Transport Driver Information
After you have agreed to drive on a specific date, you will receive 2 emails. The first one will be about a week before the transport telling fosters to bring their dogs to the send-off location. You will be cc’d on that email. The 2nd email is sent 2-3 days before the transport date with a final roster, rescue meeting addresses, and an itinerary of your trip.
For overnight trips to the Philly area we will pay up to $400 for expenses ($450 for Jersey City trips). Please save gas, meal, and the hotel receipts. We will pay for one room for one night’s lodging but you are welcome to stay longer at your own expense. You should make your own hotel reservation but we can guide you if you need suggestions. Expect to spend about $200 for gas. We will pay for several meals for you and your copilot but we fundraise for these transports so please try to keep meals within reason.
We will give you the cash at send-off, less any that was used to fill the tank to start. Bring back leftover money (if any) and receipts to account for all Dog Bless money spent. If you want to use a credit or debit card and pay yourself from the cash advance, that’s fine. You will have a Dog Bless EZ-Pass for your use on toll roads. You do not need receipts for EZ-Pass use.
You will have 20-30 dogs/puppies kenneled in the back of the van. All should be unfed and recently walked to keep travel sickness to a minimum. They tend to settle down and sleep when the van is moving so the less stops you make, the quieter the trip will be. Taking a small bag of drinks and snacks for yourself and your copilot is a good idea. The itinerary you receive will suggest when the adult dogs should be walked (if needed, depending on the roster and schedule), although you may adjust that based on your progress. Hopefully you can ignore bad dog smells until reaching the next scheduled stop but that’s your decision.
Only the adult dogs going to Jersey City are candidates for a brief walk–and only those that you are comfortable handling and leashing (described below). Walks are not mandatory.
When removing dogs to hand off or walk, never try to coax a dog to come out of its crate with the crate door opened wide. A frightened dog could use this as an opportunity to dart. This has happened before and one dog, Abigail, was hit by a car after darting out of her crate so please use caution. You should have the Mendota leash looped around the dog’s neck or the dog’s collar securely in your hand before the door is open far enough for the dog to exit the crate. The only exception to this is when the crate is being opened inside the van with the van doors closed until the dog is securely leashed.
Except for puppies, it is probably best to just let the receiving rescue remove their own dogs from the crates. Some crates might need to be removed from the van to access others. We will try to arrange the dogs and crates with this in mind.
As the dogs are handed off, I usually don a pair of gloves and pull any soiled papers out of the crates into a garbage bag and discard it. I empty and unhook all the water pails because they tend to clang around. In the van you will find latex gloves, trash bags, paper towels, and cleaning wipes and sprays, but you do not have to clean out anything unless you want to for your own comfort–we will take care of disinfecting the crates after the van returns. Only adult dogs will be walked on long trips. Puppies will have shredded paper in their crates to reduce the messiness. (Also in the van are maps, leashes, baby wipes for puppy paws, a first aid kit, and a flashlight.) Your own belongings will fit best if they are in a soft-sided tote or several small ones. The crates take up most of the room in the back of the van.
We will load the van early on the transport morning (6:45 – 7:15) at the shelter and try to have you on the road by 7:30 am. You can leave your car at the shelter or if you’d prefer, a Dog Bless volunteer can take it to their home.
We have a GPS programmed for your destinations but some drivers prefer to use their smartphones so they can see traffic conditions too. The GPS will give you the ETA as you travel, adjusting for any stops. If you are behind schedule either you or the person tracking your progress from here can let the rescues know to adjust the meeting times. You will have the contact numbers of the rescues you are meeting on the itinerary.
You will have travel documents and vetting paperwork to hand off to each rescue with their dogs. Each crate will be marked with the name of the dog(s) and the name of the rescue who is getting them which will match the itinerary.
It would be great if you can ask for our collars back that have the Dog Bless tags attached after handing off the dog, but only if the person getting the dog has added another collar first. We do not want the dog to be collarless at any time in case– heaven forbid– it escapes.
Once you have handed all the dogs off to their rescues, it is up to you whether to return the next day or stay a second night. When returning, we can arrange to meet you and/or swap your vehicle back to you (and get the receipts and any leftover money). Either way, please let us know your estimated return time as you progress toward home.
Transporting dogs to their rescues is a very rewarding experience. Thank you in advance for your generous offer to help us in this way!