Tupelo pups head to Packer land

TUPELO – Two dozen pound pups were spared from an uncertain future Tuesday and whisked to Wisconsin, where they’ll find forever homes.
PetSmart Charities’ Rescue Waggin’ collected the pups from the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society and loaded them into a specially designed truck for the two-day trek. They’re expected to arrive in Milwaukee this evening, and each has a guaranteed adoption.
“All of those dogs will find homes, probably within 24 hours,” said Angela Speed, Wisconsin Humane Society spokeswoman. “We’re really lucky. We have 100 percent of our adoptable animals find homes.”
TLHS worked about one year to gain entry into the Rescue Waggin’ program, which takes dogs from high-euthanasia shelters and sends them to low-euthanasia shelters. About 75 percent of all animals taken to the Tupelo shelter are euthanized.
Since the program launched five years ago, more than 30,000 pets have found homes, according to PetSmart Charities.
“It’s a godsend,” said TLHS Director Debbie Hood. “Any time we can get out 25 animals to good homes it’s very helpful.”
Tuesday’s pickup was the second since Tupelo joined the program. The first was in May. Typically, the Rescue Waggin’ makes monthly trips to its participating shelters, but the program was temporarily halted in the south-central region because of logistics. It relaunched in September.
Now that the trips are back on track, an estimated 400 Tupelo dogs could be saved annually.
But it’s a long process for both the shelter and the pups, said Colleen Conway, senior animal transport coordinator for the south-central region.
“It’s a lot of work for the shelter to get in the program, stay in the program and get the dogs ready,” she said. “They have to do behavior assessments on any dog over six months.”
The dogs selected for this week’s shipment – 23 puppies and one small adult – also underwent veterinary exams. But Conway still checked each one for hair loss, pale gums, dehydration, fleas, ticks and behavioral issues before tagging them and putting them on the truck.
After Tupelo, Conway and lead driver Jason Patzer picked up an additional 11 dogs from the Oktibbeha County Humane Society before heading north.
“We’re saving lives,” Patzer said, “one truckload at a time.”
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.

Foster a dog
The Tupelo-Lee Humane Society needs families to foster dogs selected for the PetSmart Charities Rescue Waggin’. The dogs need housing for two weeks before being picked up by the program and taken to permanent homes.
For information, visit www.tupeloleehumane.org or call (662) 841-6500.

Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal