Georgian Triangle Humane Society (GTHS) Transport Volunteers were left shaken and shivering after a bout of bad luck on Airport Road just south of Highway 89, on a cold, snowy evening. On Friday, November 29th, Transport Volunteers Pam Odam, Canine Outreach Coordinator and Sandra Robinson were returning to Collingwood after picking up dogs who flew into Toronto Pearson Airport through the K9 Advocates Manitoba organization, when the van that was carrying live cargo, broke down.
As the sun was setting during rush hour, traffic whizzed by as the GTHS van, with its 4-way blinkers flashing and hood ajar, sat on the side of the busy road. Sadly, despite the high volume of traffic, not one person stopped to help. Two of the canine passengers were just small puppies, so with the plummeting temperature, Pam and Sandra became increasingly concerned about the well-being of the animals in their care.
“Just as the sunset half way home from the airport, our van decided it was going no further. We had a van full of precious cargo, having just picked up 4 dogs that flew in from Winnipeg. The flight coming had already been delayed 45 minutes due to de-icing so these poor pups had been in transit already for a good part of the day”, said Pam Odam, GTHS Transport Volunteer.
Thankfully, with the quick action taken by GTHS Operations Manager and a fellow volunteer, a tow truck was summoned and the Transport crew and dogs were picked up safely. Instead of arriving back at the GTHS Animal Centre as scheduled at 4:30pm, the team pulled into the parking lot at 7:00pm that evening. The GTHS volunteers are nothing short of heroes. Using their free time to transport animals, often in treacherous conditions, the organization simply could not operate without them; they are the heart and soul of the GTHS.
In 2019 alone, the GTHS transported over 200 animals and has clocked approximately 20,000km. Today, the organization’s transport vehicle (which is only capable of transporting 4 kennels) sits in the parking lot, undriveable. The GTHS is not only seeking support from a local mechanic to help repair their van so that they can resume animal transports, but the organization also has a dream, to one day, own a cargo van of their own that is retrofitted specifically for animal transport.
Glenda Green, GTHS Operations Manager states that “Having our own cargo van would allow us to be flexible and responsive when it comes to animal transports. Additional logistics, oftentimes complex and time-consuming, are required to coordinate vehicle rentals and pose various challenges”
A cargo van capable of transporting up to 30 animals would cost approximately $60,000. The GTHS does not receive any government funding. Because the GTHS relies solely on donations from the public and local businesses, a $60,000 expense is currently out of reach.