A Special “Spirit” Finds Dogs a Home in the Unlikeliest of Places
For years, Susanne Spirit has been finding permanent homes for shelter dogs in one of the most unexpected settings – truck stops. Susanne holds adoption events at various truck stops across Southern California as part of the Musical Truckin’ Dogs Adoptions Program. The program’s primary goal is to save and re-home dogs that have been placed in emergency shelters, which – due to lack of funding and overcrowding – are often forced to put the animals to rest. Susanne has made it her mission and has succeeded in saving several dogs on death row.
Why truck stops, you ask? As a child, Susanne and her mom often found themselves in trouble while traveling between California and Minnesota. When Susanne and her mom needed help, truck drivers were the ones who came to their rescue. Susanne now has a chance to return the favor.
Susanne describes truckers as a group in need of some company but being constantly on the move can make it difficult for them to adopt a dog. Countless truckers have told Susanne how they were rejected by a shelter because” they did not have a real home”. Susanne saw it a differently.
“To see so many animals killed despite there being a group desperately wanting to give them a new home was too much for me. I blew up,” she said. “If I had a dog I could not keep, the only person I would give my pet to is a trucker! No one takes care of their animals like these people do. They love their pets unconditionally. They buy them the best food, the best toys and every dog has a soft bed, his own pillow, and life is good.”
Susanne puts on adoption fairs several times a week with the help of her husband Michael and several volunteers. If that’s not impressive enough, no matter where an event is held, each ends with live country music entertainment from “Susanne Spirit and The Greenland Holler Band”. Along with being these dog’s guardian angel, Susanne also happens to be an honored CMA artist!
We were inspired by Susanne’s story and wanted to help her unique program. KONG supports the program with seconds toys, treat samples, and our special KONG adoption bags, including tips for the new pet parent.
“The animals love these toys,” says Susanne, “It takes their minds off the horrendous ordeals they have all just experienced. Your gifts in those bags mean the world to these precious souls. When we first get the dogs they are all so hungry! Most of them have never had a treat. We gave a hamburger patty to each baby, and most of them have no idea what to do with it.”
KONG is not the only ones to recognize the amazing work of Susanne and her crew. Last September, during “National Trucker Appreciation Week,” television actor, John Ratzenberger, best known as Cliff Clavin on Cheers, made a special appearance and lead a walk-a-thon for the drivers and helped end their concert with the program’s usual closing song, “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands.”
In May 2012, The Musical Truckin’ Dogs Adoption Program reached 1400 adoptions.