There is nothing like a meal at the Waffle House after driving more than 60 animals from the South Carolina coast to southern Alabama inside of a school bus. Tony Alsup can attest.
Alsup, a 51-year-old trucker from Greenback, Tennessee, was parked at a Waffle House outside Fayetteville, North Carolina, Sunday night for a quick pit stop. He had been on the road since Monday, when he hopped in his bus and headed toward the coast, committed to rescuing as many animals as possible ahead of Hurricane Florence.
Inside the bus, the seats have been ripped out to make room for its passengers. On the bus's side are the words "EMERGENCY ANIMAL RESCUE SHELTER." But it could have said "Noah's Ark."
In the last week, Alsup and his bus have rescued 53 dogs and 11 cats from South Carolina shelters
that were in Florence's treacherous path, as first reported by the Greenville News.
“I thought, well what can I do?” Alsup told the Washington Post. “I’ll just go buy a bus.”
"I'm like, look, these are lives too," Alsup told The Washington Post during his Waffle House stop. "Animals - especially shelter pets - they always have to take the back seat of the bus. But I'll give them their own bus. If I have to I'll pay for all the fuel, or even a boat, to get these dogs out of there."
With his converted school bus packed from floor to ceiling with crates and pet supplies, Alsup headed to a privately run shelter in Foley, Alabama. From there, the pets were distributed to shelters and foster homes throughout the country to await adoption. Some even found forever homes on the spot!
Alsup currently runs the non-profit rescue, TEARS (Tony’s Emergency Animal Rescue and Shelter).