October the 10, 2012
Follow Our Lifesaving Convoy Of Hope For Abused Animals
Gandalf's journey from prison to paradise, on the IDA Freedom Run
You are about to embark on an incredible journey with a beautiful, once-abused dog named Gandalf. We call it "the Freedom Run" - a 24-hour trek covering more than 1,300 miles and climbing through mountain passes that tower 5,000 feet above sea level – all to carry castaway animals from desperate lives of abuse and neglect, and into the waiting arms of forever families.
We'll begin Gandalf's journey in a moment. First I need to explain about the Freedom Run.
In America's Deep South, the few shelters like IDA's Hope Animal Sanctuary are full to overflowing. Spay/neuter programs can't keep up.
But in Colorado, spay/neuter programs are working. There, animals have much better chances of finding a loving family.
Four years ago we came up with a daring plan: why not bring homeless animals from America's Deep South to waiting families out West?
And so "the Freedom Run" was born. Nearly 2,000 abused and abandoned animals, many who were once near death, have now safely made the IDA Freedom Run into the warm embraces of new families in the Colorado area. TWO THOUSAND HAPPY ENDINGS!
Each journey was accomplished because of your generous support. Thank you! But, with such animal overpopulation and gut-wrenching abuse here in the South, our resources are stretched to the breaking point. Click here to donate to IDA today - support the Freedom Run and all of IDA's other life-saving efforts.
The Freedom Run has survived on rental vehicles ... and on the true grit of IDA staff and volunteers. If we had a sturdy truck of our own and a dedicated, climate-controlled transport trailer, we could do so much more.
This is Gandalf's story...
With pale blue eyes and flowing, snow-white fur, Gandalf is a beautiful dog. He is also blind. And tone deaf. He was born this way.
After his family split up, a new person moved in who was not a friend to the gentle dog. Gandalf became the object of scorn and awful physical abuse. Imagine his terror. This sweet blind dog COULD NOT EVEN SEE THE PAINFUL BLOWS COMING!
One day a houseguest witnessed the beatings, and in an instant took Gandalf. With no place to keep the broken little dog, his rescuer turned to the one animal control officer in the entire county.
Thankfully, the officer knew enough to call IDA's Hope Animal Sanctuary.
After months of expert care here at the sanctuary, the gentle dog began to heal. The time had come - Gandalf was ready for his very own Freedom Run.
On this westbound transport and another that followed a few days later, he would join 183 other dogs. Each had a heartbreaking history of neglect, abandonment, or abuse. Some required expensive surgery to patch their wounds. Others were near starvation or ridden with parasites. Most, like Gandalf, needed urgent treatment. Without IDA's Hope Animal Sanctuary, they wouldn't have lasted 48 hours.
Like every trip, we'd been planning Gandalf's Freedom Run for weeks. He couldn't see us, but seemed to feel the excitement as we readied travel crates, gathered supplies and administered boosters ... he accepted his vaccine like a true champion.
Then there are the health checks ... the travel certificates ... and, of course, the rental truck.
It's time-consuming to ready a rental truck – over and over – for every new trip. But since we still lack our own truck and transport trailer, we do the best we can. One look in Gandalf's sky-blue eyes and you would instantly do the same.
We insulated the back of the jumbo box truck and installed strapping to secure 50 crates, then carefully arranged these temporary homes according to the size and needs of each animal. Fans, to circulate air to every cage. And tubs of cooling ice, to be loaded as needed. On a journey that climbs from sea level to nearly 5,000 feet, in a box truck without automatic temperature control, every eventuality must be planned for (and paid for).
Gandalf settled into his travel crate. We patted him softly, trying to conceal our concern over the journey ahead. Our convoy staff and volunteers have seen it all ... a terrifying night and morning of "white knuckle" travel through a howling Colorado Rockies blizzard ... an electrical malfunction that temporarily shut down fans ... torrential rainstorms ... a flat tire on a desolate stretch of road that stalled the transport for six anxious hours.
Precious Gandalf's truck rumbled out of Mississippi and on through the wee hours. Dawn came and went. Tennessee. Arkansas. Oklahoma. Kansas.
Every few hours he felt the rumbling stop for fresh bowls of water and lots of walks. Later, as the truck climbed into the mountains, Gandalf felt a change in the air ...
Thanks to our adoption partner in Colorado, Every Creature Counts, a forever home was waiting for Gandalf. His new family includes two Golden Retrievers, who immediately claimed him as their own – showing our little blind friend the ropes in a way that only animals can.
No longer the object of hurtful scorn and cruel abuse, Gandalf's past is now behind him.
Our next transport is being planned right now. I cannot overestimate the urgency of my request to you today for as generous a donation as you can manage. Please click here to help IDA respond to critical needs all around the globe.
Imagine how many more animals we could transport to new and loving forever homes if we had our own reliable, up-to-date transportation. A truck with extra towing capacity and four-wheel drive for safely transporting both animals and staff through the mountain passes of the Rockies costs approximately $52,000. (The diesel model is a bit more money up front. The engine is more durable, though, and will save on fuel expenses in the long run.) A specially outfitted transport trailer with climate control costs at least $100,000. But properly maintained it should last a decade or more.
If you are able to donate either the cost of the truck or the special transport trailer – or a significant part of the purchase price – you would have my undying gratitude. Any donation of $10,000 or more will be "restricted" and I will ensure that every penny of your generous donation is directed towards the purchase price.
There are also essential ongoing costs for each Freedom Run: fuel ($1,600), heartworm tests for every animal ($1,200), travel crates ($60 to $150 each), flea pills ($400) – that means our expenses can total upwards of $14,000 every time we make the trek to Colorado.
Support IDA, and then each time a Freedom Run rolls out of IDA's Hope Animal Sanctuary, powered by our very own truck – safely towing our very own transport trailer – you will be there beside us.
And each time a sweet friend like Gandalf revels in the embrace of a forever family, his newfound joy will be your joy, too.
On behalf of all the animals on our next Freedom Run, thank you.
Director, IDA's Hope Animal Sanctuary
Support IDA’s life-saving programs like the FREEDOM RUN, that will ensure safe passage to paradise for more abused animals like Gandalf…