GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- Volunteers from Lucky 7 Dog Rescue in Green Bay travel thousands of miles to bring dogs from states with overcrowded shelters to Wisconsin for their best chance at finding a forever home.
According to Maddy Szymanski, president and founder of Lucky 7 Dog Rescue, 80-percent of dogs fostered and adopted through the non-profit organization come from Houston, Texas through a rescue called Lola's Lucky Day.
"If we were to look outside right now, we'll see squirrels, but we're not going to see packs of dogs," said Szymanski. "Down in Houston, it's just a little bit different. They're working really hard down there to change the way people view their animals, to treat them as members of the family, to spay and neuter them, get them vaccinated, and keep them forever."
The back room at Lucky 7 Dog Rescue is filled with supplies used during the transport process. That includes everything from kennels to dog food to toys and blankets.
"We have volunteers that will sometimes drive all the way down to Houston to pick up dogs. Other times, they will meet Houston-based volunteers in Arkansas for kind of a halfway point and then bring the dogs back to Wisconsin," said Szymanski.
However, the local rescue does not have its own van, a tool they say could maximize the amount of dogs they can help.
"It would allow us to be able to save an additional 30 dogs a month. It would allow us to be able to partner with other rescues here in the state of Wisconsin to be able to take dogs in," said Szymanski. "One thing we really want to do with it is provide low cost vaccinations for low income families here in the state."
Lucky 7 Dog Rescue coordinates approximately two transport trips every month; however, those trips do not always go as planned.
"We try to be super flexible. We had some dogs that were supposed to be joining us today [Saturday] from Florida, but they had something come up," said Szymanski. "They weren't able to do it with the weather. They weren't able to do it on their end with some things that fell through."
Once the dogs do arrive in Wisconsin, it does not mean adoption right away.
"When the dogs come up here, sometimes they're a little stressed. They're in a new environment," said Taylor Amburgey, adoption supervisor with Lucky 7 Dog Rescue. "They might show their true personalities at first, so it's really important that their foster families get a while to settle in. Then, eventually their true personalities will come out."
There are plans to welcome two more groups of dogs in transports scheduled for the last two weekends of January.
Szymanski says the goal is to raise enough money to purchase a van in 2019. The rescue has already raised $7,000 in just one month and needs another $40,000 to make the van a reality.
Along with financial donations, Szymanski says Lucky 7 Dog Rescue is looking for volunteers willing to drive on transport trips. Once enough money is raised to purchase a van, she hopes to host a class for people who are interested.