A Man, A Mini-Bus, and 7,000 Happy Pups!


Meet Steve Quilliam. Over the past two years, with the help of a team of tireless volunteers at Grateful Doggies Canine Freedom Transport Company, Steve has transported an estimated 7,000 dogs from high kill shelters in the south to foster and furever homes in the north.

12227803_1671058586445364_3098318416998639134_n(Source: Grateful Doggies)

Dedicated to his mission of rescuing high-risk dogs, Steve loads up his mini-bus with 40-50 dogs each week and makes the 900-mile trek north.

1483137_10200105048305146_2963648281058002641_n(Source: Grateful Doggies)

What compels him to make this weekly run? Compassion. Love. And a simple desire to give these animals a second chance.

“If I don’t pick these dogs up, they die,” said Steve in his Daily Voice interview. Unfortunately, he’s right.

Shelters in the “rural south…are overrun, with kill rates ranging from 50 to 95 percent. Even where adoptions are encouraged, low population density makes them rare.” (Source NY Times)

12240086_1671058709778685_8296281230250158304_n (Source: Grateful Doggies)

According to the NY Times, over the past decade, “Hundreds of thousands of dogs have been transported north from overcrowded facilities in the rural South.”

The problem is very real and very complicated, but the major contributing factors are:

  1. Weak and unenforced leash laws.
  2. A lack of education regarding responsible pet ownership practices.
  3. Minimal access to affordable spay and neuter services (vs. the North where low cost spay and neuter programs are more the norm).

If we expect to fix this problem, and reduce kill rates in the south, we need to address these issues head on. Steve agrees and says, although he’s grateful for the community’s response to Grateful Doggies, he hopes that what they’re “doing eventually won’t be needed anymore” and that we see “more responsible pet ownership… and some legislation for spay and neuter programs.”

Until the day comes when angels like Steve aren’t needed to save our furry friends, you can help by:

  1. Continuing to advocate for pet adoption
  2. Emphasizing the importance of responsible pet ownership
  3. Contacting your local government about implementing affordable spay and neuter programs to help control the pet population and minimize the number of animals that end up in shelters.

Steve, from animal lovers everywhere…

THANK YOU! We are so grateful for your work.

Here are some of the faces Steve has saved over the past two years.

By Bailey Schroeder, ResQwalk Founder + CEO

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