Interview by Paul Salfen
When Hurricane Katrina left more than 250,000 pets stranded, the infrastructure of a nation-wide dog rescue effort was born. Since then, millions of Southern rescue dogs have been transported to new homes thanks to the tireless efforts of a grassroots network of dog rescuers. And while the media has popularized the image of dogs climbing out of transport trucks into the arms of eager adopters, little attention has been paid to the other side of the story.
FREE PUPPIES! travels across the country’s political divide to explore one of the many areas where no public animal services exist, and volunteers — many of them women — step in. The story follows rescuers Monda Wooten, Ann Brown, and Ruth Smith, and the network of independent “rescue ladies” who patrol vast rural counties in the Tennessee Valley caring for stray and surrendered dogs. See @wefreepuppies on instagram.
Their grassroots efforts to start up a spay-and-neuter program, rescue countless dogs from euthanasia and neglect, and place them in loving “forever homes” will pluck at the heartstrings of any dog person.