Rescuing Shelter Dogs, One Leg at a Time

"Fifteen Legs” documents filmmaker’s journey into volunteer animal transport.

“This is the story of animals who have run out of time. It’s about the people who save them at the eleventh hour. It’s the story of where they go next, and how they get there.”

In her new book, “Fifteen Legs,” documentary filmmaker Bonnie Silva shines the spotlight on an amazing, and relatively unknown, network of volunteers. These people find each other on the Internet and work together to rescue animals that are close to being euthanized.

The journey to get an animal from a shelter to its new foster or forever home is broken down into legs, and at the end of each leg, the animal is handed off to the next driver. Most of the time, these legs are filled by people who don’t know one another – their only connection is the animal they are passing on to one another. Silva immersed herself in this practically underground network and ended up becoming a volunteer transporter herself during the filming process.

While many of the animals Silva saw transported were dogs, like adorable mixed-breed puppy Blondie, she also shares amazing stories about a pig who flew to her forever home, a turkey who received a goodbye hug, and five rabbits who traveled from Louisiana to California.

When she asked a fellow filmmaker what he thought of the subject of her documentary, his reply was blunt: “It’s just not of sufficient social significance.” Silva begged to differ, and most animal lovers would, too. 

“Fifteen Legs: When all that stands between death and freedom is a ride,” (Riverbank Press, $22.95) goes on sale December 15, 2007.

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