Getting the dogs home at last!!!14-June-2021
June 7, our transport team set out on a journey to transport nine dogs up the Baja peninsula to San Diego and on to a plane bound for Seattle where their new families were anxiously awaiting their arrival. We have talked about impossible missions before so you may be wondering how this can be possible. The answer is simple, we have many angels!
First was an angel who donated a van so that we could pack up our dogs and drive them north. Then, thanks to another angel, we have a new contract with Alaska Air Cargo that opens the skies to us. We can now fly dogs to almost anywhere Alaska Airlines flies — and that includes Vancouver, BC, Canada! So welcome back Canada!!
During the pandemic, we struggled to arrange transportation for adopted dogs resulting in many dogs waiting too long to be with their adopted families. We are very grateful to everyone who had the patience to wait for us and hopefully they were rewarded when their precious cargo finally arrived. This arrangement with Alaska Airlines means we can now plan a transport schedule, where adopters know when to expect their precious delivery.
In preparation for the trip, each dog was assessed by the ethology team to test their behavior and have their final health exam. Permits were ordered and approved, so we knew everything was a go!
Getting from La Paz, BCS, Mexico to San Diego, CA, USA
For this trip, the nine dogs had reservations on two back-to-back flights to Seattle. All dogs fly out of San Diego International Airport on Alaska Air Cargo flights.
We had an early wake up call of 6:30am where the fosters of all nine dogs arrived at a meeting place in El Centenario, a colonia just north of La Paz. There the kennels are all loaded and the rescatistas (rescuers/fosterers) say their final (often tearful) goodbyes.
The first leg of the trip is about 700 kms or halfway up the Baja peninsula to the small town of Guerrero Negro. The dogs are restless and anxious to get out after being in their crates all day They are still uncertain, confused, and wary of these people and dogs they hardly know. After a good walk, lots of water and some food they settle down again for the night back in their crates. We gain an hour with the time change, the drive was uneventful (thankfully) and the stop for the second night is just south of the border in the Valle de Guadalupe.
Here, the dogs have a huge, enclosed tennis court where they can run and play after two long days of being cooped up in their crates. This where you begin to see a transformation, dogs who were “not very good with other dogs”, or who “don’t really like to play” or “is shy and timid”, are just allowed to be dogs. They are free to run, play and just love life. This is where they truly become a pack along with their transport team. It is amazing to witness.
That night, their crate is now their sanctuary, they fall to sleep tired from all the play and know they are safe.
The morning of the third day, everyone wakes with a new purpose. This is FLY day, the day the adopters have been waiting a long time for. The dogs are very comfortable in their crates. Their confidence and willingness to tackle new adventures has grown in a short time and integrating into this new pack, has prepared them for life with their new families.
Final leg of the journey: San Diego to Seattle
Prepared with all the necessary documents, the border crossing is seamless. After the short drive to the San Diego Airport, another angel volunteer arrives to help unloading the dogs and getting them ready to fly. The first flight of dogs is checked in.
Here we say goodbye turning each precious life into the hands of wonderful adopters who will be waiting on the other end to receive their new furry family member.
The arrival! The day we have all been waiting for!
This final leg of the dogs’ journey is the culmination of many months of work. Rescuers/fosterers have poured their heart and soul into these dogs and then said goodbye. The team of people involved in getting these dogs to their new homes are dedicated and show up time and again to help make the transition smooth and easy. This includes the drivers and volunteers who help at the San Diego and Seattle Airports just to name a few.
Of course, that does not end our transport. Once the dogs are checked in, we start tracking the flight, glued to our cell phones, computers, or tablets awaiting the news. We want to make sure the dogs arrive safely, for sure, but our hope is that the new family loves the dog as much as we do. We don’t want to pry or be too invasive, but everyone who cared for these dogs for months, anxiously wait for word, for photos (as we know a picture tells a thousand words) that say, “all is well”. And then it comes — and we know we did our job well. We are inspired enough to go rescue another and repeat the cycle.
Thanks to all our angels, adopters and supporters. We couldn’t keep doing this without you!
It is inevitable that the cycle is repeated because there are an estimated 50,000 stray dogs in the La Paz municipality according to recent estimates by the Secretary of Health.
These nine that have been transported are not even a drop in the bucket. There are so many more that need help – but keeping up with the stray/ abandoned dog population is like swimming against the tide.
That is why our Spay/Neuter Progam (sterilization) is so important and why we need your help to keep it going and even expand it. $25.00 USD will spay/neuter a medium-size dog. Consider making a monthly donation to spay/neuter 1 or 2 dogs (or however many you can afford) every single month. We’ve got to break this cycle and we need your help.