Tripawds.com Community Coordinates Cross-Country Rescue Road Trip for abandoned three-legged dog on the brink of euthanasia.
A three legged rescue dog facing euthanasia at an animal shelter in Taos, New Mexico, found a new home 1600 miles away, thanks to the efforts of members from Tripawds.com, an online support
community for canine amputees and their people.
Less than one week after discovering “Baggins” was about to be euthanized at the Stray Hearts Animal Shelter in Taos, Tripawds members coordinated a rescue road trip that took him more than 1,600 miles to Dawn Simas of Auburn, California, who vowed to adopt the dog after seeing his photo on the Tripawds website. The trip involved eight drivers across six states over a 48-hour period, dubbed the “Cannonpaw Run” by the community.
“How sad is it that this boy overcame all that is involved with a leg amputation, only to end up being put down in a shelter?” said Simas in her initial post to the Tripawds Rescue discussion forum. “I want to do
what I can!” she added. This began a thread in which numerous members offered their services to help Baggins get to his new home.
Tripawds co-founder Jim Nelson agreed to drive the longest leg of the journey if someone could get Baggins to Fort Collins, Colorado where he and his wife Rene Agredano are based.
With last minute notice, a Stray Hearts employee drove Baggins from Taos to Santa Fe where Dave Sarver from Bassett Hound Rescue of New Mexico agreed to take him along with another dog being transported to Colorado Springs. Once there, Mary Malone — a Tripawds member and parent to
Nikki, a three legged Rottweiler — fostered Baggins overnight. That night, she updated Nikki’s blog with photos and a description of Baggins for Simas to see what a sweet dog she was getting. The next morning she drove him to Fort Collins the next morning for the next leg of his journey.
From the junction of highways 14 and 287, Nelson drove north to Interstate 80 and headed West. That evening from a Salt Lake City hotel room, he updated the Tripawds website with more pictures from Baggins’ journey. The next day, Baggins headed to Winnemucca, Nevada with Jennifer Bunker — a friend of Simas’ who had seen Nelson and Agredano featured with their three legged cancer dog Jerry in “Nature: Why We Love Cats and Dogs” a 2009 PBS documentary.
From Winnemucca, another friend drove Baggins to meet Simas in Reno, where his new mom took him to his final home in Auburn, CA. “He is just the best dog,” exclaimed Simas. “He loves to run around the pasture and help me in the barn,” she added, a far cry from his shelter experience. Throughout his entire journey, the Tripawds community was updated with frequent posts and dozens of photos in the community’s discussion forum and Facebook page. Tripawds members chimed in with cheers of excitement about each handoff along the way.
“Dawn is very lucky to be getting such a sweet dog,” said Nelson. “He is very calm, loves people, and is an excellent traveler.” Baggins is also very lucky to have been adopted by Simas who’s first three legged dog, Raven, recently succumbed to cancer.
While his time was running short at the Stray Hearts shelter (not a “no-kill” facility), Nelson and Agredano take no personal responsibility for saving the dog’s life. “We couldn’t have done this without the support of the Tripawds community,” said Agredano.
The Tripawds Rescue forum is a free service, which often gets updated with new three legged dogs in need of adoption all over the country. But the Cannonpaw Run was the first time members have coordinated such a rescue road trip. “I doubt it will be the last,” said Nelson. “Amputee” dogs are often hard to find homes for because of the misconception that they are handicapped,” he added, “So we are extremely happy this worked out for Baggins, and for Dawn.”
Nobody knows the history of Baggins, or even his real name. So to commemorate his rescue road trip, Simas officially renamed him Miles upon his arrival. “He went 1500 miles to start his new life, and
inspired so many people along the way, it’s the perfect name,” she explained.
The Tripawds community is a completely volunteer effort run by Nelson and Agredano to provide support for those affected by a cancer diagnosis and/or amputation for their dogs. Launched after their own dog Jerry underwent amputation for bone cancer in 2006, the site shares photos, videos and the stories of others to help prove, “It’s better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.”
Nelson and Agredano were profiled in the recent edition of the Colorado Paw Pages, which details their relocation to Fort Collins. They were featured in Nature: Why We Love Cats on Dogs, which can be viewed online at PBS.org.
Download Archive of Photos from Baggins Rescue Road Trip:
The Baggins Rescue Discussion Forum Topic (Planning and Updates):
Google Map Detailing Baggins Rescue Road Trip:
Update on Colorado Portion of Baggins’ Trip from Mary Malone:
About the Tripawds Blogs Community:
About Jim Nelson and Rene Agredano – How Tripawds Came to Be:
View Nature: Why We Love Cats and Dogs Online (See parts 2 &5):