For Its Final Flight, This Airplane Carried Animals Displaced By Hurricane Harvey To Safety

Thanks to the generosity of others, dozens of animals displaced by Hurricane Harvey now have another chance to find a forever home.

When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and parts of Louisiana late last month, it destroyed thousands of homes and displaced even more people and animals. While the extensive rebuilding process will take years to complete, various charities and organizations have already stepped in to ease the burden in any way they can.

For example, Dallas News reports on September 5 that Southwest Airlines sent one of its soon-to-be retired jets on a final flight from Austin to San Diego, California in an effort to bring dozens of dogs and cats seeking families post-Harvey to an animal shelter that will adequately care for them until they are adopted.

The publication notes 64 dogs and cats were boarded into the aircraft's main cabin in carriers that were buckled into the seats. Staff and volunteers from the Helen Woodward Animal Center (where the furry pals are headed) helped escort the animals to the West Coast. The staff will ensure all of the animals are properly cared for and vaccinated before placing them up for adoption.

Per HuffPost, Southwest took part in similar rescues after Hurricane Sandy hit the northeast in 2012 and Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc in New Orleans back in 2005.

According to a Facebook post from Helen Woodward, all of the animals were in Houston shelters prior to Harvey, and now are obviously desperately in need of a new home as many parts of the city are still flooded and/or without power. After the storm, they (and hundreds of others) were being cared for by Houston-based rescue organization Operation Pets Alive.

"There are shelters that have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey, without electricity, without supplies," Mike Arms, president and CEO of the Helen Woodward Animal Center, said in a statement. "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."

Video of the journey, above, shows the animals being safely loaded onto the aircraft, which was flown with a Southwest crew who donated their time to take part in the rescue flight.

The animals landed in California around midday Tuesday, and it appears some have already found foster homes.

A woman named Amanda Markos took to Twitter on September 7 to show off the cute cat she's currently caring for. "A few days ago this kitty was in Houston, TX. Today he's safe in CA in our home as a foster," she wrote.


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.