CARTHAGE, Mo. —
One thousand dogs at one time cared for by the Carthage Humane Society now have "forever homes" after their adoption through shelters in and around Minneapolis.
They are dogs that were picked up at the Carthage shelter for the daylong journeys made by the Rescue Waggin', a program funded by PetSmart Charities designed to improve the odds of adoption for once-homeless dogs.
Glenda Erwin, director of the Carthage Humane Society, said the shelter has been a part of the program for three years.
The local effort has received renewed attention from a web series produced by actor/producer Josh Duhamel. Production crews filmed the local episodes last November, Erwin said.
"They spent a day here, filming the dogs and us getting them ready for the trip. We've gotten a lot of good feedback from it," she said.
In the series, shelter workers tell each dog's story.
The production then "follows" the dogs on the journey as they make the 600-mile trip to a shelter in Green Valley, Minn., a Minneapolis suburb, for a better chance of being adopted.
The first two episodes of the series aired Monday, and two more episodes will be released each Monday throughout March, according to Steve Pawlowski, media relations manager for PetSmart Charities.
The goal is to show the dogs from their beginnings, either being picked up off the street or surrendered at the shelter, to their new homes and the families that adopt them.
One of the featured dogs is Porter, a beagle whose leg had to be amputated after it came to the shelter with a broken scapula.
After the surgery, shelter workers rehabilitated the dog, which was adopted almost immediately after his arrival in Minnesota, Pawlowski said.
"He was on the floor for five minutes before he was adopted," Pawlowski said. "It goes to show the length that organizations like the Carthage shelter will go to save these dogs."
Another focus of the series is Stubby, a long-haired dachshund "adopted" by the Carthage shelter right after the Joplin tornado. Erwin said a couple brought the dog to the shelter, saying it suffered from epilepsy and asking that it be euthanized.
"We had a lobby full of people trying to find their pets because it was right after the tornado. But there was no way I was going to put that dog down; that's not what we're here for," she said.
She got treatment for Stubby, and he's been living happily at the shelter ever since, Erwin said.
"He runs the place. He follows all of us around and goes back into the kennels with the vet," she said. "He greets dogs when they are brought in, and he plays with the cats, which makes it easier if they get adopted by people who already have a dog."
The series includes cameos from celebrity pet adoption advocates including Kristen Bell and Bret Michaels.