DANBURY, Conn. – Twelve dogs were delivered to their new forever homes with Danbury families this weekend thanks to Greg Mahle and Rescue Road Trips. The dogs traveled from shelters in southern states, where they would have likely been euthanized, in one of the many cross-country trips organized by Mahle's company.
“I’ve been doing this for seven years,” Mahle, who started the company, said as he stood in front of a trailer holding more than 50 dogs. “We started out in a mini-van bringing just a couple of dogs up here, and it just grew from there. Next we got a truck, a few vans and now we have a trailer.”
Now he spends his weeks departing from Ohio on Tuesday, passing through Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and arriving in Texas on Wednesday. From Texas, the trailer passes through Louisiana and by Saturday, Mahle and the dogs arrive in the Northeast for what has become known as “Gotcha Days,” where families in Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut and New Hampshire meet their new dogs.
They are brought to the Northeast because the South has an overpopulation of dogs because of a lack of spaying and neutering, Mahle said. When the dogs are picked up from shelters, there is little hope of adoption and most are euthanized.
Despite the dogs' somber situation, Mahle said he tries to make every trip fun for the dogs, with several stops along the way for food, play and other business.
“I hope I get to do this for the rest of my days,” he said. “Spending time with the dogs is a special feeling. We really get to know one another, and it’s a good time for all.”
Along the way, volunteers come out to help make sure everything runs smoothly, Mahle said. Volunteers, foster families and adoptive families have taken to the company’s Facebook page to share their stories. With more than 13,000 “Likes,” there’s no shortage of happy stories.
“I am never letting her go,” Emily Burr Vailette posted on the company’s page after adopting her dog, Barbie, in Danbury on Saturday.
Tulip, another dog united with her new family in Danbury on Saturday, was greeted with handmade signs.
“We could not be more in love with Tulip!,” Christy Lindsay wrote on Facebook.