Tammi Armstrong, a Transport Coordinator with Second Chance Rescue in NYC joins us today to talk about her start in animal rescue less than a year ago. Like many of us, she fell into this industry and never looked back. She has definitely found her passion in life and has helped coordinate well over 300 transports to date. Tammi enjoys meeting new people, building relationships and of course, saving lives!
Welcome to the Professionals and Animal Rescue podcast, where goal is to introduce you two amazing people helping animals and share how you can get involved with animal rescue. This’ll Podcast is probably sponsored by do bert dot com. Do Bert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters and the only site that automates rescue relay transport. Now on with our show, Tommy is a passionate and results driven marketing and sales professional with 20 years of proven experience and leadership, customer acquisition and brand management. She was an innovative and revenue increasing expert with successful history bridging the gap between partnership development and brand loyalty. She’s a creative and avid social media engagement ambassador, demonstrating the ability to build consensus among leadership and team members. Well, generating growth opportunities for leveraging analytics and strategy to drive conversion or intention growth. And she loves animals. Hey, Tammy, thanks for coming on. Thanks so much for having Chris. So tell us a little bit about you and kind of your background and journey into animal rescue. I’ve always been I have three pit mixes myself. Actually, I had to when I started an animal rescue. I just had to. And I have been I was out of town a year ago. Today is better of that on. We’re fostering a couple of dogs that we’re going to move on to Michigan. And I had a dock center that I had for a while with me here at the house. He was here in the house of the dogs. Why was going my oldest dog, Petey, was involved in an unfortunate accident with the job center where he needed to go to the emergency bet on. I came down and I got there and of course, I called in the cage with him. You know, he was he was hurt. He was hurt pretty bad, required some surgery, and he was there for about 10 days. But they put it back together again. Okay, s So he’s It’s been a year ago today since this happened and I took some awesome pictures of it wound thing on the couch, and he’s just he’s just things like the best job. But so about sure, three weeks later, I get a text message from the surgeon and she’s got another pit mix there and and she’s been attacked at the shelter because of overcrowded you’d show and they turn on each other, even the best of dogs. So here’s this dog who was a greeter doctor with shelter who got turned on overnight, and they came in to find her, and she sent me a picture of her and I asked the doctor, I said, You have a person and she said No and I said, I’m on my way And I left the house and then went over and her name was Moxie. And so she was went through a lot of the same things that my P d a. Just gone through and through me. Going to be there for mop See, is how I found second chance to rescue because they’re the rescue that pulled moxie to get into the shelter. Wow, that’s how that’s how I Tom Second, she adds rescue and the wonderful people there. And so moxie was in the emergency that for probably about 10 days, a little bit shorter than how long Petey was there and I filled out the paperwork so I could medically her because she was gonna have to go back to have a couple procedures done after she left, and so I became a medical foster for them. Okay. And here we come home with boxy. So they taught me all about decompression. They taught me all about, you know, successfully integrating her with by dogs. And, you know, I took care of her while she was Well, she was getting better and fell in love with her. But she was very She was scared of everything. She was scared of her own shadow. She went from being this, you know? Great. Well, um, you know, welcome to the shelter dog. To being afraid of everything. So we worked through that, too. In the meantime, while the more I worked with her, the more I worked with second chance to work with her and where I got to know them and love them. It’s gonna say you get your first taste of this and you became addicted, right? Exactly. And it’s then that was back. Oh, early in the summer. Last year. So almost a year I’ve been with them now, and the greatest part about it is you know, I didn’t know anything about what these dogs coming through in the emergency. Back to let happen to my on. Then when I saw the next one, I was like, you know, does she have a person? I’m on my way because you know, these jobs don’t have people. And so that’s kind of that’s another thing that I do for a second chance. They pulled out of dogs from shelters in Fulton into cab counting here in Georgia. So when they pulled them to get to the shop to the emergency, that lots of times I’m the first person that means them. So I go over and meet them and you don’t try to get them to eat or take them toys and we’re blanket. So they have something from somebody, and I will lay in the cage with Chris and promise them a better life. You know, Cuban just pulled through this. I promise you, we have people for you, so I do know that a lot for them as well. Um, I got involved in transport because I was talking with the operations director and there was a dog about couple hour south of here, and his name was meaty, meaty stars. He was just a well, well mixed spree. Small black up. But he had been tied up outside and had no use of his back legs. And we didn’t know if it was an accident that happened or if it was a long term thing. But the other thing that we knew was the longer he sat in that shelter, the last chance we had of correcting it. Our director of operations called me