Furry Hearts, a Cedar County 501(c)(3) not-for-profit animal organization which rescues, networks and transports dogs in need, now has a new set of wheels to help out its furry friends on the road.
Becca Loane, a Furry Hearts team member, said her relative — who is a musician — donated a 2006 Chevy Express van to Furry Hearts after he realized he was not using the van anymore.
“It’s got some miles on it, but it’s in good shape right now, and we plan on running it until it hits the dirt and doesn’t come back up,” Loane said.
With a chuckle, Loane said the van will be able to hold “a lot,” of dogs, estimating around six or eight big dogs could probably fit inside, and a litter of puppies would absolutely fit.
As it turns out, transportation is a vital heartbeat of Furry Hearts; Loane said local dogs who are rescued by her organization are networked to other rescue organizations “all over the country.”
“When there’s a rescue that has room and thinks that [there] would be a good dog for them to be able to adopt out, then they say, ‘Hey, I’ll take that one,’ and then we figure out how to get it to them,” Loane said.
Sometimes, Furry Hearts has hired transportation companies to accomplish this task — especially when there are many animals to transport.
“We try to send two or four dogs at a time to the same rescue just so we can save on transport costs a little bit,” Loane said. “In the last couple of years, we’ve sent to Washington state, we’ve sent to Colorado several times, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois, New Jersey — basically, both coasts.”
Almost all of the dogs Furry Hearts has worked with has been within a 40-mile radius of Stockton, Loane said.
Regarding the coronavirus pandemic, Loane said since many people have been staying at home, there have been more opportunities for people to foster rescue animals; however, the organization’s donations are down, she said.
“Some of our businesses that help collect donations for us were closed for a while, or at least not having as many customers coming through, so that dropped our donations,” Loane said. “We do have some that are just from individual people who send us donations, and we hugely appreciate those.”
The costs for an animal networking organization are “up there,” Loane said, and they do not seem to be changing in a downward manner because of the virus.
“We still have dogs that have to go to the vet, we have dogs that need food, we have transportation costs — we still have our expenses, and lowered donations hurts,” Loane said.
Regarding Furry Hearts’ current statistics, Loane said for the first three weeks of July, the organization either transported or arranged transport for 22 dogs in 21 days.
“That’s a little bit more than our average has been, but we’re averaging probably about 25 dogs a month that we’re helping from this area,” Loane said.
In the meantime, Furry Hearts’ new van — embedded with the organization’s paw print logo — will be seen around town, often transporting little “fuzzes” who will be open to meeting members of the community.
For those who wish to help, Loane said Furry Hearts is desperately in need of short or long term fosters for the dogs, as well as transportation drivers.
Contact Furry Hearts at P.O. Box 540, Stockton, or through email at email@example.com. Donations can be made via the P.O. Box, the organization’s Venmo @Furry-Hearts, paypal account firstname.lastname@example.org, or through Amazon Smiles at Furry Hearts Inc.