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Adopting a dog from another state and hiring a transport company
When I first saw Georgia.
I had recently joined Facebook and was immediately mesmerized by the giantness of the internet world. I searched relentlessly for fascinating articles. I liked the idea of meeting people from all walks of life and around the world.
One day, from somewhere within a chain of coincidental events, a friend of a friend was posting to a Facebook page about a shelter in Georgia. There were hundreds of posts, all by strangers, who I only could read because of my connection to one person.
However, when I saw a certain picture of a dog in the shelter the post was referring to, something awoke inside. Bypassing the hundreds of responses and quickly sifting my way to the top again, I clicked on the photograph and it brought me yet to another page of someone else I didn't know. But there was another reference to the photo.
The dog was in a shelter that has to put dogs down after a certain amount of time if not adopted.
"WHAT?" I remember shouting out loud as if the entire facebook community posting that solemn day could hear me through my computer screen.
Typing as fast as I could, I remember rambling on and on to anyone that would listen. Hopefully my post would be heard through the midst of grieving animal lovers trying desperately to save that one dog from a dreadful fate.
I found the address of the shelter and picked up my phone. Dialing the number, not knowing if this was actually real or just an internet hoax, I heard on the other end, "Animal Control how may we direct your call?"
My first call to an animal control facility in another state.
Stunned that someone actually answered, I quickly stammered for the right words. "Um, yes, um, oh excuse me, I saw this beautiful black lab on this Facebook page, and it's probably just a joke. But do you have a small black dog in your facility that's scheduled to be put down at noon?"
As soon as I said that, I thought I would be hung up on.
To my surprise, the animal control officer responded with, "why yes, she is in kennel 6 and no one has showed interest in her. She will be put down at 12:00 p.m. today." It came as a natural statement because it happens frequently.
As the adrenal rushed through the coldness of my goosebumps at that moment, I responded, "please do not do that. You have no idea how long I've waited for a dog*. And you are telling me that no one has showed interest in her? Well I have! Can you hold the dog for me? I will fly down to get her!"
The animal control officer quickly realized I was most definitely out of my mind. She said, "I'm sorry but we do not adopt to out-of-state residents. You must have a rescue group adopt her from here and then get her from them."
That was the beginning of my journey.
*At the time I had no dogs.
How I found a rescue group on Facebook.
Desperate and yet at the same time bewildered, and perplexed at the immediately feeling of hopelessness. It would be impossible for me to find a rescue group. I didn't even know what a rescue group was! What is a rescue group, I frantically googled.
After reading 10 different definitions at various websites, I concluded it would be faster to post the question on Facebook. I started becoming friends with anyone associated with animal rights groups in desperation to find a rescue group within the next few minutes. How could I find a rescue group not even knowing what it was or how to go about finding them?
I couldn't find the original posts where I saw the dog's picture in the first place. It was as if it had vanished off of my computer history.
Then from somewhere, a post appeared on my Facebook page. It said to contact some group with a link to a private Facebook page.
I didn't hear back.
I thought it wasn't meant to be. I knew I had to do everything in my power to save that dog, even if it meant flying down and waiting at animal control until a rescue group wandered in!
By 11 a.m., I was sitting on the edge of my chair. I had a nauseating feeling wash over me. I felt so sick about this dog. My heart throbbed knowing she would never again feel the gentle pats from little children or enjoy a homemade treat baked with love.
I sat still, and started to cry. I was never one to give up easily or quit. My background had made me a strong, intelligent human and here I was diminished to a pile of sobbing mush over a dog I had never met thousands of miles away.
With the little knowledge I have about computers, I started searching at the speed of light to the original post with the little dog's picture. Fate knew I meant business that day. This has always been my experience.
When you put your mind to something and truly set your heart to seeing it through, you will most likely succeed through your endurance.
I found that page once again where the thread first brought me to a journey I never knew was in my path. It had become so large it was transferred to another discussion where I ultimately found the rescue group I had been searching for.
Little did I know, those tears I cried were not for nothing. A rescue group had been notified that someone was interested in the dog. They went to animal control and saved her within minutes of her execution.
An overwhelming feeling of despair lifted and the sun shone brighter that day then any before.
In this high-demand world where everyone wants everything right now, it doesn't work like that when you rescue a dog from another state.
After posting to Facebook that I had found the perfect dog and we were going to adopt her, someone from a group I friended informed me that they were against interstate transporting of animals because there were plenty of dogs in my own state that I could rescue.
I have to admit it knocked the wind out of my sails when I read the message. I was surprised to see someone opposed to someone reaching out to save a dog's life.
However, I have always found in my life that even bad things work together for good. Because of that post that I first perceived as negative, I adopted another dog from my own state too.
The best thing about this journey is the people I've met that appreciate animals as much as I do.
Adopting a pet from another state means a long waiting time. As I learned, dogs in the south have a higher rate of heartworm. Before the dog could be transported, she had to go through grueling veterinary tests and care. Little did I know how much we would all have to endure.
I never had experience with heartworm before. I grew up on a farm and we always gave our dogs a monthly prescription for heartworm.
After learning that the dog had heartworm, the rescue group quickly started some internet fundraising to raise money for treatment. This was something I couldn't have done on my own and was so thankful for the support and network they had established for dealing with unexpected medical issues in shelter dogs.
The good news was the heartworm had not damaged the dog's heart. The bad news was the dog would have to stay in a crate for a few months during treatments.
Before a rescue group can pull a dog from a shelter, they need volunteers to come forward to house the dogs. These volunteers provide foster homes for the dogs in between the time the dog comes out of the shelter and is transported to the new owner. This is true whether the dog is being adopted in or out-of-state.
Our foster home kept in regular contact with us through Facebook and posted updates and pictures so we could see the dog's progress.
Before a dog can be transported to another state, the rescue group has to get a vet to sign off on certain documentation.
State laws prohibit certain animals from being transported.
My state prohibits any animal coming in over state lines with heartworm. The laws were written recently to reduce the amount of animals that were coming up here on trailers with the intent to sell them to pet stores, increasing the risk of dogs here being exposed to the deadly worm.
Heartworm is not contagious from dog to dog per se. Heartworm is transferred by way of mosquito.
State laws outline rules and regulations of transporting animals over state lines through the State Department of Health which is publicly available for viewing your own laws in your state.
On the road to New York.
When the long-awaited day came that we were expecting Georgia, she had to be cleared of any heartworm by a vet's order. The rescue group also needed to secure documentation for my state to travel with her with the transportation company.
Next the challenge was finding a transport company that would travel from the south to the northeast.
We found one company who was coming up the following Saturday. Except that they would only come to the stops that had the most dogs being delivered. So despite having a stop near our home, we had to travel to New York to pick up our dog because no one else was having a dog delivered in our area that day.
It was well worth the drive!
Inter-state pet transport companies
What to do when you first meet your dog.
As we drove through to New York that morning, stopping for coffee and a bite to eat, my heart raced with anticipation.
I knew how much I loved the dog already without ever having met her. What would she think of me, I wondered?
Finally the moment arrived. I signed a quick release form and there she was.
You will need to bring a few items when picking up your dog from a transport company:
- car safe harness
Bring a leash, treats, and a toy to help your dog adjust.
Bring a car safe harness to secure your dog for the ride home.
First few things to do.
- As soon as you have the dog, make sure the collar fits and the dog can't wiggle from it.
- Leash the dog as soon as possible.
- Walk the dog. The dog will need to stretch and do their business.
- Offer the dog water.
- Pet the dog and introduce yourself to the dog. Talk to the dog.
- When you are comfortable, harness the dog in the car. Offer a treat and blanket for comfort.
- If the dog responds to toys, place a toy near the dog for additional comfort.
Offer your dog a treat before the car ride.
Once your dog relaxes, it's safe to start driving home.
Before bringing the dog to your home.
Before you bring the dog back to your home (unless the transport company delivers the dog to your door), here are some suggestions for helping the dog relax and get comfortable in your care:
- Drive to a beach and let the dog walk around. This will give you a sense of whether the dog likes water.
- Drive to a park and walk around. See how the dog responds to others.
- While you are driving, you will get a sense of how the dog reacts in the car.
I wouldn't suggest taking the dog to a dog park at this time because in most states you will need a dog license within 30 days of gaining ownership of your dog.
Introduce your dog to your yard. Let your other pets do the sniff test.
Introducing the dog to your home.
- If you have other animals in your home, it will be crucial that you allow the "sniff test" to happen before forcing the dog in your home as if they've always been there.
- Other dogs can have jealous tendencies are act nervous around dogs.
- The last thing you would want to encounter is a fight provoked by the newcomber unexpectedly.
- Unless the dogs seem to hit it off from the moment they meet, I'd advise to separate the dogs for a while before letting them be alone together. After all, we can't know what animals are thinking and sometimes a wagging tail doesn't mean the dog is happy.
- Dogs can also develop food or toy aggression when a new dog enters your home. Try to avoid feeding the dogs together and not in the same bowl!
Brownie had just had a tumor removed when we brought Georgia home.
I think she likes it here already!
What to have at home for your new dog.
- Purchase a dog bed and introduce it to the dog upon your arrival at home.
- Have new toys available for all of the dogs in your home to prevent rivalry.
- Have baby gates installed at hallways and stairs in case you need emergency management if dog jealousy develops. This will offer you an escape route to keep your dog safe before a fight ensues.
Most importantly, never turn your back on new dogs. While the new dog might be the sweetest and least concerning of them, other dogs may attack when you turn your back.
Make an appointment with a vet right away!
When adopting a dog from a rescue group, your dog will most likely be vaccinated.
However, especially when you are adopting a pet over state lines, each state has different laws.
Plus, you'll want to start your dog on flea control and heartworm medicine when she arrives. My vet's office will only dispense medications for dogs they've seen in their office.
Some towns give discounts for having your dog spayed or neutered. You will need a rabie's certificate and certificate of spay/neuter if you are seeking a discount that some towns offer off the annual dog license.
And finally, you will need to find out from your town how to license your dog.
I had to bring the rabie's certificate and certificate of spaying to the town. They provided a certificate and a small metal tag that hangs on the leash. The dog tag is issued yearly for a fee payable every June.
Best Friends! Resting from their walk together.
Georgia is such a fun-loving dog.
It took a lot of work and patience to adopt a dog from another state. But the way I look at it, we gained so much from the unconditional love that she gives our family.
Yes, it was worth it!