Tony Alsup’s school bus is making rounds just ahead of Hurricane Florence. And he’s picking up unadoptable, leftover dogs and cats from animal shelters along the way.
Alsup’s a trucker from East Tennessee who sort of stumbled into his role as an animal-hero. He’s saved countless animals from natural disasters and transported much-needed medical supplies to disaster zones. Funnily enough, his rescue missions began with a misunderstanding.
A year ago, Hurricane Harvey was desecrating Houston and Alsup saw a call for help online, asking anyone who could to help evacuate shelter pets from the storm’s path. Alsup volunteered to transfer pets in his semi-truck, picturing a dog or two up front in the cab with him. The shelter thought he meant he could haul animals in the back of his big-rig, and Alsup showed up to find a line-up of dozens of dogs in crates waiting him.
“You’ve got to be very careful what you say on social media man,” Alsup said. “But I’m a man of my word. If I give you my word, it’s gonna get done. So I said, you know what, why don’t I just go buy a bus?”
So, Alsup bought an old, yellow school bus for $3,200. He filled it with unadoptable dogs and cats, or “the leftovers” as he says, and drove it to safety in Texas. He’s been transporting shelter animals to safety from hurricane zones ever since, occasionally hauling supplies in, too.
“It’s so easy for people to adopt the small pets and the cuties and the cuddly,” Alsup said. “We take on the ones that deserve a chance even though they are big and a little ugly. But I love big dogs, and we find places for them.”
Most recently, he drove into South Carolina ahead of Hurrican Florence, picking up 64 “leftover” dogs and cats and driving them to an awaiting shelter in Foley, Alabama. From there, the animals will be dispersed to shelters throughout the country.