Yes, that's a Kerry sitting next to a Pit Bull in Tom Beard's truck.
And they got along just fine.
All of these words could be applied to Tom Beard, our big rig trucker who doubles as a Rescue Super Hero. The Kerry Blue terrier rescue group found Tom when we needed a transport from St. Louis to Denver for a lovely rescue Kerry named Goody. Rescue coordinator Mimi Karsh found Tom and worked with him on setting up the trip for Miss Goody, who proved to be as good as her name on this long haul.
Since 2004, Tom has transported over 1800 rescue animals on his regular run from Colorado to New Jersey and back, making stops at key cities along the way. This makes him a treasure for all rescue groups.
He has transported dogs, cats, Guinea pigs, a ferret and even an injured hawk. The hawk was found in a field with a broken wing and needed transport to
a hawk recovery shelter. Along the journey, Tom had to feed the hawk freeze dried rats twice a day! He has gotten skunked along the way, bitten in
the face, been protected from a possible robber by a dog in the cab, had to chase runaways across fields, and had the inside of his cab chewed up by
nervous rescue pugs. He has transported special needs animals including one who was blind and an Irish setter on his way to rehab after being hit by
a car and sustaining a broken leg.
When asked how he got started doing rescue transport, Tom said someone asked him to do one transport, then they told two people, who then told two people.. you get the picture. Tom seems to have a special skill at welcoming new rescues and getting them to travel so willingly with him. He uses the tried and true technique of meeting and greeting a strange new dog: he sits down on their level and waits for them to come to him. He says "I let the dog decide" when to make me a friend. It works for everyone involved.
The majority of his transports feel comfortable enough to ride right next to him in the cab, where they can keep each other company. His Facebook page is covered with photos of various rescues happily lying about in the cab or with their heads on his lap. Tom truly does seem to be able to charm even the most nervous, skittish rescue.
Most of Tom's rescues come from shelters, from veterinary offices or simply from people who bring those to him much like Mimi did with Goody. He also transports for two veterinarians in Missouri that work closely with puppy mills gone bad.
In addition to transporting rescues, Tom has fostered, fostered to adopt, and currently has five dogs of his own, all res cues. Little Chloe is really his mother's "baby" acting as the Drill Sergeant of the entire group. Chloe was rescued from a sewer in Wyoming along with her one surviving puppy who was quickly adopted into another home!
Back to the tale of Goody and Tom: first there was a three week wait until Mimi could get space in Tom's truck - that's how busy a rescue transport he is. Imagine Mimi's surprise and concern when she went to drop Goody off with Tom and saw that there was already another rescue dog in the cab: a pit bull! Tom told her not to worry-and he was right. The two of them became good friends during the trip and Tom had a good time with both of them.
When asked why he does this, Tom says it is great company for his long hauls which can be lonesome. But the best part he says is you can treat them like grand kids: "spoil them and then give them back"!
For Tom it is truly a "labor of love" and we at the KBTF are very grateful for Tom's big heart, big cab and bigger than life willingness to share his life and travels with rescues of all kinds. He makes a positive difference in their lives and ours. Thank you, Tom Beard. Keep on truckin.....