Harvey-displaced dogs and cats hitch plane ride from Texas to San Diego

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Harvey-displaced dogs and cats hitch plane ride from Texas to San Diego

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Rodolfo Gonzalez/Rodolfo Gonzalez
Rodolfo Gonzalez for Austin American-Statesman. Many dogs, like Pitty in this picture, were displaced or evacuated as a result of Hurricane Harvey. Along with cats, several dozen of them were transported to a new shelter in San Diego on a Southwest Airlines plane.

A recent flight from Austin to San Diego would’ve been a plane ride probably all of us would’ve enjoyed — given that 64 of the passengers were dogs and cats.

Hurricane Harvey displaced a lot of pets when it ripped through towns along the Texas Gulf Coast, including Houston, where many rescue organizations worked to move shelter cats and dogs to other cities. One such operation brought in Southwest Airlines to transport 64 of those animals from Texas to San Diego, according to the Houston Chronicle

And they weren’t cargo on the plane, either: Southwest granted them space in the cabin along with volunteers taking the rescued cats and canines to Helen Woodward Animal Center's San Diego adoption center.

The animals came from various shelters around Houston, according to the article. Houston’s Operation Pets Alive had housed them in a temporary shelter but couldn’t watch them permanently — so the California shelter stepped in.

“There are shelters that have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey, without electricity, without supplies,” Mike Arms, president of the Helen Woodward Animal Center, said in a statement posted to Southwest Airlines’ website. “Operation Pets Alive! has taken in an overwhelming number of orphan dogs and cats who had inhabited those shelters before the storm and were suddenly facing euthanasia simply because they had no place to go.”

Each one will be put up for adoption in San Diego. 

This story hasn’t been the only one with a happy ending for Houston’s shelter animals following Harvey’s destruction. Two celebrities are partly to thank for that: Country singer Miranda Lambert herself was part of her rescue organization’s efforts there after the hurricane, and actor Liev Schreiber adopted two displaced dogs.

Austin’s own Austin Pets Alive and other rescue groups in the area have also been instrumental in making sure that the shelter animals in Harvey-affected areas have safe places to stay while waiting to be adopted.

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