Transporting Skip and Smiles to Seattle from Boise.
I’ve been on a lot of road trips. We’ve driven from California to New Orleans and back; Colorado to California; Idaho to Seattle; Seattle to Oregon; Colorado to Victoria, Canada (before you needed a passport); and the list goes on. This year, we’ve done Boise to Seattle twice, one of those being the first time we’ve ever road tripped with a dog.
In our free-time the husband and I make movies, our specialties being short comedies and music videos. We submit our completed projects to film festivals in hopes that they might be accepted and then we can attend the film festivals to soak up all the film industry awesomeness that we can. On October 1st, 2013, we were slated to show one of our short comedies at a film festival in Seattle. We got time off of work and planned on driving on Monday, September 30th. Our music collaborator joined us and we booked our hotel room. It would be a quick trip, but no matter how long or short, these trips are always worth it.
The drive from Boise to Seattle is approximately eight hours and just over 500 miles. Not too bad in the whole scheme of things. About two weeks before leaving I was watching my facebook feed and a shelter rescue group that I follow posted something intriguing. I’m not sure when, or how, I started following this group, but this particular rescue group removes dogs and cats from their local kill-shelter and places them in foster or forever homes. They have only organized earlier this year and their rescue seems to be successful thus far. Cats and dogs are being saved and new families are being formed.
The particular post that I read was asking for transportation for a senior dog to go to Seattle. I messaged the rescue group and told them that if they could wait two weeks, I’d be happy to transport the dog. I figured I’d ask my husband and friend for “permission” later. Immediately I received an email back saying that they can definitely wait for transportation and the entire event was set into motion. Within a few days, I had been on the phone with a couple of people working out details on when and where we would pick-up and drop-off this senior dog. During one phone call, I was asked if we could possibly fit a second dog into our car. I thought about it for a few seconds before answering, yes!
At 6am on Monday, September 30th, we packed our bags and our dog, Frodo, into our Honda Fit. We took Frodo to a friend’s house to spend the night while we were in Seattle, and picked up our music collaborator at the same time. At 6:30am, we pulled up in front of a cottage-style home in Boise and met a woman who had housed the two dogs over night. The sun had not yet risen, there was a gentle breeze in the air, and we could feel fall setting in. We made room for the two dogs – Skip, the original transport, is a 7-year-old chocolate lab, and Smiles, an 8-year-old English Pointer with an injured leg. The two dogs cautiously got into the car and we pointed our Honda Fit toward Seattle and off we drove.
Smiles was a stray who had been picked up on the side of the road somewhere near Salt Lake City, Utah. It is believed that she was hit by a car and her leg reset itself – it now hangs limply and she can sometimes stand on it. A rescue group there had tried to find her a home in the area, but no one wanted a senior dog who was injured. She was staying at a kill-shelter and she HAD to get out. As a senior dog with an injury, she had very little time. A woman in Canada, who has been transporting dogs for six years between Seattle and Victoria, fell in love with Smiles. The problem was getting poor Smiles from Salt Lake to Canada. Smiles started her journey to her fur-ever home on Saturday, driving from Salt Lake to the Twin Falls area of Idaho. It was there that she met Skip, the chocolate lab who had also been at a kill-shelter in the Twin Falls area. The rescue I follow on facebook is the group that took him in. They found him a home in Seattle, but were faced with the same dilemma of getting him from Idaho to Washington.
Skip had been living the good life in Idaho with a caring owner who was also a senior. Skip’s owner had gotten to a point in his own life that he had to live at a senior care center that didn’t allow dogs. This owner’s family didn’t know what to do with Skip, or didn’t want him, and sent him to the local shelter. Only one thing could happen to Skip at this particular shelter if he couldn’t get adopted. A nice family living near Seattle, fell in love with Skip over the internet.
Once Smiles joined Skip in Twin Falls, the two of them were transported to Boise on Sunday and spent the night with three other dogs in a small house. That next morning, we picked them up. They were both unsure and cautious, but they sat nicely in the car and sighed deeply as if to say, “Here we go again.”
Smiles and Skip on their way to their fur-ever homes. From Boise to Seattle.
The trip from Boise to Seattle was fairly uneventful, with the exception of traveling with two dogs we’d never met before. The two hadn’t eaten breakfast yet when we picked them up, so we stopped in Oregon and attempted to feed them. Skip, being the big chocolate lab that he is, ate hungrily, while Smiles wouldn’t even sniff her food. We let them potty in the Oregon rain, then we all jumped back in the car. There were patches of complete downpour, but most of the trip was clear and sunny. Skip and Smiles were so well behaved! It was as if they had been friends forever! As we got closer to Seattle, however, we could all tell that they were just tired of being in a car for so long. We had been stopping at every rest area from Boise to Seattle so that they could take a potty break and stretch their legs, but it wasn’t enough. They had no idea what was going on. Three strangers in a car?! That’s enough to make anyone nervous.
As we got closer to our first drop-off location, Snoqualmie Falls, we stopped for coffee. Everyone was tired and needed a little pick-me-up. The rain had also picked up and was pouring by the time we drove into the town of Snoqualmie. We pulled up to a small local coffee shop and Skip stuck his nose out of my window. The Barista saw him and offered him a dog cookie. I told her “two please! These cuties are on their way from Idaho to meet their forever families.” She was thrilled to have such honorable guests.
Skip met his new family at Snoqualmie Falls, a spot I picked. If you ever get the chance to stop by this beautiful waterfall, I highly recommend it. When we arrived, it was raining and Skip was done with his trip. We handed him over along with his paperwork, and took a couple of pictures. His new parents were beaming and were so grateful for the transportation. We wanted to stay and chat, but we had to make it to our second drop-off location for Smiles. So, the three of us passengers and one dog got back into the car. We waved goodbye to Skip and his new parents and wished them all the best. That big, goofy, chocolate lab was in good hands and intuitively knew it.
We arrived at a greenbelt park about a half-hour drive from Snoqualmie and got out, again in the rain, to give Smiles some fresh air. As we waited for her new mom to arrive, we met another woman who was sending a little chihuahua to Canada. This poor girl was shaking, as most chihuahua’s do, and she melted our hearts. Smiles mom arrived to pick up Smiles and the little chihuahua to take to Canada where she would hopefully find a new home through the rescue that Smiles’ mom works with. Although tired, Smiles was all smiles as she met her new mom and understood that she would soon be HOME. She still had about a four hour drive ahead of her, but she would never have to see the inside of a shelter again. From Utah to Canada, this beautiful senior traveled far in a single weekend.
Skip and Smiles changed my life. I have never roadtripped with a dog, let alone two dogs. And I have never had the honor of transporting a dog to meet his or her new family. The bond we three transporters from Boise and a dog from Twin Falls and one from Utah formed was strong. All three of us enjoyed encouraging the two to run at the rest areas, drink water, and take a treat from a Barista. We gave them “voices,” and laughed when they kissed our faces.
As often as we can help it, we will never take another road trip without transporting an animal to their new forever home. Skip and Smiles left our care better dogs than when they were picked up at their respective shelters. It will only get better from here.
(And yes, the film festival went swimmingly and we had a blast.)