Volunteer drivers transport adoptable pets in New York

Volunteers in New York drive adoptable pets to adoption events, street festivals, parades and more in order to help them find loving forever homes.
By Denise LeBeau

Spencer the gray cat and DebraBest Friends Animal Society–New York is dedicated to helping pets from Animal Care & Control of NYC find their forever homes. Best Friends–New York places shelter pets in foster homes, so they can enjoy life in a temporary home until they are adopted. But geography is a challenge because many city dwellers don’t have cars and Best Friends’ adoption program in New York spans the tri-state area. Thankfully, it’s a challenge easily overcome by the efforts of volunteer drivers willing to chauffeur pets from one place to another to help them find great homes.

Volunteer drivers transport pets looking for homes

The Best Friends–New York adoption program utilizes foster homes throughout the five boroughs, and each month brings pets to as many as a dozen adoption events, street festivals and parades. Transporting pets to the events isn’t always possible for foster parents. That’s where the volunteer drivers step up.

Tammy Heeber, Best Friends–New York volunteer and outreach coordinator, appreciates the tremendous work of the volunteers. “Our events take place all around the city — uptown, downtown, from Coney Island to the Bronx, and beyond. Our transport volunteers ensure that our pets are seen by every type of adopter out there, which is crucial to helping get more animals into homes.”

Being a volunteer driver is a great fit for Debra Jenkins, despite her busy schedule. “The decision to help transport animals for Best Friends–New York was a no-brainer,” says Debra.

She relishes the one-on-one time with the animals as she drives them, and it also gives her an opportunity to get to know their personalities better so she can be more helpful once they arrive at the adoption event.

“I’m usually asked what the animal is like, so spending that time with them allows me to answer with confidence,” says Debra. She is also thrilled about her contribution to helping the special pets find homes. “I know I’m giving these animals a chance to get in front of potential pet parents.”

Tia the dog and DebA rewarding volunteer job

Getting around town can also be fun for both passengers and people. Eight-year-old terrier mix Tia is one of Debra’s repeat passengers and she’s packed with personality. Tia is the shotgun queen. While traveling from Brooklyn to Manhattan through a tunnel, they pass through a police checkpoint, where, Debra says, “Tia loves to give kisses to the police officers.”

For Debra, getting Tia where she needs to be to find her perfect person is all in a day’s work. “I love the fact that Best Friends is a true no-kill organization. It’s a great feeling knowing that every animal they rescue is safe.”

Get involved

Help more pets go from homeless to home by becoming a Best Friends member.

Learn more about helping save lives coast to coast via Best Friends local programs.

Photos by Best Friends staff and courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society–New York