David Binz is a longtime owner operator leased to Alaska West Express. His CDL trucking job requires that he move mining, construction and oil field equipment, day-in, day-out.
But, as a volunteer for Kindred Hearts Transport Connection, Binz also moves more precious cargo—pets in need. For Binz, who’s ridden shotgun with his own dog, Izzy, for 10 years, rescuing animals is a privilege. Binz likes Kindred Hearts for its compassion. Overall, it works to place orphaned animals with caring owners nationwide.
To date, Binz has placed 111 pets in need in the hands of caring owners along his trucking routes.
And while he typically moves cats and dogs, he’s also transported birds, gerbils—even a potbelly pig.
“I’ve been known to transport four or five animals at a time,” says Binz. “I draw the line at snakes. I will not move snakes.”
Kindred Hearts has nearly 30,000 volunteers around the country, though few of them are people with CDL trucking jobs.
The group posts upcoming runs on its Facebook page, and if one of them fits with Binz’s route, he lets the administrators know.
Also, Binz recalls the time he moved a military macaw bird. “That one was kind of unusual for me,” Binz says. “It would tell me I was on the telephone too long and that I needed to hang up.”
Transporting the animals “means a lot to me,” Binz says. “It allows me to give back to society. If you have a 9-to-5 job, you have a lot of ways to give back, but those options are not out there for truck drivers. This is one thing I can do as a truck driver to make a difference.” These days, Binz rides with Izzy and Spartacus, a rescue dog he hasn’t yet found a home for.
Kindred Hearts is a natural fit for Binz, a lifelong animal lover who grew up on a horse farm. His son trains wild mustangs in the summer, and when Binz gets home time, he helps his son find loving owners for the horses. To transport animals as he does, “you’ve gotta love an animal,” Binz says. “No matter what the animal does, you have to be able to love it. If a dog craps in the middle of your bed, you have to clean the mess up and love the dog.”
When he’s on the road, Binz relies on PetSmarts all over the country for help. He buys pet food there and uses their training rooms to give dogs off-leash exercise.
“I love PetSmart,” Binz says. “They always cut me a break on the bill for bathing the dogs. In the winter, when the weather’s really nasty, they let me bring my dogs in and they can run around and play.”
Binz admits he gets attached to the animals he rescues. “You end up crying a little bit sometimes,” he says. “Sitting there for an hour and reflecting. You have to say, ‘OK, I helped that one. Now it’s time to go help another.’”
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