Twice a month, trucks line up next to an old Sears store in Central New York, filled with dogs for adoption who would have otherwise withered away on death row.
The scene is a barking, hugging chaotic mess when dog rescue organization Helping Hounds brings the dogs from kill shelters in Texas or Alabama to the northeast, where they’ll almost certainly be adopted, Syracuse.com reported.
Volunteers teared up on Saturday as 61 dogs were unloaded one-by-one from a P.A.W.S. pet transport truck.
But, they tears were happy ones. Several of the dogs are reserved by families before they even arrive, and almost half of the dogs were adopted into loving homes before the special pet truck pulled out of the empty parking lot.
The organization began in 2008 as an earnest quest to save a single beagle. Since then, the group has expanded significantly, and even managed to save 1,678 dogs in 2016.
Helping Hounds’ initiative is a popular one. On days when the trucks arrive, like Saturday, families line up for a chance to take home a rescue pup. Controlling the crowd has become such a necessity that the group recently invested in pagers, similar to the ones used in restaurants, to alert adopters when it’s time to take their pick.
Social media has helped fuel the volunteer group’s success in adopting out the dogs. Each dog is featured on the Helping Hounds Facebook page, where they are seen by more than 30,000 people. The group also posts photos of smiling families with their newest furry addition.
Helping Hounds also ensure that in cases of more difficult dogs – such as a terrier mix that would bite the butts of people who turned their backs toward her – the pups go to foster homes with a trainer to break the bad habit that would have otherwise been a death sentence.
The average length of stay for each dog is 10 days. On Monday, only 11 of the 61 dogs brought from the South still needed homes.