Special delivery: Utah animal rescue set to receive 39 stray and abandoned dogs from New Mexico

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Courtesy of Tiny Paws Rescue

GARLAND, Utah (ABC4) – It’s hard to imagine anything more delightful than a trailer full of dogs making their way down the road.

Tarsha Murray, who works as the foster coordinator for Tiny Paws Rescue, a foster pet placement organization in Box Elder County, is expecting to receive a special delivery of 39 dogs, both puppies and adults, this weekend. She’s confident the emotions will be high and strongly felt when the ‘packages’ arrive on Saturday.

“It’s overwhelming when you see those dogs coming because you know that you’re giving them a second chance at life,” she explains to ABC4.com.

It’s not an exaggeration, the animals set to make a new home in Utah would very likely meet their demise in New Mexico, a state with a high-kill rate in its animal shelters. Murray explains that one shelter in particular in Socorro takes in over 100 stray and owner-surrendered dogs a week.

“There are dogs everywhere down there,” she says of the New Mexico stray animal landscape. Due to shelter overpopulation, many stray or surrendered animals in New Mexico are euthanized, despite the best efforts of shelter workers to find new homes for them. In a last-ditch attempt to save the animals’ lives, many shelters in high-kill states, including the one in Socorro, reach out to rescues in other states, pleading to save them.

Tiny Paws has answered the call on three previous occasions.

“The shelter is bringing them to us, that’s how desperate they are,” Murray explains. “This is the second time they’ve driven puppies and dogs to us.”

On their way to the rescue, the dogs will be carefully placed in travel kennels and placed in a temperature-controlled trailer before making the 12-hour journey away from their deaths and to a new home in Utah.

Once they arrive to meet Murray at the Tractor Supply Store in Perry on Saturday, the canines will be placed in the care of a foster dog family until they find a permanent adoptive home. The dogs will cross state lines fully vaccinated, with some of the puppies needing just a couple of additional shots, ready to be picked up. Murray shares she and others will also implant microchips in the dogs upon their arrival.

From there, the dogs will head to a new foster home. Murray says she advised folks who follow Tiny Paws on social media about the incoming pups less than a month ago. She’s been ‘shocked’ at the response. 

“Normally, we get a lot of cat fosters, but this time, we’ve gotten a lot of people that want to foster dogs for us,” she says.

Fostering a dog isn’t too demanding, she says. All that is asked is to provide a loving home where pretty much the only need is to teach the dogs to walk on a leash and eat a healthy diet. Murray has fostered both dogs and cats for a few years now. A few of the animals have stayed with her for good.

“We foster them until they get adopted, no matter what,” she says, explaining that she and her wife have only adopted three dogs. “They’re just part of my house. Eventually, they’ll get adopted if they don’t, they live here with me.”

Regardless of where the dogs that once roamed the streets of New Mexico end up when they arrive in Utah on Saturday, Murray says it’ll be overwhelming to greet the canine delivery in person.

“You get choked up when they open that door and all these little faces look at you,” she says, fighting back tears. “They look at you and they’re like, ‘Oh, we’re gonna be in a loving home!’ It’s very rewarding to know that you’re saving 39 lives that would probably have been put to sleep down in New Mexico if it wasn’t for us.”

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