Roman started his very own dog rescue program he saw so many dogs get put down. At that time, he lived in Texas At just 4 years old, he wanted to help dogs when he found out that many of them never saw life outside of a shelter. Unfortunately, Texas has many kill shelters due to overcrowding or not enough adopting families.
“Me and my mom started going to shelters and making videos for the dogs, and when we moved away from Texas to Washington, we still wanted to help.”
That’s when Project Freedom Ride, their rescue program for shelter dogs, got started. The dog rescue program started by Roman and his mom helps rehome dogs by connecting them with willing adopters. Even though they no longer lived in Texas, they knew many of those dogs still needed loving homes to go to. Fewer dogs up north needed adopting, so they focused on the ones back home who still needed their help.
ROMAN AND MOM START DOG RESCUE, PROJECT FREEDOM RIDE
The program began in December 2016 and is still going strong today. Project Freedom Ride connects unwanted, abandoned dogs (and a few cats) in Georgia and Texas with dog rescues and families in the Pacific Northwest. Jen, Roman’s mom and co-founder of PFR, says they felt inspired to start the program when they got firsthand exposure to kill shelters.
They adopted a dog named Luna from a shelter in Texas while living there from 2013-2016.
She and Roman started volunteering at the shelter, and made videos to get the faces of the dogs out there. However, in the summer of 2016, they had to move to Washington when Jen’s husband got orders to serve overseas. They didn’t want to give up helping the dogs, so they brainstormed how they could still work to rehome them.
Jen would joke with Texas dog rescues about an underground railroad for dogs up to Washington. This blossomed into the dog rescue program they started which still helps thousands of dogs find homes.
“THE WORLD FOR A DOG, GENERALLY SPEAKING, WAS SO MUCH BETTER UP HERE IN WASHINGTON THAN DOWN THERE IN TEXAS. SO IT WAS BORN….ON DECEMBER 6TH, 2016 PROJECT FREEDOM RIDE HAD ITS FIRST TRANSPORT OF 31 DOGS FROM TEXAS TO WASHINGTON.”
THE DOG RESCUE FLOURISHED
“Since then, Project Freedom Ride has saved almost 2,000 dogs (and some cats) from euthanasia. We have grown very organically over the years which is what we love, we believe people recognize the love, compassion, and hard work of our “group” and want to get behind our cause. We are constantly growing and expanding; in no way did Roman or I see this when we had our first transport,” Jen says on their website.
Now, they have started to coordinate transports to other parts of the U.S., as they now live in Georgia. Roman’s dream of helping dogs find loving homes continues to expand, and other people seem to share this dream with him. The fight to save dogs from euthanasia and find adopters has spread all over the country, and the journey is just beginning.
Roman says he’s always grown up with dogs. So he wanted other dogs to get the chance of having a good life, too. “We’ve been helping for a long time, and I believe that no dog deserves a life in a kennel,” he says. Roman loves seeing dogs go from living in a cement shelter to a comfortable home where their families adore them. Dogs in shelters hardly get interaction with other dogs or humans, and don’t have much outdoor time.
He lives for the happy moments where a dog that would’ve been euthanized gets adopted by a loving family. He says this makes it all worth it, because every dog deserves to have a full life outside of a shelter.
“I wanted to help, so I did something. As that grew, I had the abilities to help others.”
FINAL THOUGHTS ABOUT PROJECT FREEDOM RIDE
As the word spread about his dog rescue program, other groups started helping out as well. Roman said that they went from helping one dog at a time to thousands of dogs each month. He doesn’t want to stop until every dog out there finds a good home and gets to live its best life. At a young age, he realized his mission on Earth, and his passion for helping dogs never went away.
“I want to play my part very well to help this world become a better place for all those unwanted animals.”
He says if you want to get involved with helping rehome shelter dogs, you can take action in many different ways. “You can foster, you can adopt and volunteer, and you can donate. At the end of the day, all those things can help this world become a better place for all those unwanted animals.”
If you’d like to help Project Freedom Ride directly, you can donate on the website, buy PFR merchandise, or adopt one of their dogs. All transports depend entirely on donations, so every little bit counts. They say that transports can cost anywhere from $5,000 – $15,000 per month depending on the transporter and number of dogs. Texas rescues take care of all vet costs pre-transport, so the operation truly depends on the public to continue.
We can all do our part to help abandoned dogs, because every animal should get a chance at a fulfilling life. No matter if you adopt, donate, foster, or volunteer, your efforts matter. For more information about Project Freedom Ride, please visit their website here.