I came across this interview in a free Bay Area newspaper, Fetch back in Nov 2008. Totally loved it - I remember exactly where I was sitting when I first read it:) I've thought of the organization a few times since - was just telling a friend about it the other night. I can't find the interview online, so I'm re-publishing it here.
Nancy Regan is not your ordinary truck driver. For the last two years, she's been working with Operation Roger, a network of truck drivers who help animals find their forever homes by transporting them across the country along their regular trucking routes. Regan, who sits on the board of Operation Roger, transports two or three animals a month.
How did Operation Roger get started?
It was started by a woman named Sue Weiss. She started it after Katrina, seeing how all the animals were abandoned [in New Orleans]. She wanted to do something, so she came up with this idea about rescuing pets. She went on the radio asking if any [truck] drivers were interested in helping her. I think she was shocked at the response she had. She wasn't expecting anybody, but after her initial plea I think 10 drivers volunteered, and there are about 75-80 of us now. We're three years old and to date we have transported 303 animals.
Why is it called Operation Roger?
Roger was one of Sue's little doggies, and he rode with her for about four years and then died unexpectedly. She named it after him.
How are the animals transported?
We require that cats be transported with a crate so they don't escape when we open the doors. Most of the dogs are transported without crates unless they're known to be a runner or the shipper prefers them to be in a crate. Otherwise, in my truck they're free to roam. They sleep with me and eat with me.
Have you ever had a problem with a dog?
Oh yeah! I had one particular one named Cody. He was an Australian Blue Heeler and he was wild, untamable, chewed everything he could get his mouth on in my truck. One night he chewed two inches off my braid while I was sleeping. He did an even cut, that was the only good thing.
A lot of them are abused or neglected, and you've got to handle them with kid gloves. You get some scared of their own shadow, they get in a corner and stay there. Others think it's their playground and romp around.
What do you do when a dog gives you trouble?
Just dog-proof your truck as fast as you can and get them where they're going quick. Some drivers put muzzles on, but I'm not an advocate of muzzles. I figure they've been through enough, and anyway there's not much left for anybody to chew in here.
Where do the dogs come from?
Most come from rescue groups that are pulling dogs from shelters. We've also done military moves for people who get re-stationed somewhere in the US and can't take their pet. A friend or family member will hang onto it for a few weeks, and then we'll come get it and bring it to the owner.
Have you ever fallen in love with one of the dogs you were transporting?
Goodness, yes. My first one, Jackson. I was almost going to keep him. He enjoyed pulling everything down; I have lots of figures on the dashboard and he would pull them down one by one. He ended up going to a good home in the San Diego area. And Lucy, we just dropped Lucy off the other day. She's a Rhodesian Ridgeback, an absolute sweetheart.
Do you keep track of the dogs after you drop them off?
I usually call the next day to see how they did that night. Then I wait a couple of weeks and call to see how things are going. And I have visitations with some dogs, like Jackson and Lucy. I absolutely love knowing I'm taking these pets to a new home and a new life!
For more about Operation Roger check out the org's website and Facebook page.