After Hurricane Sandy devastated the northeast United States, many pets became homeless. Area shelters have been overflowing with new residents. So a few organizations stepped up to lend a helping hand. Sixty orphaned dogs and cats — from Save A Pet in Long Island and Delco SPCA in Delaware County — were flown across the country via a donated charter from Southwest Airlines, chaperoned by SeaWorld‘s animal rescue experts, just in time for a safe and secure new home for the holidays at the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe.
The extraordinary rescue is being made possible by Southwest Airlines, whose flight crews are donating their time and whose fuel provider BP is donating fuel; along with the donated manpower of SeaWorld, who is providing veterinarians and animal technicians to chaperone the furry and four-legged passengers during the cross-country flight. SeaWorld’s animal experts in San Diego also will donate transportation for the pets to their new home after they land. Once at the Helen Woodward Animal Center, the animals will be evaluated by a veterinarian and receive medical treatments, vaccinations and spaying or neutering before being placed in loving homes with adoptive families.
“We know the Northeast is still recovering from Sandy and there is a long road ahead, which is why we have devoted our aircraft and resources to bringing in volunteers to assist on the ground,” stated Linda Rutherford, Southwest Airlines Vice President of Communication and Strategic Outreach. “Helping these animals find their forever homes and making room for the many animals displaced by the Hurricane is something we were happy to do, but wouldn’t have been possible without the generous spirit of our employees and partners.”
“We have a long history of rescuing animals and giving them a second chance at life and helping this effort is a natural extension of our resources,” said SeaWorld spokesperson Becca Bides. “Helen Woodward Animal Center and Southwest Airlines are big-hearted organizations and long-standing partners of SeaWorld and we are thrilled to team together for a cause. Everyone involved in the rescue is going to incredible lengths to aid these displaced pets and to get them into loving homes.”