by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell
If you’ve ever traveled with one or two of your pooches, you know that it can be a challenge. You have to find places to walk them and if you’re camping out, places to feed and take breaks.
Imagine traveling across country with 25 dogs, 3 RVs and 11 volunteers.
That’s how David Rosenfelt and Debbie Myers moved their band of rescues in 2011 from California to Maine, where they retired.
Rosenfelt, who is a mystery novel writer, penned the non-fiction book, “Dogtripping” about the adventure.
The trip required lots of planning and Rosenfelt wrote, “it made the D-day invasion look like a spur-of-the-moment decision.”
Rosenfelt sat down for a telephone interview with Today and told them that it took 200 feet of portable plastic fencing, which they set up on every stop so the dogs could get out and do their business.
The trip, no doubt, was difficult, but the couple received help from 11 volunteers who were complete strangers to Rosenfelt and Myers until the trip. The volunteers flew from all over the country to take part in a cross-country journey.
Some were fans, others simply dog lovers, but all were up for the copious amounts of poop, drool, pee and other bodily fluids that 25 dogs can produce in a five day cross-country trek.
The couple is not new to the rescue world. They established the Tara Foundation rescue in the mid-90s where they remove dogs from shelters, mostly golden retrievers. However, some of the dogs they remove are mixed breeds.
The Tara Foundation rescue is named after their first golden retriever, Tara, whom they call “The Greatest Dog in the History of the World.” Through the rescue, the couple’s main focus is removing large breed dogs from shelters because the adoption rate is generally lower for larger dogs.
The couple routinely spends $30,000 on veterinarian bills each year, $1,000 per month on food and they administer sometimes up to 80 pills per day to dogs for their various geriatric ailments.
“It takes really special people to adopt elderly dogs, and it takes really, really special people to adopt elderly big dogs,” Cindy Spodek Dickey, one of the volunteers who went on the trip, told Today.
“I mean, if you have any qualms with dog farts, pee, poop, drool and other bodily fluids, then this was not the trip for you,” said Spodek Dickey, president of a marketing and advertising agency in Seattle, who also volunteered for the trip.
“But those dogs! They’d have these huge smiles on their faces. You rarely get to experience love and joy like that. … Every living thing deserves a wonderful life. The world’s a better place because of people like David and Debbie.”
The couple is now settled in Maine where they now have 21 dogs on their property, which Rosenfelt described as so beautiful that it’s like waking up in a Folger’s commercial.
The volunteers who all went on the trip bonded so well that they gave themselves a name, the “merry band of lunatics,” and they hope the book is optioned for a movie.
Editor’s Note: Photo of Rosenfelt as he tells the dogs not to shed in the RVs before the trip from St. Martin’s Press.
What is the largest group of pets you’ve traveled with, have you made a cross country move with your furry kids?