Dogs are considered to be man’s best friend, but Jim Dwyer shows how the relationship can work both ways. Dwyer and his wife, Tonia, operate It’s A Dog’s Life Rescue Transport Inc., a nonprofit that picks up and delivers canines to safe places across the state and beyond.
Jim Dwyer owned a hardwood flooring business for three decades in Atlanta until he faced colon cancer, which he eventually overcame. In 2002, he and Tonia decided to start a new chapter in their lives and move to Naples.
After serving as dog-rescue volunteers for nearly eight years, the Dwyers launched their service in July 2015. The couple works within a network of more than 70 rescue operations statewide.
Often, the transports are prearranged and involve retrieving an animal from one locale in Florida and bringing it to another where the dog will be adopted or fostered.
“Last year, we did over 67,000 miles of transporting,” says Dwyer, who is the dispatch manger at Dolphin Transportation in Naples. Tonia is employed full-time at a local insurance company.
The Dwyers use a Ford Transit van, specially outfitted to carry dogs, that was donated by Tonia’s father. And Dolphin pays for its gas and maintenance.
“We love animals,” Jim Dwyer says. “It takes a long time to find what you’re passionate about. This is it.” GB