In Salem, they're saving Florida shelter dogs by the truckload
With Coco, a two-year-old Chihuahua clutched to her chest, Melissa Sorokin, a transport driver with the Miami-based Dogs on The Move program, prepares to unload her precious cargo of 15 Florida shelter dogs outside the Salem Animal Rescue League Thursday afternoon. Dogs on The Move works closely with Miami Dade Animal Shelter to pull animals from the high-kill public dog pound and transport them to shelters in the North. (APRIL GUILMET PHOTO)
A former resident of the Miami Dade Animal Shelter, the 3-year-old basset hound mix had been overlooked by potential adopters and was just days away from being euthanized.
With Dogs On The Move workers Melissa Sorokin and Sabret Sordo taking turns behind the wheel, the barking busload pulled into the parking lot of Salem Animal Rescue League late Thursday afternoon.
Fifteen of the dogs now await their new home at the Salem shelter, with the remaining dogs brought to the Nashua Humane Society and other area rescue organizations.
Within moments after stepping out of their vans and into the crisp November air, each dog was taken on a much-needed walk by the dozen or so awaiting Salem Animal Rescue League staffers and volunteers.
Elisabeth Shuter, rescue league transport coordinator, said she works closely with Sorokin to select dogs that she feels are most likely to get adopted in New Hampshire.
Shuter said she leans towards younger dogs, as many potential adopters find them easier to train. While some of the Florida dogs have had minor medical problems in the past, all must be relatively healthy prior to being placed in their new homes.
Sordo wiped away a tear as she placed Skip, a 1-year-old terrier mix, into Shuter's waiting arms.
Sorokin said that partnerships with Salem Animal Rescue League and other participating shelters have saved countless critters over the past several years.
Today, thanks to the success of the Dogs On The Move program, the shelter has a 30-percent euthanasia rate — still far from ideal, but impressive progress nonetheless, considering the fact that between 40 to 60 pets are deposited at the Florida shelter every day.
Two more shipments of Florida dogs are due to arrive in Salem next month, though space availability will ultimately dictate how many are accommodated.
For more information on adopting a new family member, visit http://www.sarlnh.org.
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