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Operation Roger…Truckers Pet Transport

By Linda Cole

Where would we be without the dedicated truckers who move products and food all around the country? No matter where you live, trucks deliver anything and everything to communities and businesses. Operation Roger is a nonprofit organization made up of long haul and regional truckers who use their trucks to transport a very precious cargo – homeless pets – to new locations around the country.

America has always been a country made up of people with a “can do” spirit that never wavers. After Hurricane Katrina swept across the Gulf Coast in 2005 devastating the area, one pet loving trucker wanted to do something to help pets left homeless by Katrina. The only thing she could think of was to use her truck to help transport shelter pets from the area to give them a better chance of finding a new home.

Sue Wiese had the courage to go on a trucker's radio show to ask if any truck drivers would consider moving pets in their rigs to new locations across the country. She was surprised to discover that yes, they would. So on September 16, 2005, Operation Roger…Truckers Pet Transport was created. It's a nonprofit organization that moves shelter pets and pets from rescue groups to new homes no matter where they are.

Operation Roger is named after Sue's Manchester Terrier who passed away in 2005, just three months before Katrina hit. Roger was adopted from a shelter and enjoyed two years on the road with his human. Roger had been important to Sue and the more she thought about all of the pets that had been affected by Katrina, the more she knew something needed to be done to try and help shelter pets.

Operation Roger takes only one or two pets at a time in a truck, so that the driver can give them individual care and attention. People who moved to new areas of the country and had to leave a beloved pet behind can go to Operation Roger's website to request help in transporting their pet from their old home to the new one. Shelters and rescue groups can also find information on how to request transportation for their pets to new areas of the country.

How the program works is pretty simple. Operation Roger looks for a driver who will be driving straight through to a pet's new home. If a direct connection can't be found, then layover homes are used to give the pet a temporary foster home where they can wait for their next ride. Shuttle drivers are pet lovers who may not be able to house a pet in a foster home and instead volunteer to drive the pet on to their destination.

The goal of Operation Roger is to create a network of truckers nationwide who can help transport pets. They are always on the lookout for interested pet-loving truckers who would like to help out, and more temporary foster homes are needed for the pets who need a place to stay while waiting for their next ride. People who can use their own vehicles to drive shorter distances are also needed. Pilots are welcome to check their website for any pets they could fly across the country. I can't help but wonder what kind of a rescue transporting organization we could have in this country if Pilots N Paws and Operation Roger ever joined together. It would be an awesome system with one goal in mind: saving the lives of shelter and rescued pets all across the country.

In the almost six years since Operation Roger transported their first pet to a new home, they have moved 568 pets across the country. Rescue groups and shelters understand some pets may never find a home in certain areas of the country. The problem has always been how to get one pet, or a group of pets, from one part of the country to another part without requiring an individual to drive hundreds or thousands of miles just to relocate one pet.

With the help of nonprofit organizations like Operation Roger and Pilots N Paws, homeless pets have a much better chance of finding the loving home they deserve. These people have all stepped up to the plate to help make a difference to homeless pets in shelters. Visit Operation Roger's website if you or someone you know would like to help in their lifesaving mission. The next time you pass a truck, smile and give the driver a thumbs up – because they just might be transporting a pet to a new home.

Photo by Julia Manzerova

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