START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
3,280,841 people care about Animal Welfare

“Almost-Gone” Dogs Ride Away in Rescue Vans

“Almost-Gone” Dogs Ride Away in Rescue Vans


Almost is such an ordinary word. We use it every day to describe near-misses like, “I was almost late for work today” or “I’m almost finished packing.” But the word takes on a far deeper meaning for the dogs who ride away in the back of a van after they were almost put to their end in a gas chamber.

“When you walk into the rabies control center you’ll hear a barkinglike you’ve never heard before,” explains Chris McLaughlin, Founder of Animal Rescue Front who rescued 197 of those dogs from an animal control center inSouth Western Louisiana last year. “It’s not an ‘I’m happy to see you bark.’It’s not an ‘Are we going for a walk?’ kindof bark.Instead what you’ll hear is an ‘I’m scared to death’kind of bark.”

Though I am unable to divulge the precise location of this facility for fear that it might jeopardize the delicately negotiated permission to rescue dogs there, I can tell you that it’s about as bad as it gets.

“The dogs have nothing but concrete floor,” Chris explains. “There are no dog beds, no blankets, no toys. It’s cold in there and the floors are often wet. You’d really have to see it yourself to fully appreciate the depth of the dog’s condition.”

In 2013, astate law banning the use of the gas chamber goes into effect in Louisiana, but until then, a mad dash is on every time the phone rings.

“A call comes in that the facility is full and the chamber is about to be used,” Chris explains.”Then it’s a drop-everything, we’ve gotta roll situation as the rescue vans rush over to pull the dogs who are in line for death.”

The Heart of the Matter: Money for Medicine

Chris’ organization moves the dogs up North to rescue groups, shelters and foster homes. This weekend, in fact,31 dogs will be arriving in New Hampshire to begin their wait for adoptive families.Butof greater concern are the ones who couldn’t ride along because they’re infected with heartworm.

“It’s an epidemic here,” Chris explains. “Heartworm is rampantin the South and sadly, the treatment is very, very hard on the dogs’bodies. It’s essentially a poison that is given by injection in order to destroy the worms.But you have to be so careful with the dogs while they’re under treatment because their hearts are in such a fragile state and they aren’t allowed to run or get too excited. We have to keep them still for 90 days or more. And even though we’re sometimes forced to board them at $8 aday when we run out of foster homes, we can’t bring them North until they’re completely well again.”

What Waits for these Almost-Gone Dogs

My own almost-gone dog Cricketwas rescued from that very animal control facility just hours before she would have met her end in a manner I dare not contemplate.She’s about 10 months old now and we’re still seeing signs of her early hardship. It’s only been a few weeks since she stopped falling over on the floor every time someone approached her. She still makes pitiful sounds in her sleep andviews any cage with great suspicion. But today her life is as charmed as can be and before she goes for her daily walk in the woods, she likes to warm up with a littlewrestling match with her favorite friend Brambleberry, our orange tabby.

That’s the kind of life we want for all the dogs and my charity, the Harmony Fund, is working with Animal Rescue Front to gather enough funds to treat the dogs who have heartworm and to secure transportation to move at least 300 in the coming months. We’re in it together and not a day goes by when I don’t imagine what might transpire if we can’t get enough foster homes or medicines to treat the heartworm.

“I dream that one day animals won’t die from carbon monoxide,” Chris says wishfully. “I dream that they’ll all have warm homes where they are loved and pampered – where they all sleep on the bed. Idream that we have thousands of people who send us $10 every month so we can more easily save the thousands of animals down South who need us. I dream we’ll have our own van so we don’t have to worry when Enterprise doesn’t honor our reservation just two days before we are to drive 20 animals 1,600 miles to safety. I dream that we can save more because they are all worth saving, every single one of them.”

Here’s what you can do:

  • $8 boards one dog for a day while we wait for a foster home
  • $13 buys an elevated dog bed to allow the dogs to get off the concrete floor
  • $25 provides food for a dog in their foster home
  • $70 goes toward helping us purchase a van to do year-round rescues
  • $125 pays for complete veterinary care including spay/neuter for an almost-gone dog
  • $500 supports heartworm treatment for three elderly dogs who deserve love in their twilight years
  • $1,800 completely covers the cost of one van load of 15- 18 dogson their 1,600 mile journey

Please visit our website to see more of Animal Rescue Front’s dog rescue efforts or to make a donation.


Related Stories:

Pups Freeze After Dog Locked in Truck Gives Birth

Cows Surround Puppy: Wondrous Scene (Video)

Dog Dumped on Barren Mountaintop Gets Rescued by Vacationers


Read more: , , ,

Photo Credit: Nikhil Gangavane |

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it


+ add your own
10:49AM PDT on Oct 27, 2013

The heart of EVERY matter is money. That we've allowed it to get to this point either through lack of awareness or interest, now in-your-face and near impossible to demu. pull back, regroup and start over, says something very disturbing about us.

5:01AM PDT on Jul 31, 2013

Lovely story!

4:23AM PDT on Jul 20, 2013

am so happy to hear about the rescues of Animal Rescue Front.. Angels appear everywhere to help the forlorn. Thank you and God bless all those who care for the suffering of the strays and shelter-pets.

8:38AM PDT on May 21, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

9:58PM PST on Feb 12, 2012


6:37PM PST on Feb 9, 2012

Whenever I'll win the lottery....

4:15AM PST on Feb 6, 2012

Oh, those poor scared little dogs. Gas chambers should be banned in every state NOW. I don't see any reasoning to wait until 2013.

I wish I had some extra money so I could make a donation. ARF, I will keep you in my thoughts when I do.

7:13AM PST on Feb 2, 2012

Thank you to all who rescue animals.

3:57AM PST on Jan 31, 2012

thanks for sharing this article

5:21PM PST on Jan 30, 2012

i wish i had the resources to donate. sigh. but here's to hoping and wishing for all those poor lovely animals

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

ads keep care2 free

meet our writers

Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!
ads keep care2 free

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.