We’ve all heard the saying that a dog is a man’s best friend, right? Well, imagine your best friend being stuck across the country with no way to get to you! That is where Operation Roger comes to the rescue with pet transportation.
Operation Roger is a nonprofit organization whose sole purpose is to help pets get where they need to go. After witnessing the separation of pets from their owners after Hurricane Katrina, Sue Wiese felt it was her life’s mission to start this organization. It was founded in 2005, and over the past 16 years, Operation Roger has helped more than 896 pets unite or reunite with their families.
With a giggle and an apparent grin in her voice during an interview, Sue Wiese, CEO and President of Operation Roger, called her company a “rag tag group of pet-loving truckers.” Want to know the extent this rag-tag group will go to for a pet reunion? Let’s find out!
Operation Roger to the Rescue
- Pet Adoptions From Shelters. After the loss of a pet, many people turn to the internet in search of a companion of the same breed or similar features. These searches frequently produce a match to a pet residing in a shelter across the country. The distance causes challenges, and that is when Operation Roger often pops up in a Google search for pet transportation!
- Natural Disasters. We have all seen heroic rescues on the news after disasters, but what happens to the pet once they are rescued and the evacuated owners are far away? Yep, you guessed it. Operation Roger steps in to transport those displaced pets back to their owners.
- Petnapped. Sadly, pet thieves really do exist. Thanks to the advancements in pet chipping, so does finding those thieves. When pets are found far away from the residence of their owners, Operation Roger is there to help.
- Car Accidents. It’s not uncommon to see pets riding shotgun. Unfortunately, those shotgun riders are not exempt from car accidents either. Operation Roger rolls on in to help in these situations by taking care of the animals while they are temporarily displaced from their owners.
Volunteers and Training are Crucial
Volunteers: Since many hands are required for this nonprofit transportation of animals to be successful, a hearty list of volunteers is needed. Truckers who enjoy extra companionship from furry friends are essential. So are shuttle drivers. Shuttle drivers may not be able to house the pet overnight, or across the country, but shuttle drivers play a key role in getting pets to the truckers at truck stops, or picking up the pets from shelters, and sometimes get the rewarding job of delivering pets to owners. Also needed are foster families! Foster families care for the displaced pet till schedules match for long-distance transportation. Willing volunteers are directed to their website to fill out the volunteer form.
Training: All volunteers go through a rigorous training at Operation Roger University before their pet transportation volunteerism launches.
The safety training at ORU includes:
- Double securement
- Animal health
- Shot records
- Pet crating
Of course, we couldn’t resist asking Sue to share some stories with us!
First up is the tale of a cat that was being transported across the country; truck stops became its typical nighttime scene. While the truck driver slept, the cat took on the role of the protector. Roaming back and forth on the truck dashboard, this cat would growl to protect the driver if anyone came close!
One retired greyhound dog’s experience was eye-opening on his six-week trek from Florida to New Jersey to join other retired greyhounds. This greyhound “didn’t know how to be a pet,” Sue shared. His trek exposed him to adventurous experiences in the snow, desert, and fun new friends called pugs. The truck driver shared that “it was awesome to see the change in that dog.”
Another story that motivates Sue to stay committed to this mission is that of a dog found abandoned with poor oral health in a house in Louisiana. This dog was spotted on a dog rescue site from someone in Nevada. Once healthy, this dog trekked from a doggie foster home to a truck stop, to another home and truck stop (and again and again), getting spoiled rotten till this once abandoned dog was no longer scared of people or travel! Now this dog loves seeking adventure, Sue says.“You could see the joy of adventure in the dog’s face. It was just awesome!”
Operation Roger doesn’t just transport dogs and cats. It has also been known to make ferrets, chinchillas, and gerbils into travel companions. Their largest transport was a mastiff around 200 pounds, and their smallest was a pair of tarantulas.
Even though Sue references her day-to-day operations at Operation Roger as a “logistical nightmare,” she keeps trucking on with passion. The spark in her voice while sharing rescue stories leaves no doubt that pet reunions are well worth the work.
For more information about Operation Roger’s pet transportation services, visit operationroger.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or text Sue at 682-622-1172.