Rescue dogs

Rescue dogs unite with ‘forever’ families in mass adoption event

Three Little Pitties, a Texas nonprofit, matches Houston dogs and cats with Pacific Northwest families. #k5evening

MARYSVILLE, Wash. — Every month, dozens of rescued dogs and cats are reunited with their “forever homes” in a Marysville parking lot.

The early morning adoption event is hosted by Three Little Pitties Rescue, a Texas-based nonprofit organization.

“Houston has a huge dog overpopulation problem and so they bring them to the Pacific Northwest where we have tons of adopters and a very dog-friendly environment,” said Erin Walsh, who adopted her own dog from the rescue organization and is now working with them.

Adopters are paired with animals in advance, then the animals are driven across the country in a giant tractor-trailer on a 36-hour journey. Their new owners arrive from all over western Washington to pick them up, which is tantamount to a drive-through adoption.

“Each adopter drives their car and gets the dog off the truck and they are united there,” Walsh said.

Christopher and Ashlee Jackson made the pre-dawn drive from Kenmore to meet their new pup, Elvis.

“I’m way too excited to go to sleep right now,” Christopher said with a laugh.

“I’m going to cry, 100%,” Ashlee added. “I’m going to be so excited I’m going to start crying.”

Jack and Amber Sassenfeld hiked even longer from Hansville on the Kitsap Peninsula. They adopted a dog named Juno.

“4:45 is when we left – yeah, we were up early,” Jack said. “(But) a house doesn’t look like a house without a dog.”

In addition to Juno, 132 other dogs and cats were also on board the truck. All were matched with adopters and foster families — some as far north as Canada.

Sherry Phay, another adopter-turned-volunteer, picked up a group of dogs to drive them to the border.

“It’s Christmas Day,” she said. “I mean, I know the joy my dogs bring me, and to be able to give that to someone else is just a gift.”

The timed experience also allows adopters to bond with each other.

Greg Gagnon and his wife adopted a dog named Tio Billy.

“His mom is getting adopted too, two cars behind us. So that’s really cool,” he said. “We’re actually going to hook up so they can meet again.”

The truck also makes stops in the South Sound and in Vancouver, Washington.

“It’s an amazing experience,” Walsh said.

Three Little Pitties depends on donations and volunteerism. If you would like to help – or adopt/favour – contact the organization online.

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