As he makes his way back up north, Mahle visits shelters in another nine southern states, picking up about 80 more animals en route. It's a long trip for any one person to do alone, but the way Mahle sees it, he's got plenty of company. In fact, when it comes time to catch up on sleep, he doesn't check into a motel -- he curls up in the back with the dogs.
"From the time we leave, we live together, all of us," he says. "I want to be with them, I want to know what's going on with them because I don't want them to be scared."
In all the years that he's been doing this, Mahle has driven more than a million miles, connecting tens of thousands of needy dogs with families as far away as New England, asking for just a small fee to cover the cost of transportation in return. But while he's certainly not getting rich operating Rescue Road Trip, he counts the rewards in other ways.
"It's like being in a truck full of lottery winners. You can see it in their eyes and their disposition," Mahle says. "They know something good is going to happen to them."