BISSELL Pet Foundation: Transporting Between Shelters

By Laurie Wiles

by Elysian Magazine

The animal sheltering community typically relies on a network to thrive, with under-resourced rural shelters sending animals to shelters in areas where adoption rates are higher. While shelters are able to adopt out small and medium dogs, the euthanasia of large dogs in animal shelters is increasing. BISSELL Pet Foundation’s work, to even out the supply with demand, includes large efforts and smaller events that function the same as its Empty the Shelters national events — all of which give shelters in need a bit of breathing room and large dogs a greater chance.

The slowdown in transport and the emerging popularity of massive adoption events have proven that there is more capacity in many communities for adoption than previously thought, even for big dogs. Providing a low adoption fee and lots of publicity draws people into shelters to adopt. BISSELL Pet Foundation is excited to have created the largest funded adoption event in the county, giving shelters back grants to reduce adoption fees. 

So far this year, 4,767 pets were transported through collaborative efforts to both relieve overcrowded shelters and aid our emergency disaster response. One of BISSELL Pet Foundation’s most memorable flights was also one for the record books: in July 2021, the organization embarked upon the longest transport in BPF history, flying pets from El Paso, Texas, to Canada. And in August 2022, BISSELL Pet Foundation achieved yet another milestone when it transported its 10,000th pet, Shiba, who was rescued from Alabama and flown to a partner in Maine, who found her a loving home. Transport gave her a second chance at a new life. 

As spay/neuter services continue to suffer due to staffing and veterinarian shortages and the increasing cost of vet care, BISSELL Pet Foundation’s spay/neuter programs are in full swing, helping shelters transfer as many adoptable pets as possible. Sometimes the hold up with transport is lack of veterinarians to perform spay/neuter surgeries on the destination side. Building veterinary collaborations, providing funding and/or sending in BISSELL Pet Foundation’s own veterinarian, Dr. Alana Canupp, is helping to bridge that gap and keep homeless pets moving. BISSELL Pet Foundation also expanded its transport program from land to air in 2021, utilizing chartered cargo planes to fly homeless pets to destination partners who have the capacity to care for pets from communities in need and find them loving homes. By moving adoptable dogs and cats longer distances more efficiently and quickly, animals experience less travel-related stress. Thus far, in 2022, almost 5,000 pets have been transported in BPF’s collaborative efforts with shelters around the country to relieve overcrowded shelters and to provide vital assistance in emergency disaster response.

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