Southwest Flies 62 Puppies and Kittens Out of Puerto Rico
Hurricane Maria dealt a devastating blow to the US island of Puerto Rico, with every resident on the island left without both power and cell phone reception. Since the storm, it's been reported that hundreds of thousands of residents have fled the island as the recovery efforts progress slowly. Today, one in five Puerto Rican households are still without power.
The human toll has been tragic, and the recovery efforts have understandably focused on the people of Puerto Rico, but there were also many furry victims of the powerful hurricane. Sadly, many residents who evacuated the island after the storm had to leave without their pets. Other hurricane victims had to give up their pets as they have been unable to care for them.
On January 20, 62 of these orphaned dogs and cats got a new chance to find a "fur-ever" home. Southwest Airlines partnered with Washington, DC-based Lucky Dog Animal Rescue to airlift 14,000 pounds of supplies into Puerto Rico:
And the rescue flight returned to Baltimore (BWI) with over five dozen four-legged passengers. Some of these were even lucky enough to meet the pilots before the flight:
A few lucky dogs even got to tour the cockpit:
The Dallas Morning News reports that Mirah Horowitz, executive director and founder of Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, got the ball rolling on the trip when she sent an "unsolicited email" to Southwest's CEO Gary Kelly. After months of coordination and planning, the flight was scheduled and flown on Saturday.
Mirah expressed her appreciation to Southwest for the rescue flight:
"We are incredibly grateful to Southwest for partnering with us to make this flight a reality. This flight will literally save lives – both of the animals who are transported to DC as well as to those who remain on the island and need the supplies we are bringing."
If you can't get enough of this LUV-filled mission, check out video from the rescue flight: