An unlikely pair of dogs and more than a dozen volunteers are redefining the meaning of a road trip this week as they head across the country on a mission that will deliver the inseparable canines to their new home.
Bubba is a 120-pound deaf and epileptic pit bull who hates traveling anywhere without his best friend and "guide dog" Brandi, a 65-pound Staffordshire terrier who's very protective of her disabled buddy. The duo is on a nine-day, 3,000-mile journey from Petaluma, Calif., to their new foster home in Hollywood, Fla., -- all with the help of animal lovers across the country.
"It's an amazing organization," said Julie Page, transport coordinator for Bubba and Brandi's trip with Kindred Hearts Transport Connection, which will move through South Mississippi on Friday. "It's kudos to the drivers. These people give up their gas and their time."
More than 17,500 people across America are members of the KHTC Facebook group that coordinates state-to-state transfers from across the country. Volunteers get on Facebook and elect to drive legs of the trip to get the animals -- which sometimes means hamsters, goats, birds and ponies -- to their new homes.
Wendy Kennedy of Biloxi, who volunteers religiously with the Humane Society of South Mississippi, is one of about 20 drivers who are helping Bubba and Brandi get home.
"Those two would have possibly been separated, and he needs her," she said. "It's a different kind of rescue. We're trying to get to them before they get into a shelter, especially a special needs dog."
Kennedy said the drivers who have finished their legs of the trip have been posting on Facebook about falling in love with the dogs.
"They're supposed to be awesome, two people have posted about wanting to adopt them," she said.
Page said Bubba and Brandi definitely have a unique relationship.
"They are a bonded pair," she said. "Since he's completely deaf, she leads him around by his ear. They just can't be separated."
Bubba is known for being more of a "lug," preferring to spend his time lounging in the sun or on a cool tile floor, while Brandi has more energy. Page said Brandi is skittish when someone touches her, which is a clue that she may have been abused or harshly disciplined earlier in her life.
Jodie Johnson Taylor, who fostered the dogs for a month in California before their journey began, said Brandi is like a caretaker, quick to "check on" Bubba throughout the day.
"Brandi doesn't want (Bubba) out of her sight for any amount of time, she'll come back every now and then if he's laying on the porch and she's playing," she said. "When she's not there, he just looked like he was lost, like he didn't know what to do without her being there."
But for Page, there's a lesson to be learned from Bubba and Brandi.
"If more humans would treat each other like that, it would be a much better world," she said.
Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/2014/04/21/5511756/one-of-a-kind-dog-duo-makes-cross.html#storylink=cpy