Adopt a dog from Texas when you live in Wisconsin? Absolutely! Adopting a dog from another part of the country is becoming more commonplace as programs are being set up to rescue dogs from overcrowded, high-kill shelters and bring them to shelters where there are too few dogs to adopt.

Dog shelter

In the U.S., the southern states have the greatest overpopulation, where the supply far exceeds the demand for adoptable animals. The overgrowth in that area stems from one or a combination of factors: less spaying and neutering programs, less education about the importance of spaying and neutering, or too many breeders without the necessary demand for the puppies.

Related: Support Adopt-A-Dog-Month

As October is Adopt-A-Dog Month, we encourage you to learn more about these transport programs and support their cause of saving as many dogs as possible.

How the Process Works

Vetting Partners – Proactive shelters from underpopulated areas of the country solicit donations and sponsorship to set up a transport program. They then connect with shelters in overpopulated areas and start the vetting process to ensure they partner with reliable, reputable, safe shelters.

Selection & Transportation – The next step is making the trip to those shelters and choosing as many adoptable dogs as they can. They consider the space available at their facility, choosing dogs that have a greater chance of being adopted – those that are not too sick, too old, too injured or are not aggressive.

Quarantine Period – To make sure the dogs don’t pass along any disease, they are quarantined for a period of 10 days and are given all the shots they need and a general health exam by a veterinarian. Any other care needed, such as deworming, is also performed.

Spaying / Neutering – All animals are then spayed or neutered.

Personality Evaluation – Dogs are then combined with other animals to see how they interact – do they get along with other dogs or are they uncomfortable, do they get along with cats, are they high or low energy, do they like a lot of human interaction or are they more comfortable alone.

Identification – Since lost dogs are large reason dogs end up in shelters or get separated from their owners, the dogs are supplied with collars with ID tags and are microchipped.

Matching with the Right Home – All the observed personality factors go into matching the dogs with the right home. If a dog is high energy, it might be matched with a runner. A retiree might be better with a senior dog.

Success Story: the Ruffy Rescue Transport Fund


For over 100 years, the Humane Society of Chittendon County (HSCC) in Vermont has been committed to serving and educating the pet parents in their area, taking in 800-1,200 animals each year. Vermonters are passionate animal lovers without enough adoptable dogs, so HSCC set up the Ruffy Rescue Transport Fund. They are working with shelter partners in Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi and have rescued and placed 73 dogs since May of this year through this program. The extra care taken in the matching process is rewarded with a less than 2% return rate of their dogs.

The Ruffy Rescue Transport Fund is funded by Kyla Sternlieb, founder and owner of Under the Weather products for sick pets, and her husband, Bruce Lisman. Kyla and Bruce have been rescuing and fostering dogs for many years and currently own three rescues. The transport fund is named after her dog, Ruffy, who also inspired the founding of her product line for sick dogs. Read about Ruffy’s Story and share the love.

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