We are in the countdown now for our trip – nailing down the details, making reservations, preparing the family to care for the dogs we will leave at home (too many!).
I am nervous, just a little, about this trip because I am taking my child this time. Yes, I know he is the size of a man and mature and steady and so very capable, but I know his heart. I know how open and kind it is, so I worry. It will be hard to see much of what we see, especially knowing there is little we can do except tell you about it.
We truly appreciate the donations that have been coming in. We will be shopping today and Saturday to prepare donation packages to hand deliver to the shelters. We are also holding onto some of the money so that we can purchase donations while in Tennessee once we are on the ground and can see the needs.
It will be a lot of driving, so in preparation for it, Ian has been learning to drive manual transmission. We’ll be driving my Honda Element which is stick shift. It’s about eleven hours to our first shelter visit, but we’re doing the drive in two days, leaving Sunday and planning to arrive at Maury County shelter at 2pm on Monday, with an overnight stop in Christiansburg, VA.
Packing lots of food will be key to keeping Ian content and me from going broke, so we did a little shopping today at Trader Joe’s and I think we’re ready. Saturday we’ll drop one foster at boarding. That still leaves three dogs here for my oldest son to care for (as usual, whenever I travel my husband also travels), but they’ve got a dog door and are pretty easy-going pups. I’m more concerned about the cat, the horses, and my gardens than them.
I know from my past trips to the rural south, that once we are there it will feel like a million miles from home, so different is the experience. I’m grateful that we have a wonderful place to stay. We’ll be with Laura, an amazing rescue hero I met on my shelter/book tour last fall. Laura spends every moment she isn’t working her real job saving dogs, driving them all over our country, working the internet to find homes and rescues for dog after dog after dog.
I’m excited to spend more than a passing afternoon with her this time around. When I wrote to her about this trip several months ago, she immediately said – “Yes! Come down. Stay with me!” such is her generous, dog-loving heart.
Trisha is the other person we’ll be spending lots of hours with traveling to the tiny shelters scattered around western Tennessee. I met both of them last September while traveling through Nashville. They left quite an impression. I’m still stunned by how much they do for the animals of Tennessee.
If you’d like to learn more about RARE (Rural Animal Rescue Effort) and the amazing work that Trisha and Laura do, visit the website. If you’re moved to donate to them directly, you can do that there or send them something from the RARE Amazon wishlist.
Upcoming posts to this blog will sometimes be from me and sometimes be from Ian. He will share collections of the pictures that he takes. I’m hoping to convince him to write his thoughts too, as he’s a talented writer and I’m sure he will see things that I won’t.
If you’re on Facebook, you can follow along in realtime where I’ll post updates as often as possible (depends on how good Ian gets at driving stick!) Ian will have our Instagram site up soon and that’s where he’ll be posting regularly in addition to this blog.
If you’d like to donate to our efforts, you can give through our FB fundraiser or watch this page for opportunities to give directly to the shelters. We will post what is needed and where to mail it after every visit.
We are making this up as we go along and are more than grateful for your support and patience, but mostly we are hoping that you will help us spread the word!
It’s time to let the dogs out!