Saving 600 Lives – All Before Breakfast

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Annie Hart and Rescue from the Hart have done it again.  This time they have managed to find forever homes at this massive adoption event for over 600 animals, and all before breakfast!  Many of the dogs and cats included were death row animals.  Thanks to Rescue from the Hart and many other rescue organizations and volunteer groups that participated in the event, these animals finally have the forever home they deserve.

From Rescue from the Hart:

There are months where great things happen in rescue, there are days when great things happen in rescue, and every once in a while there is a morning that changes everything in rescue.

At 6:30 am yesterday morning, rescue groups from all over the Southern California arrived in droves at Van Nuys airport with precious cargo. Vehicles of all kinds filled with dogs and cats; whose lives had been scheduled to end… but instead, on this day, they were being given a second chance. And I’m proud to say that dozens RFTH villagers showing up to lend a hand.

The event was called, “Fly Me Home” organized by Shelter MeBark Avenue Foundation and Wings of Rescue. This is a holiday airlift of massive proportions; planes preparing to surge into the sky filled with shelter animals, heading for a future, a future that (for them) did not exist hours before. Beautiful pets were pulled from shelters and transported by plane to areas where rescues and no kill shelters have room for them and areas where these types of dogs are in demand by adopters.

600 dogs were saved in a matter of hours. The culmination of weeks and months of work and donations by people who have dedicated themselves to saving lives. And I am proud to share with you that Rescue From The Hartwas one of the biggest financial donors that helped make this possible.

This event it is literally these animals last chance. If they had not been placed on these planes…well, we all know what happens. I cannot describe to you the chaos of the scene with dogs being walked on leashes, then bundled up in cloths, being placed in crates, weights checked, pilots doing the calculations that pilots do, dogs needing to be corralled, and people just everywhere… it was an absolute zoo.

But as zoos go, it was truly the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. So many rescues helping each other, so volunteers taking time off of work just to help. We were all so busy I didn’t think to take a photo of all the RFTH volunteers that had shown up… I wish I had, my words are a poor substitute for the sight of our team (and all the other teams) giving hundreds of dogs and cats the chance for hope and possibilities. It was sincerely one of the best days of my life… and a lot of happy tears were shed.

I wanted to tell everybody about this for a number of reasons, but the biggest one is so that when you are reading this, I want each and every one of you to sit back and take a moment to really realize this simple truth:

Our village is responsible for saving between 70-100 of those dogs yesterday. Because thanks to your financial support, RFTH was able to fund ONE FIFTH of this mass rescue!

600 lives saved… all before breakfast.

Then, we were able to help in a different (and massive) way while we were. Melanie from Bark Avenue pulled me aside and said they were being faced with an impossible decision and hoped I might have a better solution. Two moms and their 10 puppies (that were all just 2 days old) had been pulled from a shelter several hours away from Los Angeles, in an area called Porterville. This shelter has so few resources that it doesn’t even have a website to network dogs. No one to fight or advocate for them. And the word “HI-KILL” doesn’t do justice to how bad it truly is.

These dogs were pulled from the shelter and scheduled to fly all the way to New York. Flying them was their ONLY chance and survival… But everyone agreed it wasn’t safe for them to fly so young and surely some may die… But no one wanted to lose any of them. So I asked Melanie to buy me ten minutes, and delay the plane to see if I could find a better solution here in Los Angeles. Ten minutes to save ten puppies and two moms.

I immediately reached out to our friends at Hands Paws & Hearts Rescue, who specialize in moms and babies and have become an important partner to RFTH. I offered for #RFTH cover ALL 12 dogs’ medical care if they could find fosters and manage placement. And thank dog, they said, “YES.”

This is all part of what we are building – more than just one rescue – more than just one mission. Our goal is to end pet overpopulation here in LA and beyond. To do this, we have to attack the problem from different angles. From shelter rescue, street rescue, owner surrenders, local adoption, long distance adoption, collaboration with other rescues, spay/neuter programs, transport… And education. THIS is what we are doing at RFTH.

Villagers – this big win yesterday, these lives saved – YOU ALL rescued them. Each and every one of you. RFTH recognizes that we cannot do these things alone, that to save lives and make a dent in these issues we need so many rescue groups, so many people, from so many different walks of life, and in the just 3.5 months since we opened our doors – we already are building that on a scale that blows me away.

So to sum up, THANK YOU!! From myself, from James, from the volunteers, and from the dogs and cats who have landed safely – we love each and every one of you. We take nothing and none of you for granted. I hope that you can stand up and be proud of what our village accomplished together. Not just in the dogs, but in the team effort with all the rescuers and organizers and volunteers yesterday. With every re-tweet and share and like and donation, this is what you are building, this is a glimpse at how wonderful and magical the world can be. And this holiday season if a friend or a family member asks you why care so much about what RFTH is doing for dogs. Or why you rescue, share, volunteer, foster, adopt and donate? Just look back at them and say:

“Because It Takes a Village”


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