Jamie, the 2-year-old Tucson Brown Dog who become a favorite with the volunteers who run with the pups at Pima Animal Care Center, is on the road.
And she's riding in comfort to her new family in Milwaukee.
Barry Gillaspie, whose wife, Jennifer, is a PACC volunteer, offered to drive Jamie in his RV, says Christy Holliger, who put out a call on social media last week to help the young dog reach her new home.
Holliger, who started the Tucson Ruff Runners after seeing how high-energy dogs at PACC benefited from runs, said the volunteers had taken a special interest in Jamie, describing her as an exceptionally smart pup with a lot of energy — a combination that requires just the right home.
The volunteers were getting worried because Jamie was on her third stint at PACC; she had been adopted twice and returned each time.
"She's the kind of dog who needs a lot of physical exercise and mental stimulation, and who will become bored if you put her in the backyard and don't make her part of the family," Holliger said.
Hillary Biscay, a local pro triathlete and animal lover, believed she knew the perfect family — friends of hers who enjoy running and already have an energetic sister dog who wants a playmate.
The only hold up was that they live in Milwaukee, more than 1,600 miles away.
Airline travel is difficult from Arizona because of the extreme summer heat, so the volunteers decided that a car trip, despite the distance, was the best option.
Holliger put out a call for help and the offers started coming in. Some were from people in other states who could take Jamie part of the way."Most of the people we talked to were really wonderful," Holliger said. A number of local people also volunteered to take Jamie into their homes and care for her until her transport could be coordinated.
The volunteers were working to connect the dots when the Gillaspies stepped forward.
Barry Gillaspie had "a window of opportunity" — and an RV, Holliger said. "They left early this morning and will arrive Thursday afternoon."
Although the volunteers equipped the RV with a dog crate and a dog bed, Jamie settled into the front passenger seat.
"They're going to have a fun trip," Holliger said, quoting Gail Levique, the volunteer and runner who worked the most closely with Jamie.
The Tucson Ruff Runners have created a Facebook page that follows Jamie's roadtrip — www.facebook.com/JamiesFreedom Gillaspie will be sharing photos and notes about his travels with Jamie.
You can also learn more about the Tucson Ruff Runners at Facebook.com/TucsonRuffRunners
Jamie is the first dog that these volunteers have helped place out of town. And while Holliger says that it isn't ideal to send a dog across the country to live with a family she's never met, the volunteers are excited about the opportunity for Jamie to live with Biscay's friends.
Jamie's new home has been a team effort. Biscay has funded most of the trip, and Levique took care of all the details and arrangements to make it all happen, Holliger said. Others have offered to help with the hotel costs.
"We learned a lot from this experience and especially were amazed at how many people stepped up to offer help," Holliger said.