Rescue Myth vs. Fact: Rescue Relay transport isn’t effective

fact vs mythIf you’ve been in or around animal rescue for any period of time you’ve heard of rescue relay transport. Heck our good friends at built a whole custom software platform around helping to make this process efficient.  But if you ask many local animal shelter workers, you’ll still hear that rescue relay transport is not an effective or safe means to get animals to where they need to go.  They claim that there are not enough volunteers and that moving 1-2 dogs at a time does not help solve the issue.  Let’s evaluate this premise and see if it holds true.

Myth 1: There are not enough potential volunteers –

road trip, miles driven in the USThe US Department of Transportation released a study in 2017 that indicated people are driving more miles than ever before.  In fact, drivers in cars, trucks, minivans and SUVs put a record 3.22 trillion miles on the nation’s roads in 2016, up 2.8 percent from 3.1 trillion miles in 2015.  Numbers are hard to grasp so let’s make it easy for you.  A trillion is a 1 with 12 zeros after it so in one year Americans put 3,220,000,000,000 miles on the road.  Just imagine if every one of those cars and trucks was transporting a rescue animal.

Myth 2: Rescue relay transport is more stressful on the animals –

happy dog in car with ladyAhh the fall back plan for any animal shelter organization with a van.  Just state that the animals are more stressed when traveling relay style due to all of those people they meet.  Sadly, the only way to completely dispel this myth is by getting scientists involved to measure the animals cortisol levels at every step of the way and compare that to being in a crate in the back of a van with 35-40 other animals.  But our take is that animals on a rescue relay transport get many more opportunities to get out and stretch their legs, and they get lots of positive love and attention and excitement at each stage of the handoff from one relay driver to the next.  Definitely doesn’t sound like more stress to us.

Myth 3: Moving 1-2 dogs at a time is insignificant to solving the problem –

Ok we’ll yield a bit that if you only moved 1-2 dogs a week that the problem would take a long time to resolve.  But our estimates are that there are 500-600 rescue relay transports taking place each week in the United States alone.  And that doesn’t even take into account the one-way long distance transporters.  With the potential to get more people involved that number could be in the thousands of rescue relay transports, each carrying a few dogs to their destination.

So whether you think this one is myth or fact we want to make sure you keep the right perspective in mind.  Volunteers that participate in rescue relay transport are passionate about what they do and on the impact they are having on animals.  So why not support them and enable them and empower them even if you do not think it makes a difference.  As the story of the starfish goes, “it made a difference to that one.”

starfish quote