On August 29th, a massive Category 4 hurricane named Ida made landfall, pummeling the South. Hurricane Ida cut a deadly path through the region, destroying businesses and neighborhoods, and leaving hundreds of thousands without power. The state of Louisiana was one of the hardest hit.

Part of our mission at the Animal Protection Society – Friday Harbor is to network with other shelters and pet rescue groups impacted by natural disasters to help save lives. When presented with a connection from a valued donor to assist with Hurricane Ida disaster relief, APS-FH jumped at the opportunity to help!

APS-FH was connected with the Greater Good Charities, which was responsible for arranging an emergency airlift of dogs and cats from Louisiana shelters to the Pacific Northwest. These pets were already available for adoption at shelters prior to the storm hitting and therefore were prioritized for transport out. This lifesaving transport would free up space in Louisiana shelters to accept incoming displaced pets from the storm – allowing more space and time for them to reunite with their owners.

A lot of quick coordinating had to be done to make sure the animals were prepared to fly: sourcing shelters in need, preparing and approving animals to fly, coordinating the actual flight, and making sure there were enough “receiving” groups ready to find them their forever homes.

Through a shared online spreadsheet (Google Docs), seven Louisiana “sending” shelters connected their available pets with six Pacific Northwest “receiving” shelters/rescues. As a result, a total of over 95 animals found placement from across the country.

The emergency airlift was organized through Greater Good Charities’ Good Flights Program, with the flight fully funded through IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) to fly the over 95 dogs and cats from Baton Rouge Louisiana to the Pacific Northwest. Flight details were given last minute. (We received confirmation just three days in advance.)

After a great deal of coordination and efforts from Greater Good Charities’ Good Flights Program, the sending shelters, the receiving shelters, and IFAW, the life-saving flight landed safely at Paine Field in Everett, WA on September 10th, 2021.

Thanks to this incredible effort and national network of animal advocates, Flitwick, Cookie, Tribble, Hula Hoop, T-Boy (dogs), Opal, and Kirby (cats) will now be calling the Pacific Northwest their forever home!