Thursday, November 2, 2017

Rescue Road: One Man, Thirty Thousand Dogs, and a Million Miles on the Last Hope Highway - Book Review

Rescue Road Book Review
Heading northward the other day with a vanload of precious cargo, rescue dogs being transferred to prime locations where their adoption chances were vastly improved, I got to thinking about the individuals who do this on a grander scale throughout the year.  What would it be like to be the individual who has driven a million miles to save 30,000 dogs?  Who could sustain that kind of commitment for the long haul?

The who is Greg Mahle and Rescue Road is the inside story of what it takes, week in and week out, to give thousands of dogs a stay of execution.  Animals in high-kill shelters in the South, facilities that kill four out of five dogs due to overcrowding or lack of resources, would have no chance without the network of dedicated volunteers who make it their mission to move dogs away from a sure death via the last hope highway.

When the author, Peter Zheutlin, adopts a lab that had ridden its way to him on Mahle’s eighteen-wheeler, he becomes curious about the intricacies of the rescue operation.  We make the journey with Zheutlin as he rides along with Mahle to immerse himself in the grueling, and yet joyous, work of uniting homeless dogs with their new families.  Over the course of a week, we travel from Ohio to the Gulf coast.

Along the way, we meet the inspirational heroes without whom there would be no future for these abandoned animals.   This is book that celebrates happy endings without glossing over the realities of rescue work.  Anyone who loves dogs, or loves the people who make it their life’s work to save animals, will appreciate this book.

As one who is involved in the rescue mission, I seek out books that will inspire me to continually do more and be more.  Though you and I will most likely never drive one million miles, and though I transport smaller numbers of dogs, the message we can take to heart is this: There is something we each can do to make a difference in the lives of desperate beings.  How we do it is a very personal choice.  Whether we adopt, or volunteer, or donate, or educate, or transport, it all adds up.  The sum of our actions is significant.  I encourage you to read Rescue Road and then to help spread hope wherever it is needed most.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

18 comments:

  1. Diana, I've heard of this book and always meant to read it. Thanks so much for the reminder with your wonderful review this morning. I know you have done your small part in the dog rescue field. Hard to imagine 30,000 rescues. Just goes to show you that caring and determination can accomplish miracles.

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    1. The thing that attracts me to a book like this is the extreme goodness of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. There is so much heart in this story. I love selfless individuals who lift up those in need.

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  2. This sounds like a wonderful book. Bless all of you who volunteer your time to rescue these poor animals. I had an employer who volunteered to be a foster 'parent' for greyhounds who were being rescued from the race tracks in the south. He brought them in to the shop every day to help them in learning socialization skills. I always found it bittersweet when they would go to their new forever families. I was thrilled that they would be happy and loved but sadden to see them go.

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    1. Fosters are so important in the rescue world. What your employer did is something I hope others will be inspired to do. One of the things that makes the most difference for a rescue dog is socialization. My new rescue, Finn, had had no socialization until I began to foster him at the end of July. It just opens up new worlds of possibility and breathes new life into their spirits. I'm sure people looked forward to interacting with that beautiful greyhound at the shop. And yes, we sure miss them when they go, but at the same time, we rejoice in their good fortune.

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  3. This sounds like a wonderful book and one I must read! I admire everyone who volunteers and gives so unselfishly of their time to save pets. I knew the kill rate in shelters was high, but I didn't realize it was 4 out of 5. That is so very sad and that stat alone makes me want to buy a van and start transporting pets to areas with families and homes.

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    1. The rates vary by shelter, but some of the highest kills rates are in the southern states. Like you, I have thought very seriously about purchasing a van and going to get those precious dogs before it is too late for them. I've got my eye on a Sprinter van just like the ones used in the shelters where I work and volunteer. I may start a nonprofit organization and put together a rescue network.

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  4. There are so many causes that are worthwhile and this is one of them. I'm sure that these people make a difference in many other poeple's lives and in the lives of the dogs too! It really is heartwarming to know there are good people out there. Sounds like a really interesting read too!

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    1. So true. The dogs pay forward every kindness by transforming the lives of their rescuers and their new family members. Dogs are so gifted when it comes to lifting others. The lines blur when it comes to who gets the most out of these rescue missions. We need these kinds of stories of goodness and mercy. They remind us that given the chance, many people, if not most, will reach out with love and compassion.

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  5. True dedication by someone who has the desire to make a difference. What a great book review Diana. I admire any volunteer effort for animals and admire you for the work that you do. Thanks for this review!!

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    1. Thanks, Sam. I, too, feel great admiration for individuals who commit acts of love. Exercising compassion changes us all for the good. I feel it's what we are here to do in this world--love others into their full being.

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  6. Thanks Renaissance Woman, for this review. Every time I read stories like this, it brings back my faith in humankind. There are far more good, kind, caring people out there than we know, so I'm glad someone wrote about it. I appreciate your work in the same area and would support any rescue organization you create.

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    1. Thank you, Nancy. Our spirits do need uplifting reminders of the good that is being done in the world. I appreciate your support!

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  7. I've seen some videos of the truck showing up with the dogs and the owners waiting for their new dog. So much joy! I might move back to the states (to Texas) and if so, we will be looking to adopt from this organization. Really great that you raise awareness this way.

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    1. I love following those "Gotcha Day" photos and videos on Facebook. So joyous. I hope you do have the opportunity to be a part of one of those moments. I will be cheering the loudest for you and your new dog.

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  8. One of my sons has currently rescued a dog from execution, and it really does take a special soul to do this and to know and take on the responsibility all for the life of the sweet dog. Your work is to be admired. There really are good people in this world, you're one.

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    1. Please tell your son thank you from me. What he has done matters greatly. Thank you for your kind affirmation. Very much appreciated.

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  9. I'm glad so many give so much of themselves to rescue animals from almost certain death. This sounds like a fascinating book. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

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    1. I love people who see great value in the creature that has been abandoned, discarded, or otherwise devalued. I love those who revere life and protect it against all odds.

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