and she’s a hand. She did me a favor. There’s this dog. Can you meet somebody in Macon? And I said we’re on our way. Sure, we got the keys. So it was on, and we ended up meeting them in midnight in Macon, Georgia, and from all the way back to the specialty emergency bet that you needed, Um, and he’s living his best life now. I’m Long Island in a wheelchair with wonderful family. The cells that very first transport was meeting. Wow. Now. So, obviously you’re an animal lover, But have you always been involved in animal rescue? No, e even when, um, when we went to adopt her very first dog, I didn’t know what a pitbull waas. I mean, this is like 20 you know, 12 15 years ago, I had no idea What a pitbull Waas. I just thought she wasn’t adorable. She kind of shut her nose up to the camera, so she kind of looked like a durable. And Mike, it’s still in love with her. And that’s how we got introduced to the breed. Was our very first picnics, interning with Penny. Um and she was She’s amazing on. Then she needed a friend. So we got PT one and then so on and so on and so on, So and here we are today. So I mean, I never had any interest, even when I adopted them, knowing that I thought they were quite lovely, But I didn’t really having interested Animal Rescue at all. But once that happened to Petey and I understood the struggle of what they go through, right, you know? And then and then the first thing I thought when I saw Mom, she was Does she have a person? She didn’t. We all other people so on and that’s how it’s died. I just find that so fascinated. I mean, you’ve been involved in this really for less than a year, and now it’s just it just has kind of become your passion Yes. And I love it so much. I mean, I love the people that I work with. I love the rescue. You know, I love Albany, New York, New Jersey transporters that help us out So much. Shadow ops, the Connecticut ones, too. But, you know, just it’s so the people that work with us really and helping the animal the people are so amazing, like to be surrounded, have so many conversations on a daily basis of like minded people who have the same goals. And you D’oh! Right, It’s all right that one of the things I think is fascinating about you is that you’re working with second Chance Rescue N. Y. C. New York City. And yet you live in outside of Atlanta, Georgia. I do. I’ve two minutes from the Fulton County line, so I’m very close to Atlanta. I’m so close. I just say I live in on. And so then the emergency back that we use 20 minutes from the house and so is one of the main shelters we pull for the shelters. The two lifeline animal shelters here in the cab and leanna, uh, Fulton County. They’re over capacity there, and they’re not over by passing by five or 10 dogs, they’re over capacity by two or 300 jobs. So we’re constantly trying to help them. They’re striving to be no kill, you know, and we’re constantly trying to help them. And so what we have down here is an abundance of dogs, and we have a door. Isn’t abundance of a doctor’s appointment flying? Yeah, worthies corridor to get these dogs that don’t have homes into loving homes. Yeah, that’s what something I was gonna ask you. Are you primarily running? You don’t transport up the East Coast up to New England or you’re also going other places across. Don’t we go up the east Coast way drive a number of dogs We use paid transport from North Georgia with our partner vent. Dr. Terry. They pick up there every Friday afternoon and they get dropped off in New Jersey right outside of the city. Um, on Saturday afternoon. And so that’s where we come in. Your transport corners come in where we are. We make sure we have people there to meet those dogs and take them in all the directions that they got. So we adopt out within six hours of New York City. So we go up to Maine over the Buffalo and Pittsburgh, down to Northern Virginia, all those areas in between. Wow, that’s quite a quite a big Radius. But I love I love the model that you’re talking about, Kind of like the husband spoke model right where you’re saying that and a large transport And then from there, that can go out in 10 different directions. Yeah, absolutely. And they dio and it’s amazing. It’s so great to be able to help them. The people that are working the shelters. I’ve had the privilege of meeting them and and and seeing what they dio and they’re working so hard to save as many as they can, you know, and to be a part of that sent with second chance Rescue to work with them to try to help them achieve their goals. It’s amazing it really it. There’s some really good people in animal rescue, Definitely, definitely. There are. So I’m kind of curious, like, what’s your professional background like? What’s your what’s your day job? What’s my data? I am a marketing expert. Okay, So marketing operations expert on and so I d’oh! Right now I’m working with the company and I’m a digital marketing strategist for them. Oh, cool. Yes. So I take care of other digital marketing means by day. I’m lucky that I get to work from home, So they’re not really that concerned with how my day is structured. So I’m able Thio work on something for them at 10 o’clock at night because we have a need at nine o’clock in the morning because the rest you need something and not I couldn’t do that. So I tend to get up super early in the morning, bring in, knock out all my responsibilities for after the company, and then I could get off rescue. So I love working. Well, yeah. It’s gonna say you sound a lot like May I tell people I work a day drive so I can afford to work my nights and weekends job? That’s right. That’s exactly right. Now kill. Yeah, but you’re lucky that you’ve got that flexibility. You can work from home. You can, you know, as you know, a lot of this in the animal rescue world is virtual right. It’s a lot of connections and phone calls and e mails and following up and just