Wednesday, January 13, 2016

This Man Is A Hero ...

... a hero of the sort we don't hear or read about every day.  If you love dogs a lot (or even a little), you will want to visit Please read all of Fido's letter!  A Google search for Greg Mahle Road Rescue will be worth your while; you can read how he started this mission and the bittersweet joy it brings him.  A true hero, it is estimated that Greg has rescued and transported northward to new homes more than 55,000 southern dogs -- healthy, affectionate dogs who were in southern "high-kill" (low adoption rate, high euthanasia rate) shelters.  At Rescue Road Trips, you'll be thrilled and thankful to see the photos and read the ongoing story of one man's courage and devotion in saving the lives of wonderful dogs by bringing them northward to waiting homes.  I will explain a bit about that here.

During the early 1990s and on into 2004 (after serving for three years as a volunteer), I worked as humane education director for a regional animal shelter here in the south.  It was a heart-breaking job and I still see the faces of many of those sweet dogs and cats.  If they were owner-surrendered they were usually euthanized immediately (probably while the pet owner was driving away); if the pet was a stray, he or she was kept for a mandatory three-day period during which it was hoped (!) that the owner would come looking for the animal, pay the citation for letting him/her run loose, and take the pet back home.  Most of the time the owner didn't come (or came too late).  The physical attributes of the shelter, itself, were ghastly and the dogs in the top row of concrete compartments had it the worst (no access to the outdoors).  During my volunteer years there, I went there three times a week to carry frightened dogs from those top cages to the outdoors where I would put a leash on them and let them walk around on the grass and relieve themselves. With the largest dogs, I would sling them over my shoulder like a bag of potatoes (holding on to their rear quarters) in order to bear their weight and carry them through two rooms to access the outdoors.  I remember one female rottweiler who was crammed in a top compartment and who had the word "please" in her eyes.  I remember her clinging to my shoulder on her way outdoors.   I loved each one of those dogs, so my heart was continually aching. The cat room needed attention too and, as often as I could, I'd stop in there and pet the cats.  The main problem across the board was overcrowding due to lack of spay and neuter by owners.  Puppy mills and backyard breeding added to it.

I came to Tennessee from Connecticut.  The need for spay and neuter for dogs and cats had been preached and promoted there for a number of years.  By the time I moved here (late 1986), the northern states had a pretty good head-start on spay/neuter.  And that is why, now in 2016, the pet overpopulation there is greatly improved. Here in the South, we got a later start, especially in the deep south areas.  My job (mentioned in an above paragraph) was to educate every part of the human population that I could get access to (classrooms of kids, youth groups, colleges, adult civic groups -- I was even invited to speak at birthday parties) --  about spay-neuter, adoption of shelter animals, general animal care, and the animals' need and right to be loved by his/her human family. Knoxville now has a beautiful, well-functioning animal shelter, a world apart from the former building, ownership, and leadership.  People still need to be reminded that spay-neuter (getting them "fixed") saves animals' lives and gives them many health benefits too.    

I am very grateful to Greg Mahle for being a devoted Angel who saves dogs.  I hope you will go to the several websites that  tell about him.  What a wonderful, wonderful human being. He can be e-mailed at and the subject line should say RRT main page. We love you, Greg :)