When we think of superheroes, we think of big, strong men wearing capes who have been born with superhuman abilities.
However, one little boy in Washington who has saved 1,000s of lives is proving that superheroes come in all shapes and sizes, and that determination is the only ‘superpower’ required…
Adopt Don’t Shop
“I think he was pretty much born loving pets,” said Jennifer, who knew that there were countless dogs stuck in shelters that desperately needed good homes, so she decided to adopt rather than buying a dog from a breeder…
A New Addition To The Family
In 2015, a mother, Jennifer McConn, living in Texas with her husband and 4-year-old son decided that it was time to grow their family by getting a dog. According to Jennifer, her son, Roman, had been obsessed with animals since he was just a baby.
A Life Changing Experience
At the time, Jennifer believed that they would be changing the life of 1 lucky pup. She had no idea, however, that the dog would change their lives forever and lead the family down a path that they could never have imagined at the time.
A Trip To The Shelter
In July 2015, Jennifer and her son, Roman, took a trip to a local ‘kill’ shelter in Texas so that they could pick out a dog and bring him or her home with them. The pair ended up picking a sweet dog named Luna, but the experience left a mark on both Jennifer and Roman…
Bringing Luna Home
According to Jennifer, Roman couldn’t understand why so many perfectly good dogs were in need of homes when he went with his mom to the adoption event when they picked out Luna and brought her home.
A Sad Realization
“He kept asking why they were there and I would tell him, ‘They’re looking for homes.’ In that 4-year-old mind, he’s like, ‘We just need to find them homes,’” Jennifer said about the moment they both became deeply invested in helping the animals in the high-kill shelters…
Finding Ways To Help
“He quickly figured out there were a lot of dogs who didn’t have homes and he always wanted to help,” said Jennifer. “He even asked for donations instead of presents for his 4th birthday.” Rather than just forgetting about the dogs, Jennifer and Roman both got involved with their local shelter.
A Serious Committment
“I was sunk! I became heavily involved with volunteering at the local shelter,” said Jennifer, who wasn’t used to dealing with kill-shelters since she was from Washington, where a majority of shelters don’t euthanize their animals…
Fighting City Council
While she spent her time with the city council to change ordinances and volunteering with local rescues, Roman also got to work doing what he could to get the dogs adopted. Roman’s solution, however, was much simpler but incredibly effective.
A Simple Solution
“We make videos for dogs and we get them adopted,” Roman said about his plan to get people to adopt dogs in shelters. While his mom was fighting city council, he got to work making videos to promote dogs available for adoption on social media…
In the videos, Roman sits with the dog up for adoption to not only explain their breed, age, health issues, and the reason they need to be adopted but also to show people how good the dogs are around people and young children.
Finding Them A Home
“We’re trying to get her adopted,” Roman said about a dog named Ru in a video that was posted on social media. “She’s deaf and she’s been through two homes. We really want her in a home where she won’t bounce back and forth again…”
However, in the Summer of 2016, Jennifer’s husband and Roman’s dad was deployed overseas and stationed in Japan. Jennifer decided to relocate back to her home state of Washington but didn’t want to give up her work fighting to save dogs in kill shelters.
The Big Move
So when Jennifer and Roman moved back to Washington State in 2016, they brought 31 dogs with them and organized for shelters in Washington to take them so that they wouldn’t be stuck in kill shelters back in Texas where they could be euthanized if no one adopted them within a short period of time…
Underground Railroad For Dogs
“I would joke with Texas Rescues about an underground railroad for dogs up to Washington because the world for a dog, generally speaking, was so much better up here in Washington than down there in Texas,” Jennifer said.
Project Freedom Ride
“People take them hiking and there’s stuff to do,” Jennifer added. That was the first dog transport that Jennifer and Roman organized, and once they completed that first transfer, they decided they had to help more dogs from Texas and started the Project Freedom Ride…
A Second Chance
“We partner with amazing Texas Rescues who help by pulling dogs from high kill shelters or taking in strays and otherwise unwanted dogs prior to them entering such shelters and caring for them through their programs (vetting, fostering, etc) while we look for adopters and/or receiving partners in the Pacific Northwest to take them in,” Jennifer explained.
Roman, now 6 years old, spends most of his free time at the Humane Society of Skagit Valley. When he’s not hanging out with the rescue animals, he is still making videos to bring attention to animals that still needs a forever home and their mission at Project Freedom Ride…
So far, Roman and Jennifer have helped save more than 1,050 dogs by transporting them to the Pacific Northwest, which is where all their fundraising and donation money goes since each transport of dogs costs about $11,000. “We are 100% donation driven and cannot wait to see where this takes us,” Jennifer explained.
No Plans To Stop
“It feels really, really good,” said Roman, who has no plans of stopping as long as there are helpless dogs that are at risk of being euthanized because no one has come forward to adopt them. “Roman’s dad is super proud,” Jennifer added. “That’s his boy.”