To dog star rescue, Clear the Shelters takes on more than one meaning. Volunteers not only work tirelessly to find the dogs already in their loving home in Bloomfield, but they also take long road trips to southern states, get dogs out of crowded shelters and bring them to Connecticut.
It’s thanks to the Bark Bus. The wheels of this bus have traveled hundreds of miles, making multiple trips in North and South Carolina.
“We visit kill shelters there to bring home dogs that would otherwise be euthanized,” said Mark Rowley, Bark Bus driver for Dog Star Rescue.
“There is a huge need,” added Angelo Casa Grande, Bark Bus driver for Dog Foster Parent.
Two buses have two small names: Betty and Thomas. Thomas needs a little engine before hitting the road, but Betty made her maiden voyage in the spring of 2021 and has brought back dozens of dogs since.
Rowley is one of three volunteers who left Thursday for the final trip to the Carolinas. Betty the Bark Bus was loaded with supplies on the way down.
“We can help the shelters we visit,” Rowley said.
On the way back they transported the bus which will arrive on Saturday.
“It’s an incredible feeling. Our transport team is always there waiting for the morning,” said Veronica Beaupre, Director of Adoption Events at Dog Star Rescue. “We had several adoptions of these dogs the same day. So, you know, they commute from the Carolinas, drive 20 hours, and then they’re adopted into their forever home.
“Betty has the capacity to transport 28 dogs. Volunteers say that when all of these dogs are moved to Connecticut, it frees up spaces in southern shelters for other dogs.
“Our particular bailout model is really based on the supply and demand imbalance that we see between the South and the North,” Veronica Beaupre said. “Here there are a lot of people they want to adopt. They have the resources to support a pet, and down south we see a bit of the opposite. There are just more dogs than they can handle. manage it.
The effort saves lives, like that of Monte, a black lab mix encouraged by Dog Star Rescue.
“He’s about 13 months old, loves playing with other dogs, loves people,” said Casa Grande, Monte’s adoptive father.
And Monte loves the Bark Bus, taking the opportunity to board for fun when the bus was parked outside the rescue organization. However, he ended up at Dog Star Rescue after another group transported him from Mississippi.
Volunteers say there’s a huge need for the partnerships the nonprofit has built with out-of-state shelters.
“Dogs can’t help themselves. Dogs cannot speak for themselves. He is doing our part,” Casa Grande said.
Time and again they see the proof that bringing home a rescue can change a dog’s life,” Beaupre said.
It can and will change the life of a pet parent.
“They are great dogs, and through no fault of their own, they were put in situations that were really not good to begin with,” Casa Grande said. “It’s amazing the resilience of these dogs, and just the reservoir of love they have.”
The Bark Bus is also used for local transportation and at offsite adoption events.