While kindness and selflessness can certainly be taught, some special people just have a natural gift for compassion. This is the case of Roman, a 6-year-old boy who has made it his mission to help as many shelters dog as he can find their forever homes.
Mom Jen chatted with iHeartDogs about her sweetheart of a son, and let’s just say, we see where he gets his passion for dogs from!
“He has ALWAYS loved animals,” Jen said of Roman. “I think it’s something he was born with, and good thing, being we had two large dogs.”
“I laugh because we didn’t get a dog for our child, we wanted to have a child for our dogs. (No joke.) We had been married 10 years, our dogs were getting older, so we knew we needed to do it sooner than later so that our child could remember our first two ‘kids’: our dogs Bimmer, a Rottie / Lab mix, and Bubba, our 14-year-old lab who we still have.”
Sadly, Bimmer passed away when Roman was just a year and a half old, but they have since welcomed rescue dog Luna, who’s now 5, into their family. Jen says the pups are more like her son’s siblings than his pets, so it’s no wonder that when he learned about “homeless dogs,” he wanted to do anything he could to help.
“We noticed his huge desire to help when we moved to Texas and he would see a rescue camped outside of Petsmart with a ton of adoptable dogs in kennels every other weekend,” Jen explained. “He quickly learned they needed homes and in his mind it was simple: find them homes. His 4th birthday we discussed with him how he could help and he opted to forego gives and get donations to give back to that rescue and from there things started.”
With Jen’s husband (and Roman’s dad) stationed in Japan, she began volunteering at a shelter near their Texas home in 2015. Soon, Roman got involved.
“I didn’t even step foot into rescue until mid 2015. I’m really a newbie when you think about it. I helped the shelter as much as I could in Texas raised tons of money got lots of awareness. I spoke at City Council meetings on numerous occasions, etc,” Jen told us.
In order to show potential adopters how much many of the shelter dogs loved children, Roman and his mom began making videos to help them find forever homes!
Watch a video on Roman’s work below:
The family relocated to Washington state in the summer of 2016, and that’s when another life-saving idea blossomed.
“I joked about an ‘underground railroad’ because life for a dog is so different [in Washington shelters, compared to overcrowded Texas kill shelters]. Well in December of 2016, that ‘underground railroad’ became reality through Project Freedom Ride and it was just done in climate controlled trailers. I think our first transport was around 20 dogs and from Dec. 2016 – Dec. 2017 we saved 720 dogs and 30 something cats. Pretty amazing.”
Project Freedom Ride, which Jen founded, continues to transport dogs (and cats!) from high-kill shelters in Texas to rescues in Washington State. Jen told us that there are over 100 more dogs headed from kill shelters to the safety of rescues and humane societies this month.
All the while, her well-spoken 6-year-old continues to inform viewers of local shelter dogs’ personalities. It should come as no surprise that the adorable boy has gathered quite a following!
With the help of his dedicated mom, young Roman proves that you can make a huge difference, no matter what age.
Project Freedom ride is 100% funded by donations. If you’d like to help this amazing cause save more shelter dogs, you can donate via Paypal by clicking this link.
We want to say a special thank-you to Jen for letting us share their wonderful story. The work that their family does is truly inspiring!