Sixty-two dogs and cats were rescued from hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico this past weekend, according to Southwest Airlines. The Dallas-based airline completed a carefully planned relief flight that brought 14,000 pounds of humanitarian supplies to the island, and returned to Baltimore with 62 stray animals who were abandoned during Hurricane Maria.
To make sure the journey went smoothly, a veterinarian and volunteers from Washington, D.C.-based Lucky Dog Animal Rescue were on board the 737 to monitor the four-legged passengers on the four-hour flight.
“The devastation that Hurricane Maria caused the communities of Puerto Rico is heartbreaking,” Linda Rutherford, Southwest Airlines chief communications officer, said in a press release. “Our employees are eager to lend a hand in bringing relief to San Juan by partnering with D.C.-based animal organization, Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, and Puerto Rico Animal Relief organization, PR Animals, in transporting dozens of impacted animals to the D.C. area in hopes of finding their forever homes.”
Unfortunately, many animals were left behind by families who had no way of caring for them after the storm tore through the island.
“We are incredibly grateful to Southwest for partnering with us to make this flight a reality,” Mirah Horowitz, executive director and founder of Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, said in the press release. “This flight will literally save lives — both of the animals who are transported to D.C. as well as to those who remain on the island and need the supplies we are bringing.”
About one third of the dogs and cats have been adopted to families in the D.C. area. You can see the rest of the Puerto Rican rescues via the Lucky Dog website.