Pets lost in Hurricane Harvey fly out of state for new lease on life

Stranded after Hurricane Harvey, pets flown out of state for adoption

SAN ANTONIO – Dozens of dogs and cats stranded by Hurricane Harvey are in the air Friday and on their way to shelters 1,500 miles away.

The non-profit organization Dog is My Copilot is flying pets that were surrendered by Houston owners to states with shelters that have room.

After the hurricane, Rosie the pit bull owners in the Houston area just couldn't take care of her anymore.

She is one of 60 other surrendered pets on their way across the country for a second chance at life.

"She's so very sweet, she gives the biggest kisses," said Kylie Brasher with San Antonio Pets Alive, "She's gonna go up North, be someone's hiking buddy, and just, the best dog."

Departing from Kelly Field airport in San Antonio, nine cats and 51 dogs are on a flight to three Idaho airports.

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Since the hurricane, the no-kill shelter SAPA has had 300 pets come in from the Houston area, which is on top of the 20 a day they get from the city.

Brasher says more are coming.

Four other no-kill shelters, hailing from Idaho, Wyoming and one driving up from Portland, Oregon, have room to spare.

"They have people waiting for animals there,"  Brasher said. "The hyper black labs that don't really get adopted here, they love 'em up North, they can see 'em in the snow and they go hiking. It's not just saving their life, it's giving them an amazing life, and that's the most rewarding part."

Peter Rork and his Cessna 208B is the pilot and the man behind DIMC.

"You can only drive them [the pets] so far, six, eight, 10 hours, and then that's tough on everybody," Rork said in between loading crates. "In order to drive 'em up there, it'd be a 27-hour drive, and that's, that's just awful, we can knock that off in a third of the time, so they'll be there in time for lunch."

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The first leg of the flight is nine hours, with one layover to refuel.

Rork says the pets don't need any sedation, it's just like riding in a car.

"Being up at altitude, these are sea-level dogs, so anything above 10,000 feet, they get pretty sleepy," Rork said.