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Bellingham, WA – Wings of Rescue’s 2012 Holiday Airlift is perhaps the single largest animal rescue event ever on the West coast.
Pilots and their aircraft volunteered to fly the rescue pets to safety on December 7th and 10th.
The departures included Riverside, Van Nuys, Bakersfield, and Livermore, California (in the Bay Area).
The destinations include: Livermore, California; Eugene, Oregon; Portland, Oregon (Hillsboro airport); Olympia, Washington; Bellingham, Washington; and Saint George, Utah.
Included in the flight to arrive in Bellingham on December 10th at 2:00 p.m. are Chihuahua mixes Marsha and Molly. Molly has 6 newborn puppies. They are going to Bekki Dodd’s Alternative Humane Society foster home.
"Marsha had been pregnant, but when the rescue and foster pulled her out of the shelter, they immediately took her to the vet. An ultrasound showed that she had 12 very large babies in her tummy and she still had three weeks left of her pregnancy," Bekki explained.
"The babies were pushing on her spine and bladder and if she continued the pregnancy or tried delivering the puppies, she and the puppies would die. She had to have an emergency hysterectomy. Sadly, none of the babies were old enough to survive. Marsha has several staples in her belly but she is healing well and being cared for in her temporary foster home. If she had been left in the shelter she and her babies would have died a horrible death if her pregnancy went on."
This is Bekki's first experience working with Wings of Rescue. She found out about their organization through social media and is happy to help these animals find a second chance at life.
“Several Whatcom County pet rescues and animal advocates have been working with animal advocates from California who work daily to help bring awareness to the animals in their local high kill animal shelters and try to get them adopted,” Bekki stated.
“Small breed dogs such as Chihuahuas are basically ‘a dime a dozen’ in California.”
But in Washington State, these pets will have a chance to be adopted.
On the morning of Friday, December 7, a fleet of private aircraft began the massive pet rescue. They took to the skies carrying 300 dogs and cats away from Southern California “kill” shelters to a new life in Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, and British Columbia.
On Friday, more than 250 rescued dogs and several kittens arrived in Oregon. A total of four planes landed over the course of two hours. Pit bull puppies, cocker spaniels, and mixed breed dogs emerged from the plane, many housed in crates that held more than one occupant.
"We saved them," said Yehuda Netanel, co-founder of Wings of Rescue. "That's all there is to say."
Netanel's organization routinely participates in pet rescue, saving dogs and cats from almost certain death in California shelters. Wings of Rescue has flown more than 2,000 animals out of these high-kill shelters by connecting them with no-kill shelters.
Washington looks forward to welcoming their own rescues on Monday, December 10.
Wings of Rescue wishes to use this event to highlight the animal rescue concept and to educate the public about the need to spay and neuter our pets.
The animals taken from the California kill shelters were selected for their demeanor, health, and friendliness.
“Wings of Rescue does their part through organizing and coordinating with rescues to transport the animals to their new lives and a second chance with no-kill rescue groups,” Bekki stated.
“Their main goal is to help save lives and bring awareness about how important it is to spay and neuter pets. Whatcom County’s rescue groups share these goals and work closely with WeSNiP, a spay/neuter organization whose mission is “to eliminate the euthanasia of healthy pets in Whatcom County through affordable, high-quality spay and neuter services, as well as through outreach and education.”
WeSNiP is a huge advocate of spaying and neutering. Thanks to the efforts of organizations like WeSnip, Washington State does not have the same issue of shelter overcrowding that is found in California.
“The Alternative Humane Society, working together with Wings of Rescue, Gypsy Dog Rescue, Lisa Avoian, and Andrea Fein Blodgett, have made it possible to get space on the Holiday Wings of Rescue flight due to fly into the Bellingham airport December 10th," Bekki stated.
"It takes a lot of coordinating to make something like this happen and our local rescue groups are proud to be a part of it!”
Updates to this story will be posted as they occur.
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About Wings of Rescue
Wings of Rescue is an all-volunteer organization that has a passion for flying and a desire to save shelter animals from euthanasia.
Their wings are the Wings of Rescue for those animals saved from high-kill animal shelters then flown to the safety of their rescue organizations, often across great distances. They fly shelter animals from areas with high euthanasia rates to areas where adoptable pets are in demand.
Wings of Rescue pilots donate their aviation skills and aircraft to fly shelter animals to animal rescue organizations throughout the western United States. No plane is too small or too large to save a life!
Their Flight Coordinators assist both the pilot and rescue organization with the planning and execution of the flight. They are the critical link between the worlds of aviation and animal rescue.
Their Ground Crew wears many different hats. They may meet an arriving flight to provide assistance to the pilot and animal rescue organization in the care and transfer of the rescued animals or they may be a fundraiser, event planner, or even a web master! They keep Wings of Rescue in the air.