By Becca Robbins

Best Friends of Baker has a new rig that will assist Carmen Ott and the team of volunteers in transporting animals across the area, sometimes even across state lines.

The 2018 Ram ProMaster City was purchased with help from a woman who wishes to stay anonymous. Ott said the woman has donated to Best Friends before and also adopted several animals.

Ott said the van cost about $23,000, including the graphics, which were done by the dealership.

When Ott picked the van up on Saturday it had 60 miles on it. By Tuesday the odometer read 505 miles.

She said Best Friends was able to get a discount on the van due to the group’s nonprofit status.

In the past, Ott said she used her own car to transport animals, and the miles were adding up.

“It’s nothing for me to drive to Seattle and back in one day,” she said.

Ott said Best Friends receives donations frequently, and the organization is sometimes listed as a suggested memorial donation in obituaries.

But the donation of a brand-new van is quite a different matter.

“(The donor) came to me and said, ‘Carmen I want to do something for you, ’” and I said, ‘don’t do something for me, do something for Best Friends, ’” Ott said. “She said she’d buy us a new rig but it had to last for a long time.”

Five drivers are insured to drive the vehicle, but Ott said she and her husband, Bill, probably will be behind the wheel most often.

Best Friends had used a Ford Explorer for the past 15 years, but Ott said she uses that vehicle for things around town like picking up food and smaller loads.

See more in the Aug. 31, 2018, issue of the Baker City Herald.