It started with an idea, as most things do.
“Could we actually drive a van load of dogs up to the Portland area for an adoption event?”
We contacted our friends at Mila’s Mutts, a rescue organization in southern Washington state who have been doing events for years. We were looking for tips on how to hold an event up there. What we got was so much more. Not only advice but an offer to sponsor 2 events for us. They were going to handle getting venues lined up, organizing supplies, and finding foster families for the dogs we wanted to bring.
If we could collectively pull this off, it could be a game-changer for our organizations.
Preparing the dogs
Ensuring that the dogs were able to withstand 4 long driving days in their crates was crucial to the success of this mission. The dogs needed to be comfortable in their crates and handled by someone other than their rescuers. They had to be friendly with people they didn’t know so they would be successful in finding a forever family.
Rescatistas brought their dogs to the Malecon on Wednesdays and Fridays and we traded walking each other’s dogs. Volunteers came out to help which simulated the event and showed us how the dogs would do when a potential adopter wanted to walk them.
Just before the trip, we did a farewell video. We all felt a lump in our throat at saying goodbye. Many of the dogs we were taking had been fostered for over a year — one dog for over 3 years. It was bittersweet – we knew we had done our part to prepare them for success. At the same time, that intense preparation caused us to bond even tighter with our rescued pups.
Three of our dogs got adopted before the event and were lucky enough to catch direct flights up. The other 11 made the trip in the van. Below are photos of the dogs as we departed La Paz, our dogs at the airport making their journey that way, and photos during the drive north. We encountered snow in the Siskiyou Pass in southern Oregon and extremely cold weather for this time of year during the events. We had a minor problem with the transmission that slowed down our return and caused us a bit of a scare – but in spite of it all, this was a great success thanks to all who supported us.
We began receiving applications for dogs prior to the events which helped speed up the adoption process so that many people just needed a meet and greet at the event to make a final decision.
Despite colder than normal weather and holding the events on Easter weekend, the people who attended were ready for a new dog in their life. Former adopters stopped by to say hello, cheer us on, and even volunteer to help. We had family members and friends come out and lend us winter clothes which made each day more bearable for us who don’t even own clothes for such weather.
Of the 14 dogs who made the trip, we have 10 adopted, 3 in foster care in the Portland area, all of which have applications, and are getting ready to do a meet and greet with potential adopters. One dog made the trip back with us. This result is in large part due to the dedication and hard work of the Mila’s Mutts amazing team of volunteers, our Hope 4 La Pawz volunteers who made the journey, and the rescuers who worked to rescue and prepare their dogs for adoption. It is amazing how much we accomplished in just 7 days by all of us pulling in the same direction.
Our generous donors helped to cover some of the rising cost of gas. Other volunteers made the drive to deliver much-needed crates for the trip back to La Paz. We were able to bring supplies back for Mila’s — just one small way we could show our appreciation to this great organization.
Mila’s Mutts has been mentioned several times in this post because of the great help this organization has been to us in the past year and especially for this event. We witnessed just how much good can be done when organizations collaborate for a common cause and selflessly help each other. The impact is so much greater than going it alone. Thanks to everyone for making this event a success.