ROCKINGHAM — For the past three years, Pat and Ronnie Webb have made monthly trips to Texas and California to save dogs from kill-shelters and bring them to the east coast to find rescues capable of keeping them moving until they find forever homes.
But when their van broke down — with Ronnie Webb stranded in California following two December heart attacks — their transport ground to a halt.
“We had a percolator filter and a turbo boost go out at the same time,” Pat Webb said. “We brought it to Hendrick (Motors) in Charlotte, and they gave us a quote on what it would cost to get it fixed. We raised about $1,140 and I’ll have to borrow some to get the total goal of $4,600. And that will have to come out of my social security check. As soon as I can finish borrowing the money and get it paid for, I’ll be going out to California to pick up my husband.”
She explained that she wanted to fly her husband home, but his medical team said he should not fly so soon after having a pair of stints put in.
Wheels 4 Paws, created in 2012 as a shelter-to-rescue transport for dogs running out of time and in danger of being euthanized, is a 501-3C nonprofit. The Webbs, both retired truck drivers and life-long animal welfare advocates, decided to make the most of their retirement by putting their skills to work for the good of animals.
“We contain it to dogs 20 lbs and under because of space in our home,” Pat Webb said. “The upper East Coast area is where demand for these dogs is high. And even though we transport any size dogs, our basic rescue is for small breed dogs and we have foster homes for them out there. When they are taken out of the shelter, if there is vetting that they need that hasn’t been done, we get that done. Then, they are in a foster home for 10 days.”
Pat Webb said she and her husband have worked with the Richmond County Animal Advocates at times, and have also monitored the giving away of dogs on the popular One Man’s Junk Facebook pages.
“We were both animal lovers, especially of dogs who didn’t have anyplace to go,” she explained. “We can’t actually keep a lot of them in our home, so we had to find a way to get them out of the kill shelters and into rescues. Beth Ruben does a lot of the work for us, behind the scenes work. Beth is a life-saver. She’s the one who pulls dogs out of California who are on a euthanization list, does the coordination to get them out of the shelter.”
Ruben, Pat Webb said, works out of her home in West Virginia, specializing in logistics.
The Webbs are still accepting donations toward the cost of having the van repaired. Patt Webb said Fidelity Bank is accepting donations on behalf of the cause, in addition to a GoFundMe account and a “Donate” button on the organization’s Facebook page.
For more information, visit Wheels 4 Paws on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Wheels4Paws.
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @meloniemclaurin.