BALTIMORE (WJZ) — What started out as a horror story for one dog owner in Kansas has turned into more of a feel-good buddy road trip story, instead.
According to the Caroline County Humane Society, a pit bull mix found on Nov. 25 had a microchip that traced back to Wichita, Kansas.
Volunteers got in touch with the dog’s “mom,” who told them her boyfriend took the dog, Zimba, on a trip. While away, the couple broke up, and the boyfriend apparently abandoned Zimba and then stopped returning her phone calls.
While thrilled to hear the dog was safe, the woman said she wouldn’t be able to drive the 1,000+ miles to Maryland to get Zimba because of her children and her job.
“We tried contacting Airlines but that proved to be an unsuccessful solution,” the shelter wrote on its Facebook page. ” We even contacted the Humane Society where his mom had originally adopted him. They did not have a solution for us either.”
That’s where Zach Holt comes in.
Zach used to work at the shelter, and one of the current animal control officers there is his girlfriend. When she told him Zimba’s story, he volunteered to drive Zimba all the way home to Wichita.
“I’m a bartender,” he tells WJZ. “I strictly work, you know, the weekends and Monday and I have Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday off. And four days is plenty of time to get to Kansas and back, so I said, ‘Why not?'”
Zach and Zimba started their journey today, Dec. 5. Zach says Zimba is a great road trip partner, and had slept most of the way as of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
While he’s getting a lot of attention for his efforts, Zach says he loves driving and that the road trip “is the easy part about it.”
“All the hard work, you know, of coordinating everything and having him found, you know, the person that took time out of their day to actually, you know, wrangle Zimba and make sure that they got in contact with somebody. I mean that was awesome… it was just as easy for them to just ride on by and be like ‘Oh look, there’s a stray dog.'”
He also credits the shelter for finding out where Zimba was from and getting in touch with his owner, as well as everyone who donates to local shelters.
But the shelter says Zach doesn’t give himself enough credit.
“Zach is doing this strictly as a volunteer, Asking for nothing.. However we are incredibly grateful and need to try to raise money to cover his gas, tolls, and other expenses incurred,” the shelter writes.
“If you would please consider donating any amount at all it would be a huge help. You can donate via PayPal by visiting our website at http://www.carolinehumane.org. Or by check or stop in the shelter or call us with your credit card number. Be sure to note on your donation that it is for Zach and Zimba’s Great Adventure. Thank you so much. Godspeed to our Travelers.”
Zach expects to get to Wichita by Wednesday morning and he’s excited to see the family reunited.
“I can’t imagine my right-hand man being gone that long,” he says. (Zach has his own dog, a German shepherd/Shar Pei mix named Forrest, and a cat, Sullivan.) “It’s going to be great, I mean, it’s going to be lovely… especially it being so close to Christmas and stuff like that.”
Follow the Caroline County Humane Society on Facebook to keep up with Zach and Zimba’s journey.