(WRCB) -– Both the McKamey Animal Center and the Chattanooga Humane Education Society have been taking part in a program that transfers homeless animals from overcrowded shelters to shelters in other cities and states where they have a much better chance of being adopted.

The PetSmart Charities Rescue Waggin' program was started in 2004 and to date has saved more than 52,000 dogs and puppies, working with 60 animal shelters across the country. In the past year alone, the Rescue Waggin' program transported 9,541 dogs and puppies.

The dogs from Chattanooga were sent to several shelters in the Midwest. Combined, McKamey and the HES sent 255 dogs and puppies: 176 dogs from McKamey Animal Center and 79 from the Humane Educational Society. Through this program, the McKamey Animal Center also received $14,250 last year for shelter improvements.

"Until more people spay and neuter their pets and we reduce the number of animals entering shelters, the Rescue Waggin' program will continue to be a resource for shelters working to change the fate of homeless dogs in their communities," says Susanna Della Maddalena, executive director of PetSmart Charities, Inc.

The Rescue Waggin' program is a three-part program designed to help shelters save pets' lives, which includes the transport program as well as grants for spay and neuter expansion and professional consultations and funding support from PetSmart Charities for enhanced operations and shelter improvements for participating shelters.

To learn about the many ways PetSmart Charities is saving the lives of homeless pets, visit PetsmartCharities.org.