Riding shotgun: Program aims to pair truckers and pets
July 21, 2022
The bond between a trucker and their pet can be a deep one. A Tennessee animal shelter is hoping that bond could lead to finding homes for a growing number of pets.
Memphis Animal Services is launching a program geared towards pairing truckers with pets in need of a home. The program offers truckers 50% off adoptions at the shelter. Adoption fees range from $10 to $80, depending on the type and age of the animal. Additionally, free pet beds may be available to truckers who adopt through the program.
Katie Pemberton, marketing communications supervisor for Memphis Animal Services, says the “truck dog program” – which she admits is a working title – could be a great fit for many of the dogs at the shelter.
“It seems like life in a truck, while probably not for every dog, for a lot of dogs there would be nothing better than to be there with your person always,” Pemberton told Land Line Now. “So that’s what we were thinking when we were talking about starting this truck dog program.”
According the organization’s website, the shelter brings in roughly 20-40 pets on most days. Pemberton said the shelter has had the idea for a “truck dog” program for a while, but recent surges in incoming animals led the shelter to take a “put it all on the table” approach toward finding homes for all the animals.
“We are definitely struggling. Animal shelters around the country are struggling. It’s honestly kind of a crisis that the animals that are coming in are outpacing the animals that are going out. So we need more pets to go out,” Pemberton said. “I know a lot of truck drivers need companionship, and so we’re definitely hoping that we can both benefit from that.”
People looking to adopt a pet can encounter a number of obstacles, which varies between agencies. Pemberton says those hurdles can be especially hard for truckers.
“We want to let people know that we practice open adoptions and we are not looking for a reason to deny an adoption,” she said. “I think, in some cases, possibly driving a truck would be one of the many reasons that people could get denied by other agencies in the past.”
The connection between truckers and their pets isn’t the only appeal. Pemberton says the location of the shelter, off of Interstate 40 at exit 15 in Memphis, Tenn., is ideal from truckers. Additionally, truck parking is available across from the shelter. To her knowledge, the program is a first of its kind, but Pemberton said she hopes it won’t be the last.
“I have never seen from another shelter,” she said. “What I’m really hoping is that it is so wildly successful that next summer I’m going to be presenting at a conference about how every shelter that’s central to the interstate should be doing this.”
Drivers interested in the truck dog program can contact Memphis Animal Services at firstname.lastname@example.org. Emails are answered from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week. LL