Saving homeless animals takes a village. And dedication. And plenty of gas.
Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue (CAAR) out of western North Carolina was originally founded as a transport group. They pull animals from overpopulated and high-kill shelters and transport them to areas where volunteers are certain the pets will not only be safe from euthanization, they will also most certainly find wonderful forever homes.
“We felt like we could save so many more animals if we were able to transport them to other like-minded rescues in the northeast where the numbers of adoptable animals are fewer,” said Charlie’s Angels board member, and one of the transport team leaders, Holly Jones.
Charlie’s Angels volunteers began their lifesaving work in 2009 and the group received its 501(c)3 status the following year.
“We were the first rescue in Western North Carolina to have a transport program,” explained Holly. “Later, because we were so successful, we were asked to train other much larger rescues in our area on the benefits of transporting. Now, many of those local rescues and others transport for the specific reason that so many more lives can be saved through transporting! We work with a number of awesome rescues in the Northeast. These rescues have been completely vetted by us and share our rescue values.”
Getting the animals to those rescues in the Northeast is where the village comes in.
“We would not be able to accomplish ANY of our transport work without our transport team,” said Holly. “These individuals work countless hours; daily, weekly, and monthly. We are all volunteers; several of us also have full time jobs and families. We are complemented by a handful of volunteer local transporters who bring animals to us from the shelters outside our local vicinity and who help us with the health certificates that we have to obtain every week for any animal heading north on transport. These volunteers are essential to our success.”
It’s a fine-tuned operation with everyone pitching in in various ways. Many of the animals Charlie’s Angels rescues come from shelters outside the CAAR vicinity of Fletcher, NC.
“This also is very time consuming,” said Holly. “Several of our volunteers spend numerous hours each week visiting the 2 local shelters, assessing and photographing the animals so we can send the photos and bios to our northern rescue partners. Once our partners receive this information by email, they choose the ones they feel they will be able to adopt out in their area.”
A lot of this is accomplished through social media. It requires diligence and a genuine concern for the pups and kitties in the pics.
“Our rescue partners also tag us in animal pictures on Facebook,” said Holly. “This is accomplished by going to the different shelter websites and choosing by photo and bio the ones they would like for us to pull (rescue from the shelter). We then contact the appropriate shelter to ask if the animal(s) is still available and to see if it has a good temperament around other animals and people. If it fits the criteria, we make arrangements for one of our local transport volunteers to travel to the out-of-town shelter to pick the animal(s) up for us. It’s always a race against the clock to save their lives. Some weeks, our volunteers transport dogs/pups from out-of-town shelters to us 3 to 4 times in any given week. Very intense but so worthwhile. Once our local transporters bring them to us, the medical vetting begins. This involves making sure the dogs/pups receive all age-appropriate vaccinations, age-appropriate heartworm testing – if positive, they stay with us a month for treatment, spay and neuter, and occasionally a dental or a surgery needs to be performed.”
These people are walking the walk. It’s exhausting just learning about all that goes into this. Imagine doing it week after week. To say I’m in awe would be an understatement.
The next step is to market their precious cargo!
“Another important factor of transporting is getting extremely nice photos of the animals once we get them in our possession,” said Holly. “We have a volunteer photographer who takes professional grade photos of our rescued animals. Her photos can make or break an adoption up north. This is because our rescue partners post these photos for their adopters to see with the bios that our photographer has also provided. Because of the enormous amount of time spent performing this task, many of our dogs and puppies are pre-adopted by pre-qualified adopters. By the time they step off the transport bus, they have a new life! Families have been known to line up waiting anxiously for their new family member to arrive.”
Oh, my heart. Gulp. I LOVE that.
The Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue transport team has committed to transporting EVERY Friday – except for holidays. Even angels need to rest at some point.
Oh wait, they don’t.
“We spend every day working on some aspect of transport, whether it’s pulling more animals from local or distant shelters, fostering (and posting for other fosters to help us), taking photos and developing bios to send to the rescues, or transporting animals to the vet for medical reasons or to obtain their health certificates for travel,” said Holly.
Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue transports an average of 60 to 65 animals each month. Those dogs and cats make up nearly 80% of all the animals CAAR volunteers save. They recently transported 30 dogs and puppies – one of the largest transports they’ve ever done.
It all adds up for Holly — a high school math teacher (in her spare time…ha!).
“This is the reason we transport; this is the reason we do what we do; this is the reason we are told countless times by other rescues, ‘We don’t know how you transport people at Charlie’s Angels do all you do!’” she said. “Sometimes, we don’t know how we accomplish all we do either. But, when we look into the eyes of a mama dog whom we’ve rescued from a horrible situation, along with her newborn babies and we receive fabulous photos of them from our partner rescue showing them living in wonderful homes, we KNOW we’ve done the right thing. When we rescue a dog and her 3 month old pup who have absolutely NO fur because of demodex mange and, by the time she and her baby go to our rescue partner showing absolutely NO sign that they ever had a hair missing, we KNOW we’ve done the right thing.. When we save a puppy’s life whose leg had been severely damaged by an adult dog and the leg required amputation and this pup was adopted into a wonderful family to share not just one home but three homes, one of them on the beach, we KNOW we’ve done the right thing. When we pull a Pit bull from a shelter and he finds a safe home and finds love for the first time in his life after going to one of our rescue partners, we KNOW we’ve done the right thing. When we pull a large senior dog who has never been shown love, care, or had an inside home and he goes to our rescue partner and finds all those things and is able to live out his life in comfort and safety, we KNOW we’ve done the right thing. When we pull 3 Hounds from a local shelter with just an hour until they were slated to be euthanized and 2 of our volunteers drive several hours away to get them on a flight to the west coast and to adoptive families, we KNOW we’ve done the right thing. The stories go on and on and on.”
These angels are looking for a few more people to join their village. They need volunteers to take animals to the vet, they need foster families and they could use another photographer willing to help with transport.
If you are unable to donate time, this month you can shop at Fetching-Apparel.com (where our slogan is Go get it!) and 40% of profits from your purchases will go directly to Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue. Our mission is to help their mission! Use coupon code: CharliesAngels to receive FREE SHIPPING!
Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue
We are committed to rescue and provide temporary shelter for dogs and cats while seeking each a forever home.
For every dog and cat to have a comfy bed, a full tummy and endless love.