Meet Roman McConn, a 7-year-old from Augusta, Georgia. In his short time on this planet, he has helped rescue more than 1,350 dogs and 50 cats from animal shelters with high-kill rates. He has been working on his mission with Project Freedom Ride since 2016.

The animal lover, along with his mom Jennifer, transport pets in danger of being euthanized (primarily in high-kill Texas shelters) to long-term homes in the Pacific Northwest. “He’s a born dog whisperer,” said Crystal Eskola of Augusta Animal Services. 

Roman was just 4-years-old when he made it his mission to help stray cats and dogs. Reportedly, he asked family and friends to donate money to his favorite animal rescue in lieu of gifts on his birthday. Not long after, Roman and his mother drove 30 dogs from a kill shelter in Texas to loving homes in Washington state.

To help the dogs find forever homes, Jennifer posts videos of Roman playing with the pups. “I think it’s very important for the dogs I meet that I give them the best chance at finding the right home that they need,” Roman explained. 

Recently, the young activist was recognized by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Not only was he named the 2018 Kid of the Year, but he also appeared on the Ellen Degeneres Show. To everyone’s delight, Ellen gifted the organization $20,000. Watch the clip below: 

The Augusta Chronicle reports that the donation, made possible by Cheerios, will cover the cost of two transports. The first transport will take place in February and is expected to cost $15,000. A smaller one will occur in March and will cost $5,000. 

The only way I can describe Project Freedom Ride is we are a community,” Jennifer wrote on the non-profit’s Facebook page. “We partner with amazing Texas Rescues who help by pulling dogs from high-kill shelters or taking in strays and otherwise unwanted dogs prior to them entering such shelters and caring for them through their programs (vetting, fostering, etc) while we look for adopters and/or receiving partners in the Pacific Northwest to take them in.”

The entire process of matching dogs with potential owners and transporting them takes about 4 weeks. “My hopes for 2019 are, since we’re transporting from Georgia and Texas, to get as many dogs adopted as we can. And, to help rescue dogs ’cause I think they deserve more than a life in a kennel,” Roman said.

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