Road Trip: Mexican Dogs for Americans and Canadians

April 11, 2022
Annette Thompson

This post is also available in: Français (French) Español (Spanish)

If you were on the road from Ajijic to Phoenix, Phoenix to Portland or Portland to Seattle, between March 17 and March 19, you might have passed a 38 ft red bus with Rescue Express written on its sides. Leaving The Ranch in Chapala, Mexico early morning on March 17th, seventy lucky dogs began their journey to furever homes.

Over the next three days, the Rescue Express delivered dogs to Phoenix, Portland, Seattle, and the US/Canadian border. 

Made possible through the generosity of Mike McCarthy and his MGM Animal Foundation, Mike donated the Rescue Express to Bone Voyage to use, free of charge, to further its efforts to send as many dogs as possible from Mexico to homes north of the border, where shelters cannot meet the demand. MGM owns the bus, covers all repairs, pays the insurance, and often provides money for gas. 

Several local shelters, including The Ranch, Lucky Dog, and SOS, as well as Bone Voyage foster homes, selected the dogs for the March trip. This is the fourth trip for the Rescue Express since Cari LeClair, Bone Voyage founder, received a visit from Mike McCarthy two years ago. The owner of Three Little Pitties, one of Bone Voyage’s rescue partners in Houston Texas, mentioned Cari’s name to Mike and the rest is history.

Everything related to each trip of the Rescue Express is handled by volunteers. Beginning with taking the dogs to the vet for required vaccinations and paperwork, to washing the bus, assembling 70-80 crates, arranging the crates inside the bus, to stocking the bus with sufficient food, water, dog treats, emergency medications, pee pads, trash bags, and paper towels to manage 3 days on the road. And then, there’s driving the bus. Three teams of 2 volunteers each drove a segment of the six day round trip. At the first major stop in Phoenix, a dozen volunteers met the bus to take the dogs off of the bus, walk, water and give treats. In Seattle, more volunteers break down all of the crates to make room for crates being returned from flights North. The bus then heads home.

abington spca

All trips begin in Lake Chapala, an hour south of Guadalajara, home to many wonderful and generous Mexicans, Americans, and Canadians. Expenses for the trip include veterinary procedures required to travel cross-border, preparation of USDA health certificates, supplies for the trip, and transportation expenses for some volunteers. Costs are paid for by adoption donations and the generous community (US, Canada, and Mexico) support of Bone Voyage.

For our recent March 17th trip north, we raised just over $1100 USD ($1400 CAD, $23,000 MXN) to help mitigate costs for fuel, staff meals and lodging and supplies. We can only do this journey  with your support and we thank you for your donations!

So if you ever see a 38 ft red bus with Rescue Express on it, wave hello, honk your horn, and say thank you for the efforts of so many to send seventy dogs on a journey home!

Help them have their forever home

We fly dogs to Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Seattle, Portland, plus any other city we have a flight angel for.