For most Marblehead residents, the thought of a road trip to New Hampshire probably conjures up thoughts of fresh mountain air, ski slopes, and some much-needed vacation time.
But for Carrie Thomas, a Monday drive to New Hampshire is all about the millions of dogs that are killed every year in animal shelters and the puppy mills that are exacerbating the problem.
Thomas, an account executive and co-owner of Chet's Video and Candy Shoppe on Essex Street, is the proud owner of two rescue dogs of her own - Joey and Toby - and said she first heard about The Rescue Road Warriors while browsing Facebook for ways to help.
The Rescue Road Warriors are a group of committed volunteers who help transport rescued dogs on a life-saving trip from Missouri to Maine in the hopes of finding them permanent homes along the way.
Thomas, who joined the group in January 2012, was proud to report that she had completed her 13th Rescue Road Warriors drive on Monday.
More than 200 volunteers are involved in each mission as they transport approximately 80 dogs on a three-day trek from Missouri to Maine.
The group's primary focus is moving dogs of all sizes away from puppy mills and a high-kill shelter in Springfield, Mo., and into the safe and loving environments they deserve.
At each stop across the country, shelter dogs are dropped off to various rescue groups who are willing to place them either into foster care or into the arms of adopters.
Group members often take to Facebook to share photographs of the dogs changing hands along the way.
By the time they reach Massachusetts for Thomas' leg of the trip, up to 20 dogs may still be on-board and in need of a lift to New Hampshire and then Maine.
Depending on the number of dogs still on the quest, Thomas may be part of a larger convoy.
Thomas drives a two-hour leg north, but first has to drive over an hour to reach the pickup location in Western Massachusetts.
Once the dogs are loaded up, Thomas heads north to Portsmouth, N.H., where she hands the pooches off to the next driver and starts the two-hour trip back to Marblehead.
Over the last nine-months that the Rescue Road Warriors have been transporting dogs from the Springfield shelter, not one viable dog has been euthanized.
And in the time that The Rescue Road Warriors have been transporting them, over 4,500 dogs have been brought out of shelters and mills and to safety.
If you are interested in learning more about the Rescue Road Warriors organization or in making a donation that will assist in paying for gas and the purchase of the puppy mill dogs, please Click Here.