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North Orange Daily Voice serves Crawford, Hamptonburgh, Middletown, Montgomery, Newburgh, New Windsor & Wallkill

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North Orange Daily Voice serves Crawford, Hamptonburgh, Middletown, Montgomery, Newburgh, New Windsor & Wallkill

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This Middletown Pet Rescuer Has Saved 13,000 Dogs Since 2015

Steve Quilliam of Middletown's Grateful Doggies makes fast friends with two puppies.
Steve Quilliam of Middletown's Grateful Doggies makes fast friends with two puppies. Photo Credit: Facebook
That's one Grateful Doggie.
That's one Grateful Doggie. Photo Credit: Facebook
Quiliam brings two little guys onto his bus.
Quiliam brings two little guys onto his bus. Photo Credit: Facebook
Quilliam and "Lassie."
Quilliam and "Lassie." Photo Credit: Facebook
En route to a better life.
En route to a better life. Photo Credit: Facebook

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. — Every week, Steve Quilliam of Middletown's Grateful Doggies drives a minibus 900 miles to Georgia to pick up dogs who are being housed in kill shelters.

Quilliam loads 40 or 50 mutts into his bus and places them in veterinaries and foster homes en route to New York.

He estimates he has saved the lives of 30,000 dogs since launching his business in 2015.

"It is just a moral responsibility," Quilliam, of Fair Lawn, N.J., told Daily Voice.

"If I don't pick these dogs up they die."

A lack of spay and neuter programs in the south has led to a prolific overpopulation of dogs who end up in kill shelters, Quilliam said. Those dogs have approximately one week in the shelter before they're euthanized, he said.

Quilliam — who is USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service certified — works with some 300 "rescues" in the north and south to get the dogs out of kill shelters and properly vetted for transport.

His trips routinely take him as far north as Maine to find his dogs a safe home.

"The second half of the trip is very gratifying," Quilliam said, crediting his Grateful Doggies team and all the volunteers he works with.

"My crew and I are like family and I could never do this without them."

Quilliam this fall opened Grateful Doggies Rescue Retreat in Middletown, New York — an adoption center for the dogs he rescues.

Despite Grateful Doggies' success, Quilliam says he'd rather be out of business.

"I'm hoping that what we are doing eventually won't be needed anymore."

"I want to see people become more responsible dog owners and some legislation for spay and neuter programs," Quilliam added. "But until then we are going to keep running as many vehicles as we can."

For more information visit the Grateful Doggies website and Facebook .

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