The passengers were barking, but despite their complaints, they were lucky to be at the airport again.
“It’s unheard of, we’re very fortunate that they came back a second day to get these animals out of here,” said Augusta Animal Services director Sharon Broady.
Tuesday, two dozen dogs were a flown out of Augusta to rescue groups up North, but 65 dogs were packed up to go, leaving forty dogs out of luck.
“We worked really, really hard to get all 65 animals ready to go and the initial feeling that I had for myself was failure. I did not want to see those pets staying,” said Dr. Tara Poppy, Augusta Animal Services’ veterinarian
But, every dog has its day and, overnight, a second flight was arranged and the remaining 41 dogs would be getting a second chance.
“The goal was to make sure every dog could get onto the plane and get to a new home. Nobody wanted to look at a puppy dog left on the tarmac again.
It was going to be tight. There was room for only two dozen on the first flight, but the Augusta Animal Services Department did what it could to maximize space. “We put some of them in smaller crates than we anticipated, trying to make room to make sure we get them all out,” said Broady.
It was the first time the pilots had dogs as their cargo, but they were on-board making make sure every inch of space was available for this rescue mission.
“It’s great when people have a surplus and we’re bringing them to people who want them. It’s a wonderful feeling,” said pilot Cassandra Zelesnikar.
“This is exactly what we wanted happy ending,” said Dr. Poppy.
“They won’t be able to stick their heads out the windows, but this could be the best ride of their lives, and this time, every dog that made it to the airport made it on board.
“That’s what we were aiming for, no dog left behind,” said Broady.
The two flights cost about $15,000. Like the first flight, though, the second flight was also covered by a grant from the ASPCA. The folks back in Wisconsin worked it out.