One Friday during rush hour, a concerned citizen called about a puppy she saw wandering alone on a busy road in an industrial part of town.
The woman worried about all the cars zooming past, but also for the health of the puppy herself. The 5-month-old terrier mix was starving, hairless, and covered in scabs, without any fur to protect her body or paws from the hot asphalt or sun while she looked for food scraps.
“When we arrived on the scene, Dobby was emaciated, scared, but had the sweetest eyes that were screaming for help,” said rescuers, who raced to pluck the puppy from traffic and placed her in foster care.
Later that afternoon, Dobby finally received a warm bath, healthy food, and a soft bed where she napped for hours.
“Immediately, the exhaustion and worry left her eyes,” said Dobby’s foster mom, describing the moment the puppy realized she was finally safe. “The weight of being a hungry stray with Demodex [mites] was over and you could see it all over her cute hairless face.”
But even though Dobby–whose foster mom considers her one of the “sweetest, most accepting and loving pups” she’s met in a while–-is feeling much better, her chances of adoption remain slim in Louisiana, where shelter overcrowding leaves animals (especially sick, injured, and heartworm-positive dogs) at risk of euthanasia.
This led Dobby’s caretakers to book the puppy on our upcoming Clear the Shelters flight, which will fly 120 at-risk dogs and cats rescued from overcrowded Southern shelters to safety on Aug. 30.
NBCUniversal Local, Greater Good Charities, The Animal Rescue Site, and Hill’s Pet Nutrition are partnering on this life-saving pet airlift, which will coincide with Clear The Shelters, NBCUniversal Local’s annual pet adoption and shelter donation campaign in August.
Both airlifts focused on saving harder-to-adopt shelter pets, including asymptomatic heartworm-positive dogs, homeless cats, and large breed dogs. Without these life-saving flights, many of these animals would be at-risk for euthanasia.
On Aug. 2, our first Clear the Shelters flight flew 155 at-risk shelter cats saved from overcrowded shelters in Florida to safety in Massachusetts, where they were transferred to local shelters for adoption.
On Aug. 30, a second plane will fly from New Orleans to New Jersey carrying 90 at-risk shelter dogs and 30+ cats rescued from overcrowded shelters around Louisiana and Alabama. Upon landing in the Garden State, the shelter pet fliers will be transferred to St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, the Animal Welfare Association of New Jersey, and the Animal Care Sanctuary in Pennsylvania to receive any necessary medical care before being put up for adoption.
These special flights are part of Greater Good Charities’ Good Flights program and funded by Hill’s Pet Nutrition and The Animal Rescue Site, which is also donating much-needed supplies to shelters participating in this year’s pet adoption and donation campaign. The Animal Rescue Site is also hosting fundraising for this year’s shelter donation drive and covering 100 percent of transaction fees to ensure every cent goes to shelters and rescues in need. Support your favorite shelters here!
Our Aug. 30 flight is leaving just in time for many of this year’s Clear the Shelters fliers, including Omari and Kojo, two black labs abandoned in rural Louisiana. By the time the skinny dogs were found on a winding country road, one of the malnourished pups had an extension cord wrapped snugly around his neck.
“Both lab mixes happily came straight to the officer with tails slowly wagging and very empty bellies,” said shelter workers, describing the dogs (and presumed siblings) as dirty and very thin.
After the officer removed the extension cord, Omari and Kojo were brought back to the shelter, where they both got a good meal and medical care, including treatment for heartworm disease. Staff also gave the playful labs unique, noble names to help set them apart from all the other black labs in the shelter, which was crowded with larger dogs still waiting to get adopted.
Shelter workers swiftly booked Omari and Kojo on our Aug. 30 Clear the Shelters flight, which will give these loving, large breed dogs a chance to find forever homes. Omari and Kojo were at risk in the South, but this Clear the Shelters flight will give them a second chance at life.
Daphne, an 8-month-old Shepherd mix, will also by flying on our Aug. 30 flight, which will depart from New Orleans filled with at-risk dogs and cats eager for a fresh start in the Garden State!
After several days of running loose in rural Louisiana, Daphne was finally rescued by Lafourche Animal Shelter, where she quickly charmed shelter staff with her sweet and loving personality.
“She’s never met a stranger she didn’t like,” said shelter workers, who swiftly booked Daphne on our Aug. 30 flight to New Jersey.
Daphne’s shelter mate, Kane, will also be flying with us to New Jersey, where the loving dog hopes to find a forever home. After being passed around to several homes as a young puppy, the 10-month-old lab mix was finally surrendered to the Louisiana shelter after his owner moved into an apartment that didn’t allow large breed dogs.
Now Kane will get a second chance in New Jersey, where demand for adoption is soaring. Many of our shelter pet fliers get adopted in days!
Our Aug. 30 flight will also be filled with kittens and cats rescued during “kitten season.”
This includes feline fliers like Jania Jackson, a 3.5-month-old kitten who survived a tragic dog attack that killed her mother. After Jania’s mother died defending her kittens, Jania and her 4 siblings were rescued by a Good Samaritan who brought them to Iberville Parish Shelter and Animal Control, one of the Louisiana shelters sending at-risk pets on our August Clear the Shelters flights.
“The day of Jania’s arrival was a very challenging one,” said shelter workers, recalling how the 2-day old kittens arrived at the shelter still covered in their mother’s blood. “They were wrapped in a white towel in a small cardboard box,” said shelter workers, who saw the kittens still had their umbilical cords attached. Sadly, only one kitten, Jania, would survive this early trauma.
“Jania was a fighter from the beginning,” said shelter workers, recounting how scrappy kitten thrived in a a foster home filled with children, dogs, and even a cranky senior cat. “She was not the biggest kitten, but the little broken tailed black cat has the biggest heart.”
Now Jania will be flying to New Jersey on our Aug. 30 flight, which will help this little fighter find a forever family!
“She is much loved and we are so glad that she will find a wonderful loving home through the Good Flights program,” said shelter workers. “The one thing that little Jania teaches us that no matter what life challenges bring you can overcome if you add love.”
Another young kitten, Laramie, will be joining Jania on this life-saving airlift. After the feisty 5-month-old stray was caught in a cat trap in Louisiana, Laramie hissed and fussed at animal control officers all the way back to the shelter.
“She was a scruffy little gray kitten who was trapped in a very impoverished part of our small community,” said shelter workers. “Laramie thought that this was her last stop, that no one at the shelter would treat her with kindness, because kindness was something little Laramie had never known.”
At first, Laramie hissed at everyone who came near her kennel, leaving kennel attendants to warn the director that this kitten was “fierce and feral.” But instead of giving up on her, the shelter director scooped Laramie into a crate and brought her home, where the stray kitten thrived in foster care.
“She snuggled with her [foster mom’s] dogs and played with the director’s cat and learned to be the best kitten with a desire to live and love,” shelter workers told Greater Good Charities. Now this sweet little cuddle-bug is booked on our Aug. 30 Clear the Shelters flight to get a fresh start in New Jersey!
But we can’t fly Dobby, Omari, Kojo, Daphne, Kane, Jania, and Laramie to safety without support from our GreaterGood family, whose generous donations help us fund these special airlifts!
Can you spare $5 to help us buy air miles for the 120 shelter pets flying on our Aug. 30 Clear the Shelters flight? Just $5 helps us fund 125 air miles for one shelter pet traveler, and your gift will be matched by Hill’s Pet Nutrition up to $30,000. Thanks for helping us clear the shelters and give shelter pets a second chance at life!
Watch the video of our first Clear the Shelters passengers arriving in Massachusetts on Aug. 2!