Light load [part two]: Airborne puppies

by MM&D staff

HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, Newfoundland and Labrador: A pack of 60 rescued puppies and dogs is going on a free plane ride this weekend.

The dogs are currently in the care of the Happy Valley-Goose Bay (NL) SPCA, but the shelter doesn’t have the resources to care for such a large number of canines. Many of the animals ended up in the shelter after a series of forest fires swept through parts of Labrador.

On Saturday the dogs will be placed on-board FedEx Express Canada ATR 72 and will be flown to Litters ‘n Critters, an animal rescue organization in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The plane, which has been nicknamed The Labramushkadoodle Express for this particular journey, is making the trip as a special one-time charter routing. It will be operated by FedEx Express Canada volunteers and all costs for the flight are being covered by the company.

The airlift came about as a result of some postings to a social media site. It started when a Litters n’ Critters executive put some information about the puppies’ plight online.

“I knew there were a lot of dogs and pups in the shelter and foster homes and since we couldn’t get a lot out this year, I put out a (plea) on Facebook looking for someone with a plane or if they know anyone with a plane,” said Shelley Cunningham, president of Litters ‘n Critters. “One of our supporters Twittered it, and Adrian Grundy, the manager of corporate communications and public relations from FedEx, found out about it that way.”

Grundy contacted Cunningham, and she told him about the challenges the organizations faces when moving animals by air, including inclement weather and embargoes due to temperatures in aircraft cargo holds.

“He was so sweet and nice and understanding and said he was going to present it to his boss the next morning and call me back. He called me back and said that all they needed was permission to go into Goose Bay air space and if that goes through, it will happen. He said he would call me back the next afternoon. And he did. And he said yes. And I cried!”

Cunningham says Litters ‘n Critters has made all the necessary arrangements to receive the dogs.

“We have such a great network of volunteers and supporters and people are offering to foster, transport, donate food, blankets, dishes…one lady even bought new collars for the pups.”

To see some of dogs looking for homes, see the Happy Valley-Goose Bay SPCA website or its Facebook page or the Litters ‘n Critters website.