A pioneer of the “no kill” movement, Best Friends Animal Society has been applying innovative networking solutions to the homeless animal problem for decades. Founded by a small group of animal lovers in the 1970s, Best Friends Animal Society’s Network has grown to nearly 100,000 people, including Robin Harmon and Jessica Almeida.
When animal rescue worker Jessica Almeida moved from Los Angeles, CA, to Salt Lake City, UT, she discovered that small breeds are rare in Salt Lake City. As Rescue and Transfer Coordinator for the Humane Society of Utah, she found vacant cages at the local UT shelters and long-waiting lists of families eager to adopt small dogs.
In contrast, the Los Angeles metro area euthanizes approximately 60,000 animals per year. Robin Harmon, Adoption Manager of Best Friends Animal Society of Los Angeles, sees county shelters flooded with homeless “purse dogs,” or small breeds that have become popular fashion accessories thanks to Hollywood films and celebrity trends.
How could these organizations work together to achieve their shared goal of saving dogs from euthanasia? The answer: Pup My Ride, a van shuttle service from Best Friends Animal Society of Los Angeles to the Humane Society of Utah in Salt Lake City.
Joining the collaboration, The Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, provides funding for the shuttle services and celebrity star power. The Foundation, was founded by actress Katherine Heigl and her mother, in memory of their son and brother, Jason, who died tragically young in a car accident. Jason loved animals and the foundation supports nonprofit animal rescue efforts and other animal rights programs.
Today, Pup My Ride transports 20-30 small dogs, twice a month. With nearly 3,500 dogs saved by Pup My Ride in its first 2 years, Best Friends Animal Society is exploring national expansion of the program. If you represent a shelter that has a shortage of small breed dogs for adoption, email RobinH@bestfriends.org or donate $5 by texting PUPPY to 90999.