doing what you do. Coordinating, right? Yeah, for sure. And the best part about it really is. And I know we’ve talked about this a little bit, but it really is the people. Would you have a dog that needs a place to go and you make that connection? Was somebody who lives, I mean, even for me, like, you know, they live in Philadelphia and make that connection with somebody who wants to, Um who wants to help? Who sees the dog, wants to give their time. I mean, that’s a That’s a gift. That’s a precious kept. It means to be valued appreciated. These people game of their time. We try to make it as easy for them as possible, you know, instructions. You know, this is where they go very clear about you know what the expectations are and they rise to the occasion ever single time. That’s really cool. So I’m curious now, in the last not even quite year. How many transports have you coordinated? Oh, my goodness. I am not kept killed. Can you believe that? I am not. If I was guessing, I don’t know, I pi say 3 54 100? Yeah, that’s amazing. Easy. It’s a lot. There’s a lot of dogs movie. Not only is that these dogs that come upon Sunday, but we need to get puppies to the bat to get neutered and stay. We have to get dogs, you know, to the bat for regular appointments. I moved on from Foster to adopt her, and sometimes when you have a foster who was going out of town, we have a temporary foster that fills in for them. So we have to transport the dogs there. So it’s not just the 10 to 15 that would do on a Saturday. We also have events probably two or three Sundays a month. We remove these dogs from Foster’s to the events and then back when the events over, if they don’t get adopted. So it says a lot of moving pieces and it doesn’t ever stop. It really does not ever stop. So, yeah, I’m guessing you’ve learned quite a lot in the last 10 months or so since you joined the animal rescue rope. Um, so So I’m curious. Like, what is a typical week look like for you that I mean, it sounds like you’re working a full time job and that obviously you’re you’re coordinating transports and stuff on the side. But I’m not sure which ones on the side. But don’t tell my paying boss that, okay? Don’t listen to this bank teller. You know, a lot of the week is that especially What happens is we find out those dogs are available. So there, with our partner, that north Georgia. So you find out that these dogs are available to transport, they’ve been clear and so that our fallen astern of Dr teams they get to work. You know, of course, they’re in the They’ve been working on some of these dogs. You know, we don’t place them until Wednesday, Thursday, and winter coming on Saturday. So sometimes there’s a shorter window for how fast you know, we have to move them. So earlier in the week, we’re kind of we’re usually not as busy. Once the events over on Sunday, it kind of slows down a little. You might have seen that appointments or Cem dogs that moved to foster temporary Foster’s or two doctors. But then we really been ramped up on the weekends offerings are like, Hey, we’re just Saturday and I’m like, Yes, if you’d like to do it at my kitchen like that would be great, because that’s what I’ll be doing. I’ll be monitoring all these transports to be sure these dogs get where they need to go. So, yeah, I can picture you sitting at your kitchen table. You got your headset on. You get your cell phone in one hand, you’ve got the iPad, the computer, like you got five different devices going so you can keep track of everything. Yes. You gotta keep up with everything. And actually, I had one of the hardest transports we’ve done just last weekend because it was a holiday weekend. We had one corridor that we we only had one drive before we had two dogs that need to go that way. But it started with two different start points. And so, for the first time ever, I had to draw my own map. You know, your Google maps that I’m like, Okay, wait. If she leaves here and she goes here, that would be this time. It’s 15 minutes to their you know, I’ve been trying to figure out, but we had a very experienced driver who was used to running multiple dogs that could do that tractor out. Honey, we just had to get like people to her at the right times to get. And then the two adopters in Albany what? They were both driving an hour and 1/2 themselves from two different directions. So it took us, took me a little while to get my head around it, figure out exactly how they got it done. But we did it and that pulled it off. And it was great. And both dogs went home to their forever home. So I was grateful for that. Yeah, definitely. I know in transport there’s lots of coordination. There’s always things that can go wrong. Things are unexpected. Nothing ever runs on time, right? Right. And the funniest thing is not that long ago, our main transport company that comes up on the weekend, they were actually early. What, you think it would be better than being late? I’m sorry. It was worse because we’re trying to get all these people who are already on their way to get there sooner and still be careful. Be really careful. But they got their happening or early this week. Um, so happen early is just as bad as two hours late, if you can believe it. Believe it. Yeah, yeah. Trying to coordinate these things and getting everybody going in the right direction. So Right, you must have had some interesting stories over the 3 to 400 of these that you’ve you’ve coordinated now? Yeah. You know, I have a lot of people, and I love this and because we always ask them to send us pictures, And I think that’s my favorite part. I am that person, Chris, that you could always send me a picture of your dog, right? Especially when these jobs are on transport. I love to get those because, you know, they get off the transport, but also make it on their, you know, overnight, right? Do you take him for a walk? You get