Image via Project Freedom Ride/Facebook
Since December 2016, 7-year-old Roman McConn rescued over 1,000 dogs from euthanasia.
Roman, with the help of his mother Jen McConn, established what she calls an “underground railroad” for dogs. The project--called Project Freedom Ride--was established two years ago to transport dogs from kill shelters to safe and loving homes.
Roman always wanted to rescue animals, ever since he was a young child. “Roman opted to forgo birthday gifts on his fourth birthday and get money to help a rescue that he had seen on a pretty regular basis,” McConn tells Inside Edition.
When the two went to adopt their dog, Luna, from a high-kill shelter in Texas, they were disheartened by the volume of dogs in the shelter that were to be euthanized. “I was sunk,” McConn says on the Project Freedom Ride Facebook page. “I became heavily involved with volunteering at the local shelter, with Roman’s help in making videos to help network the dogs.”
When the family moved to Washington state, McConn became inspired. “I would joke with Texas Rescues about an underground railroad for dogs up to Washington because the world for a dog, generally speaking, was so much better up here in Washington than down there in Texas.”
The rest was history. The first transport mission began shortly thereafter, successfully moving 31 dogs from Texas to Washington. Today, the duo rescues dogs from high-kill shelters at a rate of about 50 pups a month.
The rescue mission works like this: the Project Freedom Ride team works with Texas Rescues who pull dogs from their kill shelters and place them in waiting programs. The two then look for adopters or receiving partners in the Pacific Northwest to take them in. The process takes roughly 4 weeks and costs about $11,000 per month.
McConn tells the outlet that the most rewarding part of the project is witnessing the connection between the dogs and their new family.
“They develop this bond and this love for a dog they’ve never even met and then when they have that moment where everything comes together, it’s very overwhelming for some of them," McConn says.
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