Sarge’s helps place dogs into loving homes outside Haywood, too

Volunteers are sought to help
Dec 24, 2013
Photo by: Michael Ritter photos A BIG PROGRAM WITH BIG REWARDS — Sarge’s is seeking more drivers and volunteers to help with the successful dog transport program, which drives dogs to northern partner animal groups where the need for animals is great.  Pictured above is Jim Ray, coordinator, going over the checklist with Debi Slater at Sarge’s. Below, Ray and his wife, Katie Ray, help load dogs to be transported for the Sarge’s transport program. Volunteers to help with the effort are sought.

Sarge’s transport effort is an essential part of the group’s mission to place Haywood County dogs into forever homes. In 2013, more than 300 dogs were moved from Waynesville to rescue partners in New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio and Georgia. In those areas, due to developed spay/neuter programs, there is more demand for dogs than are available locally; and the desire to adopt transported rescue animals has become part of the social fabric.

“The staffs at Sarge’s partner facilities are well-trained, efficient, caring and interested in the welfare of all the animals that arrive from Sarge’s,” said Jim Ray, Sarge’s vice president and head of the transport committee. “It is a win for our organization, a win for our partners, and above all, a new life for the animals and a joy for many families for years to come.”

There are many volunteers involved in the transport program. Ray coordinates the transport activities, working with the partners in arranging transport dates and selecting the dogs; scheduling drivers and other volunteers; ensuring all dogs get their “vet checks” (a medical checkup and certification from a local veterinarian) and ensuring all paperwork is completed.

The number of moving parts in the process is extensive and cannot be done without a huge volunteer effort in a number of areas.

Foster homes, particularly the families fostering puppies, are tremendously important to the transport effort. Other crews that work in medical, photography, data entry, and the folks that help with care at departure and at the medical checks, are all indispensible to the transport process.

But perhaps first and foremost are the long distance drivers. Mike Tuziw and Dan Alvarez are currently the “go to” drivers.

“These distance drivers are truly a special crew, tasked with piloting the van to partner locations and back, without stopping to sleep in most instances,” said Ray. “Getting some rest in a cargo van passenger seat counts for something, but I would put it somewhere below trying to sleep on an airplane.”

Though the transports are already a very significant part of Sarge’s ability to rescue our county’s animals, the transport effort is about to expand, and the need for volunteers will grow as well.

It was recently announced that a new partner in rescue in New Jersey, the Animal Welfare Association, has invited Sarge’s to send transports every two weeks.

“The folks at AWA were very impressed with the quality of the animals they received in our two November transports,” said Ray.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the homeless dogs of Haywood County, and we are determined to make it work.”

Given the increased transports, Ray is asking for more drivers to make the trip, and added the 10-hour destination isn't as distant as previous transports. Ray suggests that there may be a couple of friends or husband/wife team in the area who enjoy road trips and might wish to volunteer.

“If we can find a couple more teams to drive, we could space the trips for each team out a few weeks, and make it a great way to help with one of Sarge’s most important volunteer jobs. The reward really comes when our partners greet these transports with such enthusiasm, and work so hard to find these dogs great homes, most of the time in a matter of days.

“Sarge’s Transport is a big program with big rewards, made possible by a wonderful group of volunteers working hard to help our furry

friends, said Ray.

Volunteers are needed for all functions, but no long-term commitment is required.

“You’ll discover how rewarding this work is, and feel so good about helping to save the life of some of our Haywood  County animals,” said Ray.

The online application is at For more information, call 246-9050.




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