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People Power: Operation Roger

One word: For Sue Wiese, that’s how it started.

Trucker Kris Peters holds Misty, a 22-month-old Jack Russell terrier mix, who he recently transported from a rescue group in Springfield, Mo., to a new home in Prescott Valley, Ariz. Misty is one of many animals Peters has helped relocate through Operation Roger, a volunteer program that matches pets needing a ride to truck drivers heading their way. BRANDY PETERS
Wiese, a pet-loving truck driver from Joshua, Texas, was driving down the road shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, thinking of the pets stranded by the storm. She remembers turning to prayer: “‘Lord, what can I do? I’m just a truck driver.’ And I heard in my head one word, and that was ‘transport.’ And I go, ‘Huh? What do you mean, transport? How am I supposed to transport?’”

After the word came to her, Wiese visited Petfinder.com and realized that the need for responsible long-distance pet transport wasn’t just limited to disaster situations. She screwed up the courage to call Bill Mack’s XM Satellite Radio show for truckers and say, “I’d like to know if there are any truck drivers out there interested in an operation of moving rescued pets across the country using our trucks.” By the end of her 15-minute interview she had about a dozen calls to return.

That day—Sept. 16, 2005—marked the beginning of Operation Roger … Truckers Pet Transport, a nonprofit initiative that uses truck drivers to move pets from animal shelters and rescue groups to new permanent homes.

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