Minnesotans welcome Arkansas dogs to warm, loving homes

Minnesota is helping adopt dogs from Arkansas as shelters face overpopulation.

A couple of times a month a truck rolls into the Twin Cities carrying some very precious cargo. 

On this trip, 11 dogs are being unloaded off the truck in St. Paul from a shelter in Benton, Arkansas. They’re a little groggy after 15 straight hours on the road, but they’re ready for a fresh start. 

"They need a chance at a good life. It is very important to me," said their driver, Marvin Wheeler.

From the moment they arrive, the pups hit the ground running. They get cleaned up and checked out so they’re ready for their future adopters. And in Minnesota, there are plenty of adopters. 

Kevin Mathison is in charge of these transports on the Minnesota side.

"If we weren't bringing dogs from down south we wouldn't have enough to adopt out," Mathison said.

In fact, the Benton shelter just reached a milestone, thanks in large part to these transports to Minnesota. For the first time in six years, they cleared out all their kennels; there are no dogs left to adopt.

“Here in Minnesota if we have empty shelters that means we’re not doing our part to bring the animals here. Down south where overcrowding is a big problem, this is a big milestone,” Mathison said.

Even after driving overnight, Marvin Wheeler says he’d do it all over again.

"It's wonderful, a big thank you to Minnesota and the people of Minnesota for adopting animals and supporting the Humane Society so they're able to open their doors for us," he said.

Since they started these transports in 2016, 853 Benton dogs have been adopted in Minnesota, helping bridge supply with demand across state lines and bring these animals home.