Southwest fills plane with pets, flies abandoned animals from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico

Dozens of animals from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico are now getting a new “leash” on life thanks to Southwest Airlines and a Virginia-based animal rescue group.

Recently, a 737 was filled with dogs and cats rescued from the streets of the island territory on their way to new foster and adoptive homes.

The animals were found in the wreckage left behind after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico more than four months ago. They were abandoned and starving, the Washington Post reported.

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The pet flight was the brainchild of Mirah Horowitz and her rescue group, Lucky Dog Animal Rescue.

Some of the animals were strays, nicknamed “satos,” others were surrendered by people who barely have enough for their families and have nothing to spare to care for a pet.

Southwest Airlines donated the round trip flight to Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. The entire flight crew made the trip, agreeing to do it without getting paid. Lucky Dog worked with the rescue group called PR Animals, the Dallas News reported.

One flight attendant told the Washington Post that she took the route to find a new pet after her dog died four years ago.

But it wasn’t just a pick-up mission. Lucky Dog’s volunteers also used the flight down to take much-needed supplies like Clorox wipes, trash bags and diapers, in all 14,000 pounds of supplies.

Once the plane landed, the supplies that filled almost every available space were offloaded and the dogs and cats, 62 of them, were brought on the flight to their new home, Dallas News reported.

When the flight finally landed at Baltimore Washington International Airport, the animals were taken via convoy to Shirlington, Virginia, greeted at the shelter by volunteers who cheered and hugged each animal as their names were announced. The day after their Jan. 20 trip, the animals were taken to a PetSmart in Maryland for an adoption event. Most already have found their new, permanent homes, the Washington Post reported.

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