Driver sought for cross-country road trip

Wheels4Paws group short a relief driver 

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

Wanted: A man or woman who can walk dogs, provide cats and dogs food and water and clean the occasional crate, as needed.

Must be willing to travel.

Pat Webb is founder of Wheels4Paws, a Rockingham nonprofit (EIN 46-2520786) organized to rescue dogs and animals from high-kill shelters and find transport them to animal rescue groups across the country. There is a trip on the books scheduled to leave no later than Tuesday morning and, at the last minute, Webb lost her relief driver.

Submitted photo Pat Webb, right delivers Zaniel, the last pup from Lone Star Shih Tzu & Lhasa Apso Rescue in Houston,  to his happy mom and furever home earlier this month in Albany, N.Y.

Submitted photo
Pat Webb, right delivers Zaniel, the last pup from Lone Star Shih Tzu & Lhasa Apso Rescue in Houston, to his happy mom and furever home earlier this month in Albany, N.Y.

“Since her dogs aren’t eating when she’s gone, she can no longer transport and unfortunately we have a big transport coming up Tuesday,” Webb said.

Big indeed. Eighteen dogs are in Dublin, Ga., waiting to be taken to Romoland, Calif. Webb said the trip will then pass through Missouri for a scheduled pick-up en route to Wayne, N.J., before returning to Rockingham less than six days later. The trip is estimated to cover 5,935 miles over approximately 89 hours of time on the road.

The logistics “make it kind of rough” to find a relief driver in such a short amount of time. Regardless, Webb said she is committed to seeing this transport through — she’d base her reputation on it. In fact, that’s exactly what she does.

“People like the way we handle the dogs,” Webb said. “They like the way the dogs come to them. They like the way we do it. We come highly recommended.”

Webb said renowned rescues such as Dogs Deserve Better in Virginia, Guardians of Rescue in New York and Gentle Giants of New Jersey have come to rely on Webb, her husband Ronnie Webb — two former long-haul truck drivers — and the nonprofit’s band of volunteers to get the job done and and to do it well. Some organizations have selected Wheels4Paws to be their exclusive transporter, Webb said.

There is a Great Pyreness in Missouri, Webb said, that has hip issues. The rescue “doesn’t want anybody else picking it up” and transporting the dog to Gentle Giants in New Jersey.

Wheels4Paws“He’s at a vet’s office (and) he’s doing okay” until we get there, Webb said.

Only Ronnie Webb draws anything remotely close to a regular paycheck with Wheels4Paws, and that caps out at about $100 every other month, Pat Webb said. The relief driver is a paid position — $50 per day, plus meals and, if necessary, a hotel room that is shared with the primary driver.

That money comes from the rescue organizations, Webb said. They pay about 40 cents per mile and after fuel, food and caring for the animals, along with the rental van payment, there’s not much left. They could charge more — other transport groups do — but Webb prefers to see the big picture.

“I don’t want to take away from a rescue because that rescue can use that money to help other dogs,” Webb said. “We’re getting our basic bills paid.”

From April to December 2013, Wheels4Paws traveled 116,085 miles and transported 1,435 animals to a better, longer life. In 2014, the group has logged 204,430 miles and spared 1,013 from likely euthanasia. Wheels4Paws averages three trips each month.

“When I first started out, I started out in Ronnie’s pick-up truck,” Webb said. “At one point, I carried 25 animals to Fredericksburg, Va.”

That included three litters of puppies, Webb said, and they were put in crates and kept safe. But she immediately “saw that there’s gonna be a need for more.”

Wheels4Paws purchased a Ford shuttle van. The transmission went out six months ago “and we havent really had funds to get it fixed.”

The Wheels4Paws board of directors includes: Amy Jo Kuhnen of Ellerbe, as president; Scott Kuhnen, of Ellerbe, acting vice president; Carol Barbosa, of Rockingham, secretary; Pat Webb as acting treasurer; Ronnie Webb as transport director; Tammi Turner, of Nashville, Tenn.; Beth Rubin, of West Virginia; and Margie Lindsey, of Florida.

Contact Webb at 910-995-0303 or email WheelsPawsHomes@gmail.com.

Filed in: Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Rockingham

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