Requirements for New Rescue Partners

Both sending and receiving Rescue Partners are required to submit a Rescue Partner application before a transport takes place. This does not apply to adopters or foster-to-adopt homes. Contact Rescue Express at 541-525-3232 or with questions. Upon approval, partners may place a transport request (below.)

Rescue Express uses cargo carriers which are larger than those sold in stores. Please consider this when placing reservations.

Choose a carrier that is 2” taller than the animal’s height at his/her shoulders. The animal must have enough room to stand and turn around completely. Carriers that are too large place animals at risk for injury during transport. All animals are placed in carriers that are the appropriate size for them regardless of the size reserved. Reservation of appropriate carrier sizes allows us to plan transports that save as many lives as possible.

Carrier Sizes
XS – extra-small: 13” tall x 12” wide x 22” deep (cats and tiny dogs)
S – small: 17” tall x16” wide x 25” deep (small dogs – Chihuahuas, small terriers)
M- medium: 23” tall x 20” wide x 30” deep (dogs 20+ lbs, smaller pitbulls)
L- large: 26” tall x 22” wide x 35” deep (most large dogs: pitbulls, boxers)
XL- extra-large: 28” tall x 24” wide x 39” deep (shepherds, Great Danes, St. Bernards)

Medical Requirements

  • Quarantine: Animal(s) must be quarantined for 10 days prior to transport on Rescue Express to the best of the Rescue Partner’s ability.
  • Health Certificate: Each animal traveling on the bus is required to have a USDA Health Certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian, which must be dated within 5 days of transport. Click here to view the required USDA APHIS Form 7001 Health Certificate.
  • Rabies Certificate: All animals 12 weeks and older require a current rabies certificate.
  • Dog vaccines: All dogs and puppies 6 weeks and older are required to have up-to-date vaccine records or at least one dose of a 5-way vaccine such as this one that can be bought from and costs about $3-6 per dose.
  • Cat vaccines: All cats and kittens 9 weeks and older are required to have up-to-date vaccine records or at least one dose of an FVRCP vaccine such as this one which costs about $3 per dose.
  • Heartworm test for dogs: If the destination address on a dog’s health certificate is in Washington state, the dog must have a heartworm test dated within 30 days of transport. Dogs six months of age or older must be tested negative for heartworm or are currently on a heartworm preventative. If the destination address on the health certificate is not in Washington state, then the dog is not required to have a heartworm test.
  • Basic health: Any animal showing up with a cough or other such symptoms will be denied boarding on the bus. For the sake of all of the animals, please do not attempt to put any animal that has any sort of potentially contagious illness on our transport.

Other Transport Requirements

Cover Sheet
No animal will be loaded without an Animal Transport Cover Sheet and all required medical documents placed within a resealable, gallon-sized plastic (Ziploc) bag.


Transporting to Adopters and Foster-to-Adopt Homes
When we deliver animals to an adopter or foster-to-adopt home, we require a minimum $100 donation from the adopter or sender, which is due by noon on the Thursday before. This helps us continue to provide our free service to rescue groups. If you are looking to use our transport service for an animal that you have adopted, you do not need to fill out our rescue partner application & contract. However, you must speak with our coordinator at 541-525-3232 prior to submitting a transport request form.

Transport Requests
Space is allotted on a first come first served basis (up to 10 carriers) in the order that we receive the online transport request submissions. We cannot reserve space for you if you call/text/email us asking to reserve space.

When submitting a transport request, choose a pickup city and a delivery city that is closest to the sending and receiving parties. Once your transport request is reviewed and approved, you will receive a confirmation email from our coordinator that will include specific pickup and deliver locations along with our estimated arrival times for both. We stop at locations that are right off of the I-5 and that are easy for the bus to maneuver in and out.

Right after you submit a transport request, you will receive an automatic notification email that we have received your request, but please note that this notification email is NOT a confirmation of your reservation. Our transport coordinator will review and approve your transport request.  After your request is reviewed and approved by our coordinator, a confirmation email will be sent to the person submitting the request, and the sending and receiving persons as well as their designated backup persons on the request form. If you do not receive a confirmation email within a few days and/or before end of business Thursday, before the transport on Saturday, there may be a problem or the transport may be full.  Contact the coordinator at 541-525-3232 to inquire.

Any changes to a reservation after our approval email is sent to you should be done by calling the coordinator at 541-525-3232.  Last minute changes and late paperwork submissions make it very hard for us to plan and manage the transports. Please respect our processes.


Our delivery times are a function of our driving time and they are not flexible.  Delivery times can be in the middle of the night or the very early morning, so please plan accordingly.