500 rescue dogs fly to NW in annual holiday airlift


by SUSAN WYATT / The Pet Dish


Posted on December 7, 2013 at 3:21 PM

Updated Saturday, Dec 7 at 3:26 PM

Two tiny chihuahuas named Nanny and Chippy were rescued from a hoarding situation in California, and thanks to Wings of Rescue, on Friday they and their pups were on a flight to the Northwest to find new families.

In the largest airlift to date, 500 dogs will have a safe home for the holidays this year, thanks to the group of volunteer pilots who fly dogs from the Los Angeles area to cities across the Northwest

"All of the dogs on our flights for the Holiday Airlift would have faced certain death if not rescued and transported to these new locations," said Cindy Smith with Wings of Rescue.

Ferndale-based Rescued Hearts Northwest took Nanny and Chippy and their pups.

Bekki Dodd, President of Rescued Hearts, says in Whatcom County there aren't many small dogs available for adoption in shelters, but there are too many in California.

"They're euthanizing dozens a day," she said.

Wings of Rescue flew the dogs to Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. All are health checked, neutered/spayed and vaccinated.

Dodd says two other dogs that her organization is taking were already spoken for.

Bobo the mastiff was found as a stray, and judging by his behavior he had been mistreated. After he was rescued from the streets, it took two days for him to wag his tail.

Dodd spent at least 40 hours facilitating his rescue. He met his new family in Bellingham.

Dodd says posting pictures on Facebook makes all the difference.

"The more people that share, the more chance (the dogs) have at living," she said.

Rhino was about to be euthanized.

"Networking works, it saves lives," she said. "One person sharing Rhino's picture saved her life."

This is the fourth holiday airlift. More than 20 pilots will fly dogs to 14 destinations in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana.

Flights will arrive in Olympia and Bellingham at 2 p.m. Friday.