him some water and you put him in a car and you keep going, right. So But to see them once they get off transport into someone’s car are tethered down for safety, and all of a sudden there personality starts to really come out because they’ve been pent up for that time. It’s great. I love it. I love it. We have our awesome picture of have a Dr Massey let Hello? She was Ted her down. She was on her back. She had a smile from ear to ear. She was so happy. And that’s really the shuttle for a while. Yeah, you know, definitely the freedom, right Photos or the pastor. Amazing thing. You know, I’ve done transfer for years and I always said I somehow the animals just knew that they were going to a better life and that I was I was a part of transporting them to where they were going and they weren’t afraid. They didn’t know what was coming, but they knew is better than where they were. And that’s it just warms your heart. And I think the past is that it’s such a and I like this sub light bulb moment with people because I think you and I know this already, right? It’s an honor and a privilege to be in their presence to be part of their story. You know, you’re forever gonna be the person that drove them. I will forever be connected to Meaty because he was the first dog I ever drove. But that light bulb moment when somebody realizes they’re connected and that’s then they’re part of their story, too, and that their honored to be there. And you have people say it was a privilege. Thank you so much for driving him today. It was a privilege. That’s exactly right. It is. It’s a privilege. Yeah. Yeah. To be under present, you have to know you’re a part of this. And as you pointed out, all the amazing people along the way that you get to meet and you make some really good connections. Well, yeah, that’s I think that is probably my favorite part of transport. My very favorite part is you know, you start those the Facebook message conversations, how I’m ruining the Sami. Thank you so much for driving, Dougie. You know, it’s on Saturday. And, you know, when you start, you start up a conversation, and and even though you’ve never met them, you feel king to them. You know, you feel a connection to them. Um, so it’s great. And now, now I’m curious. I mean, transport seems to be your thing. Are you continuing to learn more and try new things and rescue. You know, I want our director of operations. She is. She’s so smart and she’s talking so much conversationally, whatever. Anytime we get on the phone to talk about how transport is going or what You know how busy we’re gonna be this week or can’t you do this or is it possible to do that? And we start talking about what she does. I’m so I’m so in awe of how she’s able to do you think we keep a lot of balls in the air, right? And so as I talked to her, I learned more and more and more for her. Um and I’m willing, actually, these people are amazing. I just with a great group of human beings, I would be armed to do anything for them. This is just where I am right now. So, no, that’s often I like the way that you phrase that in, you know, I mean, on behalf of the animal rescue community, it’s like we’re so excited that you joined us and like, your journey brought you to us. And I feel like all of us have that story when we first started and we’re kind of like I didn’t know what we’re doing. And now it’s just the bond and you and I have never met. And now we can be best friends because we’re focused on the same thing. And we have a love for animals and we want to help the people as well, right? And I think that’s the hardest part when you’re when you’re if there is our the hardest part, I would say, is you flip back and forth between loving people and not liking people very much. And I said, And sometimes I tell my friends I was like and sometimes it’s 10 times a day. Sometimes you get so angry over what somebody’s does, what somebody’s some over something someone has done to a dog. And then you have this transporter who says I will do it. I will help you or, you know, somebody goes out of their way to do, do something and you’re Oh, gosh, I love people. Yeah, it’s intermittently like good machine people today, you know. But I think that would be back in court that I tell my friends all the time. It’s a roller coaster for sure, Yeah, but I but I would buy a ticket and get on the ride every single time for us. Yeah, it wouldn’t change anything. That means Jamie. It’s been so great to hear your story. And and I appreciate your sharing everything. Is there anything else you want to mention before we wrap things up? Well, if you’re interested in driving for us, I wouldn’t be a very good marketing person if I didn’t put our p s a up for drivers. Right? There are so many things you could do to help us. And you don’t have to live within six hours of New York City. I’m a testament to that. But our website is www, N Y c Second Chance Rescue dot Or click on the volunteer their tab and just let us know what you’d like to do to help. I was celebrated in our 10 year anniversary this year. We’ve been around for 10 years, You know, my heart is so small, but I’m still so proud. We We’ve saved over 10,000 dogs, cats and even one goat. Chris. Nice one. Go. Yes. Oh, yes. So it’s It’s a wonderful place. And we’d love to have you Absolutely There’s always room for more volunteers of any capacity wherever you are. Yes, and if we ever come, you’re away. You’ll be my first call I look forward to and I look forward to you in person. Well, Tina, Alright. Been so great having you on today. Thanks so much for joining us. Thank you so much for having me. Thanks for tuning into today’s podcast. If you’re not already a member, join the air P A. To take advantage of all the resources we have to offer. And don’t forget to sign up with do bert dot com. It’s free and helps automate the most difficult tasks in animal rescue.