If you pass an 18-wheeler on the highway and spot a furry passenger in the cab with the driver, you may have just seen one of the coolest dog transport / rescue organizations ever. It’s called Operation Roger Truckers Pet Transport and it’s saving lives as the self-proclaimed “rag tag group of 30 pet-loving truckers” transport lucky pets to their forever homes.
Animal transport can be prohibitively expensive, costing up to $1000 or more, so when a rescued or shelter dog has a promised home across the country, it can be difficult to save its life unless funds can be raised. Enter the brainchild of trucker Sue Wiese, who started the organization in 2005 after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Many families had to leave the areas without their pets and getting them back together later was a challenge. Wiese had the idea of letting pets hitch a ride with truckers and Operation Roger was born.
The truckers are all volunteers who love animals and also get to enjoy their company along the way. One trucker, Sean Kiel, says, “We’re truckers. We don’t have time to volunteer at anything else, really, so what we do is help animals. It’s a very, very cool feeling”. Operation Roger truckers keep the animals with them in the cab, giving them lots of TLC and often sleeping with them.
Animals transported are mostly dogs but include cats, ferrets, rats, hamsters and chinchillas. The pets are in need of transport for a number of reasons including being lost, rescued, abandoned, abused, or from a puppy mill or shelter. Often they are ‘death row dogs’ on their way to another state where someone has stepped up and offered a loving forever home. Ideally, one trucker transports them the entire way if his or her route allows but often it’s a tag-team effort of a few truckers to get the pet where it needs to go.
Operation Roger is named after Wiese’s late dog and the organization has transported over 885 animals into loving arms. They are always looking for more truckers to volunteer and those in need of animal transport can fill out an application at their website. There is a fee of just $40. Donations are always greatly appreciated, and you can donate ‘one transport’ at this link.
Kiel recalls his first transport of a Bishon Frise rescued from a Nebraska puppy mill. In California, the dog’s new owner wept with joy when he arrived and Kiel thought, “Wow, I did something that really meant a lot to somebody else”.
Amen, brothers of the highway….keep on truckin’!
To learn more about Operation Roger, to volunteer, donate, or seek transport for an animal, click here.
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Remember to always adopt, spay / neuter, tag / microchip, and love your pets for life!