A new kind of underground railroad is shepherding dogs and cats rescued from U.S. shelters to safety and new families in Canada.
Every weekend, volunteer drivers load up their cars with furry refugees and cross the border, sometimes following the very same routes that once guided runaway slaves to freedom. Each driver handles a roughly hour-long leg, rendezvousing and transferring animals in parking lots and rest stops until they reach their destination.
One such network, Open Arms Pound Rescue, has moved an estimated 2,000 dogs (and a few cats) from shelters in the South and Midwest since it started in 2007. Co-founder Lucy Moye, based in Michigan, was working with a high-kill shelter in Ohio when she realized she could save a lot more dogs if she could match them with adoptive families and rescue groups in other areas.
Her inspiration was a little Manchester terrier called Kirby she saw at a Kentucky shelter on Petfinder.com. â€œHe was just the picture of misery, sitting there hunched up, looking like he didnâ€™t have a friend in the world,â€ Ms. Moye recalls. She sponsored the dog and helped find a home for it, later receiving a picture of Kirby running joyfully through a field with his new family.
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