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Danica was my first transport

The day started at 4:15 am. This is not unusual for me, as I am an early riser (yes I don’t use any alarm and still get up 4-ish in the mornings.) I have just moved back to the east coast from California. I was excited about today because it wasn’t just a regular Saturday for me; it was my first transport activity with networking website.
Rescues and Shelters look for volunteers continually for all sorts of aide: From dog walkers, to pilots & drivers who can transport animals to their fur-ever and/or foster homes. Transport requests are initiated by a rescue organization on, they often span over multiple states, and through Chris’s “SME-pertise”, his site emails notifications routed to volunteers according to their locations (the drivers and pilots have a profile on the site with their geographical data), then volunteers sign up for different “legs” of the transport. Maybe driving a 60 mile leg, or the like, and then handing off the precious cargo to the next volunteer along the way. And yes, they also have pilots (Chris himself is one!), who also participate.

Today was my first experience joining a transport team. This one was made up of 12 legs bringing the beautiful Danica from Fredericksburg, VA at her Foster Mom Karen’s out to her fur-ever home in Belleville, Illinois. The trip planned would be a pretty long 17/18 ish hour travel time for little Danica.

I received the confirmation email from the Hosting Shelter:, with all the legs and contact information a few days before hand. Yaye! It was a go! I had contacted both people I was interacting with; both the place of pick up and the place of hand off, to introduce myself make sure I had all my details correct, times, places, names, etc.

I headed out just after 5 am. Still dark out, you should have seen the moon; huge, full, and in a perfectly clear sky. It was setting as I made my way to pick up Danica, all along the hi-way ride, it lowered and began to glow that gorgeous and mysterious yellow, the color deepening as it set over the horizon. I marveled at The Wonderful Creator. I arrived to Karen’s early, as is my usual MO. I met Danica, and immediately fell in love! She was very nervous of a newcomer coming into her presence, and so frail. I still tear up thinking how Danica is finally headed towards the fur-ever home she so deserves, and that I am a part of helping get her there. Karen chided that it would be difficult to “pass Danica off” to the next volunteer because she was such a love, and I might want to take her home myself! Haha (she certainly called that one right!) I made extra sure I had the proper papers with Danica for her trip, and after some photos, scooped up that adorable Pointer, as she was shaking, gave her some hugs and gently got her settled on the front seat of my Jeep. I had water, water bowl, blanket, leash, collar, chew bone, and of course, some treats! I had already checked with the Foster Mom to see whether I needed a transport crate or not.
So, Danica, Karen, and I notified the group we were on the way north to leg two. About ½ way, I texted the woman participating in the 2nd leg. Now this part was funny because I was driving, so I used the recording feature to speak my text message to her. And boy did Siri hack up that transmission. So poor Caylee received a weird text calling her “Katie” and calling me “Joe”. So not only were other words garbled, but now she is wondering what unknown guy is texting her a weird message early on a Saturday morning. My name is Jo Lynn, (female) and cell phones always type Joe, like the male version of the name. So, thankfully she guessed what I was trying to do, and we had a chuckle.

Danica was incredibly easy during the ride, shaking a little at the start, but then curled up on the blanket on the front seat, and enjoyed me petting her and doting on her the whole way. We arrived at the meeting point, and I took Danica out for a walk, and any other refreshing she may need, and found she was very uncomfortable out in the open parking lot, and she kind of scurried us to a doorway nearby and kind of leaned up against the wall there. My heart went out to her, realizing her discomfort at not being nestled and protected in some form. I realized she may not go potty, so scooped her up hugged her for quite a while, and then rested her back in the front seat. She didn’t drink water, and didn’t take the treat right away, but I guess once she regained assurance of safety again on the seat of the car, me sitting with her, she reached around for the treat and gingerly crunched on it. No water though. I spent the next 10-15 minutes taking tons of pix. Selfies with my cell phone and more portrait type shots with my DSLR camera. If you ever get to be the first leg of the trip, it’s a great spot to have; because I think you have more “free time” than the rest of the leggers. Caylee arrived, we exchanged papers, I told her a few things from my short time with Danica, then brought her out and Caylee and I took some pix of the 3 of us together (again with my selfie stick). Caylee then got Danica all set for her second ride, I waved them goodbye with a happy heart.

What a fabulous morning I had. I truly look forward to the next time I can participate in a transport. I am a professional photographer as well, and also have a photographer’s profile on Chris once suggested it may be real nice to have the photographer volunteers be at hand-off’s to photograph the event. I can certainly appreciate that (being a photographer) because I was unable to use my DSLR for any group pix, nor candid’s of all the interactions, while being a transporter at the same time. I would easily capture great shots if I was just in the role as the photographer, photographing the others. Chris, if you’re reading this, I would love to reach out to the transport coordinators (TC’s) when I receive notices, to ask if they would mind me going to one or more of the transports in my area to photograph the exchange(s). I truly can’t see them saying no, but I would want all of the stakeholders to be aware that I would be there and in what capacity.

Hats off to Chris and his wife Daphne, who found it in their hearts to design, a tool which brings both sides of the teams together: The Shelters who need volunteers, and the volunteers who love to work with rescues to saves pets lives’.


Jo Lynn Kelley

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