Animal advocacy groups and airlines are joining forces to fly displaced pets out of populated Texas shelters to other parts of the country. They’re “lending a paw” to transport these pets to safety, in the hopes that they’ll find new forever homes.
On Wednesday, Sep. 6, 64 stranded cats and dogs packed a Dallas-based Southwest Airlines plane, the world’s largest low-cost carrier.
Southwest Airlines offered to fly the furry passengers out from storm-hit Houston, 1,400 miles across to Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC) in San Diego, after Hurricane Harvey.
“The people of HWAC stepped up to take in these pets that were relocated to different shelters, but they needed a ride to San Diego,” Southwest Airlines wrote on its Twitter page.
Southwest Airlines also shared some endearing shots of their pilot, crew members, and volunteers cuddling with puppies and kittens.
“Needless to say, this was one furry rescue flight, with plenty of love to go around!” Southwest Airlines tweeted.
This rescue initiative, which was called “Operation Pets Alive!” was a coordination between Southwest Airlines, Texas rescue group—Operation Pets Alive!, and San Diego’s Helen Woodward Animal Center.
“We’re so happy to partner with the Helen Woodward Animal Center to extend hope to Houston by transporting shelter animals to a new home in San Diego, while making additional space for family pets whose humans are currently displaced,” said Linda Rutherford, Southwest Airlines chief communications officer, according to a Southwest Airlines’ media release.
“Our Employees care so deeply for our Customers and all those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, including our sweet little four-legged friends.”
“These are the silent victims,” said Mike Arms, president of Helen Woodward Animal Center.
“Operation Pets Alive! has taken in an overwhelming number of orphan dogs and cats who had inhabited those shelters before the storm and were suddenly facing euthanasia simply because they had no place to go. We are honored to help save those lives and we are lucky to have incredible friends like Southwest to help make this all possible,” he added.
According to media outlet WGN-TV, animal charity organization Wings of Rescue also flew 180 dogs and cats out of Harvey-flooded Houston to Illinois on a plane this week.
Volunteers from Wings of Rescue are planning on a similar rescue mission to Florida in anticipation of Hurricane Irma, which is poised to strike the state this weekend.
“Thank you all for all that you have done for these displaced fur babies!! I’m so very sure they appreciate it!!” commented one Twitter user.
“They are Pawsome,” another wrote.