After social media postings and many miles traveled, an East Texas pooch has found a new home in the Northeast.
Tyler resident Cindy Nash said she and her son, Nicholas, rescued the 4-month-old Black Mouth Cur, named Tyler, as well as her two siblings, from the Smith County Barn in December. The dogs were then checked by a veterinarian and received their vaccinations.
From there, she said, they were put up for adoption on the Nicholas' Lost and Found Cats and Dogs of Tyler, TX, Facebook page, along with the Nicholas Pet Haven Facebook page. She said the siblings went to a local family, while Tyler was taken from Smith County to Stockton, N.J., where she now resides with Joan Elliott, a woman who uses a wheelchair.
"I had a Ladner (Black Mouth Cur) for 10 years who died suddenly and was devastated," Ms. Elliott wrote in an email. "I started searching for another (Black Mouth Cur) since he was a wonderful dog who was a companion/service/volunteer dog. I found Tyler on Nicholas' rescue site, and Cindy Nash was wonderful to me and got Tyler to me very quickly since she knew I wanted to start training her to be a service dog. The transporters were wonderful as well."
"Tyler had her first romp today (Tuesday) in the snowstorm we are having," she added.
Tyler's trip to New Jersey began earlier this month.
Ms. Nash said she made arrangements to fly the dog up to the Northeast but when they arrived at the airport, something was incorrect on Tyler's health certificate. Therefore, she was brought back to Ms. Nash's house.
Ms. Nash said she then contacted people she knew who are involved in transports, and plans were quickly in place to pick Tyler up on Jan. 10 and have her to Ms. Elliott on Jan. 12. She said all of the transporters are volunteers who pay for the transport costs themselves.
"There are several rescue transport groups. We all kind of work together," said Shirley Beesinger Reynolds, a transport coordinator who works with San Antonio-based Paws and Tails Project. "Everyone will volunteer to take a leg."
"Everybody will take an hour or 100 miles. Some will take more. It just depends on how far you can go and how much time you have. If it's a long transport, someone will also volunteer to overnight the dog," Ms. Reynolds added.
Tracey Dies, a 25-year-old transporter from Bossier City, La., was part of Tyler's transport and drove from Shreveport, La., to pick her up. Tyler was then taken back to Shreveport and then on to Atlanta, Ga., and up to New Jersey by way of multiple other transporters.
Ms. Dies said she even got to have Tyler at her home for a little while.
"She's so cute. The first moment you met her, you just knew she was going to be an amazing dog," she said.
Tyler still had her "puppy playfulness," but as soon as she got in the car, she stretched out in the back seat and slept, Ms. Dies said.
"It's just astounding to see dogs that have come from shelters and bad situations, and they're just amazing dogs," she said.
Ms. Reynolds, 37, of Holly Lake Ranch, said she and others are able to keep track of the transport, and there are high standards for the transports — dogs have to be tethered and most require harnessing.
When a transport is set up, they must know the demeanor of the dog, and a temperament test is conducted, she said. Additionally, if the dog has to be kept in a crate during the transport, they get measurements to determine what size crate is needed, she said, and if not, they get the animal's weight so they can get proper tethers.
"It's like they go from laying in your back seat not knowing really what love and companionship is, and you're about 30 minutes away (from the destination) and they pop up and they know they're home," she said.
Ms. Dies said, "I got into this because having a pet is a lifetime commitment. You have to find the perfect pet for you, and you're not always able to find it near you. You may find it in a completely different state. So we just help people find perfect pets, and this woman … wanted the perfect companion for her service dog."
She said Tyler "knows when to play and when to calm down" and gives Ms. Elliott motivation to begin her day.
In talking about transports and rescue, Ms. Dies and Ms. Reynolds also noted the efforts made by Ms. Nash and Nicholas in finding homes for strays in the Tyler area.
"We need more people willing to step up, and more who are willing to dedicate everything they have to it," Ms. Dies said.
Nicholas, a 14-year-old student at the University of Texas at Tyler Innovation Academy, said his social media efforts began after he learned of family members who had lost a dog. He said his mother posted the animal's information on Facebook, and they were able to help reunite the dog with the family. Then, he said, he later had the idea to make his own page. As of Tuesday afternoon, the Lost And Found Cats And Dogs of Tyler, TX, had 2,014 "likes."
Ms. Nash, 54, estimated they receive at least three to five inquiries per day from people who have lost or found an animal.
She said home and background checks are conducted on people who express their desire for an animal.
Aside from social media efforts, Nicholas and his mother also are working to raise money for a new animal shelter in Smith County. The proposed shelter would be located on family land at Interstate 20 and Farm-to-Market Road 2015.
Ms. Nash has said the plan includes a shelter, which will not euthanize healthy animals, as well as a dog park that would act as a "rest stop for dogs."
She has said fundraising for the project is in the works and hopes a temporary shelter is in place within the next six to eight months.