irish Pub and had a nice night together after we dropped cute little Spring off. We both love animals and Jeff is always my co-pilot if we have the day off together. We love transporting together and the dogs are such good therapy, all they want is love, a good belly rub, and treats. Some can be stressed and you have to take your time and give them space, but they all are so full of love. We fall in love over and over with every transport! We are always saying if we didn’t have five

dogs already, we could take this one home with us too!"

Anna's most memorable Great Pyrenees transport was a Pyr who she named Sampson, who was rescued from a very bad situation where he lived a life chained up and outside with very little shelter, water, or food. Anna recalls, "When I went to walk Sampson his back legs would give way, now and then, like he had no strength or muscle tone. He could not jump up or climb stairs very well so I loaded him up into the back of my car and I could feel all the bones in his legs and hips, he was definitely malnourished. I should not have been able to just lift a full-grown Great Pyrenees up so easy, but he was so light." Anna offered to foster Samson for the night and get him groomed while he awaited his appointment with a vet. Anna adds, "We brought Sampson home and let him walk the back yard, he just walked all over in the grass. We fed him some high-fat food and he loved it. He was really good with my other dogs, just a "pyrfect" gentle giant. He loved laying on my kitchen floor and I wondered if he had ever been in a house before. I don’t understand why you would want a dog to chain it up and not show it love and let it run and play. What kind of life this boy should have had, and he didn’t get to experience any of it. We took Sampson to get his shots and to be checked out by a vet, and also to be groomed. We bought him a beautiful blue collar with Mountains on it and it looked so good on him. He was so handsome after he was groomed, he had a mane like a white lion and I fell in love with his eyes. He deserved so much more in life than what he got and the way he lived. That weekend we transported him to the vet office of the rescue where he was going to be looked over and have his neuter. We had to make a few stops along the way for the old boy. He had a few accidents along the way and let’s just say that my rubber gloves, clorox wipes, trash bags, paper towels, and febreeze came in handy." Anna will never forget that trip and every time she passes a “Sampson Stop” on that particular route of transport, she thinks of him and his eyes. The screen saver picture on her phone is a picture of Samson and her together the day she rescued him and in her heart, it will always be that Samson rescued her.

We asked Anna what advice she had for folks who are new to transporting. "Transporting is a great way to help out the animals in need and it is very rewarding. Once you do your first transport and feel the way it makes your heart all warm and fuzzy, you will be hooked. I believe you learn a little more with each transport that you take. I always have bags ready and filled with slip leads, collars, and leashes. I always carry cleaning supplies, garbage bags, doggy poop bags, water and watering bowls, febreeze and lysol spray, dog treats, and dog food. Car seat covers are another item that are wonderful because dogs shed and you will get hair everywhere, especially LGD’s," Anna replied.

We asked Anna if she had any final thoughts. She said, "I love transporting and all the people I have met through transporting. I love to be like the Grandma to all the dogs, I get to love them and send them on their way to a new life and a new home. It’s like speed dating, you meet them, you fall in love, and you leave them, but we always know that they are going to a better place and we hope for soft landings."

Thank you, Anna and Jeff, for your service to our country, your front-line service as a health care professional, and for your dedication to animals everywhere!

This blog is dedicated to transporters who assist homeless animals in need by transporting them from the shelter to a foster or from the rescue to an adoptive home (known as the "Freedom Ride"). Many homeless dogs (and cats, rabbits, pigs, reptiles, and more) rely on transporters to be those caring hands that safely get them on their way to a new and better life.

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