Alpine Humane Society dogs take flight to new homes in Idaho

ALPINE - On Tuesday, May 14, the Alpine Humane Society (AHS) Transport Program flew dogs out of Far West Texas to find forever homes in Idaho.

Four dogs from the Alpine City Shelter and two dogs from the Marathon shelter flew from Las Cruces to partner rescues. Two more area dogs in need of homes were also on-board.

Between 55 and 60 dogs were received by Idaho Humane (Boise, ID) and Mountain Humane (Hailey, ID) on this flight. The flights are provided by the organization Dog is My CoPilot which can make the trip from Las Cruces to Idaho in about four hours, totally covering the cost of the transport - charging neither the shipping nor receiving rescues a dime.

Dog is My CoPilot is based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and since forming seven years ago, has flown more than 11,000 dogs out of high-risk shelters to rescues who can place them in appropriate homes.

All rescue partners are no-kill shelters in communities that do not have pet overpopulation, and who have progressive shelter facilities (and supported foster programs), short length of stays, rigorous adopter screening and the ability to provide behavioral or medical support, as needed.

This is the second flight in a seven-flight 2019 flying season that runs from April to October. Last month was AHS’s inaugural transport with Dog is My CoPilot. Five dogs flew on April 17. Four have been adopted and the adopters of a couple of them have sent back photos and updates. Red, a two-year-old female pit bull from the Marathon Shelter, was one of five dogs accepted into Idaho Humane’s renowned Inmate Dog Alliance Project (IDAPI). She is in a class of five dogs to go through the program and will graduate June

29. IDAPI dogs are highly coveted. The adoption application process is rigorous, and it is expected that she will make a great family very happy immediately upon graduation.

The Alpine City Shelter has not euthanized a pet for space in more than five years. A primary reason for this achievement is that AHS transports or transfers nearly 40% of all intakes in order to avoid running out of space at the shelter. The AHS Transport Program saves lives and reduces the length of stay for pets struggling to find a home locally. The no-cost flights made possible by Dog is My CoPilot allow AHS to stretch dollars further and help more local dogs find forever families in other communities.

By flying, the amount of time that pets are in transit is much reduced, creating a more humane transport experience for the animals. AHS Transport Coordinator Heather Hall said, “After watching the dogs fly off at sunrise, we said quick goodbyes and headed for home. I got the text message that our dogs had arrived in Idaho in a rare blip of cell signal along the O2 flats. The dogs had arrived home before we did!”

While these transports are an exciting opportunity for the shelter pets, they are only a stopgap measure in the effort to end pet homelessness. Alongside these monthly flights, AHS is part of a monthly ground transport and works closely with other rescues to move unwanted pets out of this area into communities where they can find homes.

“It takes an incredible amount of work, time, and resources to conduct these monthly transports, and in many ways, they take a toll on our hearts, too. We rally all this enthusiasm and energy for these transports, and it is amazing and generous and wonderful. But picking who gets to go and who has to stay, and then loading our animals onto vans and planes full of unwanted pets – 50 to 60 pets at a time, from all from Texas - is heartbreaking, too. The best way to help pets is to spay and neuter so that we can reduce the number of animals who are unwanted,” said Hall.

AHS depends on many people to make these flights possible: donors, volunteers, the shelter staff, AHS’ enrichment staff, area vets, drivers, local fosters, rescue partners, and transporters. All are excited for a summer of flying.

AHS urges every owner to spay and neuter pets, opt to adopt, evangelize the humane treatment of animals, donate, or come by to volunteer.

More information about these programs is at: www.alpinehumanesociety.org, www.idahohumanesociety.org, www.mountainhumane.org, www.dogcopilot.org.

The Big Bend Sentinel

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