The prior legwork had been done and we had actual photos of who would be coming south, but those who didn't make it on this trip would be picked up the next time.
We looked into one pen at two scruffy faced pups who were supposed to be labs but obviously weren't. They looked so much like my sweet Joe who had died a couple of years ago. I looked at Stef, she looked at me with a big smile, and all I said was, "Uh oh."
Stef and I unhooked the dogs and did a meet and greet to see who got along best for remaining outside the available crates in the van. I was so impressed. These were happy, well-cared-for dogs, with only one real bossy boots in the bunch (as it turns out, she had reason: she was pregnant).
We decided who would travel home in one of the now-empty crates, and, since we wanted to fit in as many as possible, who would be roaming free in the van. This isn't a quick process, and almost three hours later we were finally ready to go.
Counting the mama husky cross and her eight, 4-day-old puppies, our total at departure was an impressive 22 dogs of all ages and sizes.