A plane carrying more than 150 passengers is not out of the ordinary — but something the skies may not see as often are passengers covered in fur.
Wings of Rescue is a nonprofit that provides rescue mission plane rides for at-risk animals that are in overcrowded shelters or disaster zones.
Their 77th rescue mission of the year brought them to Minot.
After picking up about 150 cats and dogs from shelters in Mississippi and Louisiana, they took half to Wisconsin and then landed in Minot with the rest.
This trip is their third rescue mission from states affected by Hurricane Ida.
Rick Browde is the President and CEO of Wings of Rescue and he says the rescue missions save the lives of countless animals.
“Shelters get very full after a natural disaster as people whose houses were destroyed and especially during this COVID time. They’re not allowing pets to come into the human shelters so they have to make room for the pets in the shelters that survived the hurricane,” said Browde.
Browde says that shelters sometimes euthanize the animals already in the shelter to make room for the new ones.
“It never gets old to know that a pet was in danger of being euthanized is now saved because of our flights,” said Browde. “That’s the sheer joy of why I’ve been doing this for eight years.”
They’ve saved more than 6,000 pets this year and expect to save another 3,000 by the end of the year.
The animals from down south are now in the care of the Souris Valley Animal Shelter.
The shelter’s executive director says she’s happy that the animals are in North Dakota.
“To be selected by Wings of Rescue and Best Friends to help save 87 animals is quite the honor,” said Waters. “They trust our community, they trust our shelter, and that’s a pretty big deal.”
Over 60% of the 87 animals rescued are already adopted and the rest will go to foster homes. Waters says they tried to take in as many special needs and at-risk animals as possible.
“No one was pulling cats or seniors or animals with special needs,” said Waters. “We have two wheelchair dogs on this flight, we have a three-legged pitbull that’s going all the way to Bismarck. It was a priority, I mean these are animals that actually needed help the most and we had the capacity to help so we did.”
The Souris Valley Animal Shelter has been remodeled and the $3.5 million facility will be ready for animals in October.
If you would like to donate to Wings of Rescue, click this link.
To learn more about: adopting.
To learn more about: fostering.