We had the good fortune of connecting with Delia McLinden and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Delia, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
After 15+ years of being part of dog rescue in many capacities, I was constantly frustrated because I wanted to do MORE, and make more of a difference in the issue of pet overpopulation here in Texas. I started my 501c3 nonprofit, Archangel Animal Network, with the sole goal to focus on rescue transport. Moving shelter dogs from an area where they are unwanted, ie, ‘Texas throwaways’ to an area where there are waiting lists to adopt a pet! Simply by relocating shelter dogs to another area of the country, they are quickly adopted into wonderful homes, and are treated as cherished family members.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Archangel Animal Network is not like a traditional dog rescue organization. We focus solely on rescue transport because as a small organization, it’s the most efficient and effective way to save the most dogs given the resources at hand. In 2019, I formed a partnership with Garland Animal Services and Pets Alive Laredo to send Texas dogs on a regular basis to no-kill humane societies in areas of the country that don’t have animal overpopulation. Archangel Animal Network works with several high-volume intake Texas shelters and a wide network of receiving rescues in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. By transporting Texas shelter dogs to partner no-kill rescue organizations located in Northern areas of the country, the lives of healthy, adoptable dogs are saved! In just 20 months (minus a four-month pandemic hiatus), Archangel Animal Network has transported 1,300 at-risk shelter animals to Northern rescues. And this number continues to grow. Relocated dogs – who otherwise would have been euthanized for shelter space – are adopted quickly! In fact, many Northern rescues have waiting lists to adopt. I started Archangel Animal Network because I felt that it was a way to make a significant difference and save many dogs at once on an ongoing basis. And it’s working! Currently, we do 1-2 large transports (30+ dogs) each month and utilize other smaller transport opportunities that come up. It’s truly unbelievable to see dogs that have been dumped, surrendered, abused and have languished at Texas shelters, often for months, go on these rescue transports, and then get adopted within days or weeks at the Northern rescues. They end up living the most incredible lives – happy, healthy, cherished family members. The ‘happily ever after’ stories – especially of those dogs that were shelter long-termers and would NOT have made it out of the shelter, are the ones that really take your breath away. Rescue transport is not a new concept or something I came up with. It’s something that I, as an individual, decided to focus on and form a 501c3 non-profit because I felt it was the way that I could make the biggest impact in saving dogs. Right now, I get contacted every day from shelters who want to participate and send dogs on transport. I also have wonderful receiving rescue partners who will commit to taking more transport dogs on an ongoing basis. The ONLY thing that’s standing in the way of doing more transports and saving more lives is simply the funds to do more transports. It costs around $150 to transport each dog, but in my eyes, that’s a bargain to save a life! Our current goal is to find corporate sponsors who will commit to sponsoring a rescue transport every month or every quarter – or even just once! This is an extremely efficient way of using charitable dollars. Plus, you get to see instant results! I’m so proud to be able to tell our supporters and those who donate money to fund transports that every single penny goes directly to the cost of transport. No administrative or overhead costs – just paying for transport costs. It’s a very cost-effective and time-effective way of saving wonderful, highly adoptable dogs who deserve a second chance at a wonderful life! In regards to rescue transport, I’ve learned so much in terms of what works and what doesn’t in regards in regards to organizing the transports in an efficient and cost-effective way. We’ve come up with a well-oiled machine and system for each transport. However, that STILL doesn’t prevent the unexpected. Sickness (both dogs and humans), winter weather, traffic accidents and transport van breakdowns are just a few of the things that we juggle and find solutions for. And because there are lives on the line, it makes it more crucial to find solutions. The transport must go on! As an organization, we are volunteers working our tails off (no pun intended) to help get wonderful dogs out of the shelter system. The single most frustrating thing I encounter on a daily basis is the fact that there are so many people who still buy animals from breeders or pet stores. There are SO MANY absolutely wonderful dogs that are dying in shelters every single day because people choose to buy a dog instead of adopting from a shelter or rescue. There is nothing wrong with shelter or rescue dogs – they aren’t ‘damaged goods’ or ‘less than’. They don’t have more behavioral or medical problems. They just happened to be unfortunate in life and ended up in the wrong place – they were failed by PEOPLE. If everyone would ADOPT, instead of buying a dog from a breeder or pet store, we could cut the euthanasia rates of animals in Texas in HALF. And what many people don’t realize – you can find nearly any type of dog in a shelter or through a rescue. Sometimes it just takes a bit more time or research, but it’s 100 percent worth it. And when you adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue, you save the life of that dog PLUS you free space for another dog as well, so you’re essentially saving two lives! With the pet overpopulation we have in Texas, there is NEVER a reason to buy a dog from a breeder or pet store versus adopting. Adopting is the right thing to do and it’s for EVERYONE, not just some people.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
So many fantastic options! A ‘staycation’ would start with morning volunteering at Garland Animal Services with their RUN DOG program – getting shelter dogs out for some much needed exercise. Then, we’ve earned a massage (preferably a full spa day) at The Woodhouse Day Spa or The Four Seasons Dallas – Las Colinas. I’ve always wanted to try King Spa or Spa Castle, so perhaps that spa experience might be later in the week. Early dinner would be at Rise No. 1 or Rise No.3 – with the DIY cheese board, wine, marshmallow soup, vegetarian souffle and dessert souffle. The food and the ambience are magical! After dinner, we’d head back to The Four Seasons Hotel, put on comfy PJs, a face mask, and good book or movie. Lights out by 10 pm!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My parents! Their love and support instilled a self-confidence in me that I don’t think I would have otherwise. I was told from a young age how loved, cherished and proud they are of me. And they’ve been cheering me on from the very beginning with my creation of Archangel Animal Network.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArchangelAnimalNetwork

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgyEmX1F642zUOpZp3JC8DQ

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