Not everyone with a soft spot in their heart for abandoned animals has enough room in their lives to provide them a spot in their own home.
But anyone with a driver’s license can volunteer to drive those animals away from unwanted places to places where they have potential.
Liberty Ride Transport and the Ford County Humane Society both have opportunities for animal lovers to help without having to over-commit.
Dodge City High School teacher Lisa Deal is an enthusiast for the "Snoopy" species of dog, scientifically classified as the Dachshund. She and Melissa Rodriguez are two local "legs" in the tight-knit network of dog lovers that comprise Liberty Ride Transport, a Montana-based organization with a reach that extends as far south as Louisiana and Texas.
Volunteers drive to meet one another until the dogs complete their journey to the Denver Dachshund Rescue and Transport, in Colorado, where they will be seen by a veterinarian and put for adoption in a Dachshund rescue program.
"We help transport dogs to a better life," Rodriguez said.
"These are dogs who really need to be rescued and given a good home," Deal emphasized. "These are anything from owner-surrendered dogs to strays; underfed dogs to products of puppy mills; even suspected victims of possible dog fights.".
Deal started volunteering in 2014 and said the transport system is efficient and rewarding for both drivers and dogs. Dogs are either crated or tethered by a seatbelt through the collar, she said.
"My dogs and I love to listen to 80s music," Deal said. "I talk to them the whole time. It’s hard to let go of them because I can get really attached to during the trip. Sometimes it’s just their look, or their personality, especially when they look at you with their sad little eyes."
While Deal heralded the positive emotional impact volunteering her time has on her life, she emphasized the greater importance of what she is doing to literally save the lives of animals.
"The goal is not to want to keep the dogs, but to want the best for the dogs," she said.
Toni Meyers, director of the Ford County Humane Society, said the Happy Trails transport program needs six drivers for vans that also make round trips to Colorado shelters.
The program rehired over 1,500 animals in 2018.
"This is a great opportunity for retirees," Meyers said.
Each van can hold up to 20 animals at a time, and is not exclusive to dogs. All volunteers need is a valid driver’s license.
For more information, contact the Ford County Humane Society, 800 Avenue P, 620-225-1481 or visit its Facebook page.
Contact Deal at 620-968-7607 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Editor's Note: This story is part of the Good News Initiative where the Dodge City Daily Globe will be highlighting a positive news story daily, sponsored by First Dental of Dodge City.
To send inquiries of possible positive news stories, email managing editor Vincent Marshall at email@example.com