51-year-old Tony Alsup hopes to open his own animal shelter one day. Until that dream becomes a reality, he is doing everything in his power to help dogs and cats affected by natural disasters.
It started when he learned about the overcrowding in Texas shelters after Hurricane Harvey. The truck driver from Greenback, Tennessee knew he had to help, but he could not transport animals in a semi-trailer.
“I thought, well what can I do?” Alsup told the Washington Post. “I’ll just go buy a bus.”
And the kind-hearted animal lover did just that! Alsup purchased an old yellow school bus for $3,200, removed the seats, and headed to Texas. Since then, he has been transporting pets out of disaster zones across the south. He even traveled to Puerto Rico to assist in animal rescue efforts after Hurricane Maria.
Last week, as the threat of Hurricane Florence loomed, Alsup drove into South Carolina while thousands of others were driving out. He visited shelters in North Myrtle Beach, Dylan, Georgetown and Orangeburg – loading up 53 dogs and 11 cats.
A post on Saint Frances Animal Center’s Facebook page – a Georgetown, S.C. shelter visited by Alsup – praised the trucker’s heartfelt efforts.
With his converted school bus packed from floor to ceiling with crates and pet supplies, Alsup headed to a privately run shelter in Foley, Alabama. From there, the pets were distributed to shelters and foster homes throughout the country to await adoption. Some even found forever homes on the spot!
The Washington Post caught up with Alsup Sunday at a Waffle House outside Fayetteville, N.C. as he stopped for a well-earned rest. He had been on the road since Monday and planned to spend Tuesday searching for more animals in need.
“I’m like, look, these are lives too,” Alsup said. “Animals — especially shelter pets — they always have to take the back seat of the bus. But I’ll give them their own bus. If I have to I’ll pay for all the fuel, or even a boat, to get these dogs out of there.”
Alsup currently runs the non-profit rescue, TEARS (Tony’s Emergency Animal Rescue and Shelter). To make a donation toward his heroic efforts, click here.
H/T to Washington Post
Featured Image via Facebook/Tony’s Emergency Animal Rescue & Shelter
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