What happens when you have a heartworm-positive dog in a shelter that is already overcrowded and under-resourced? How do you solve pet overpopulation in one area of the country when other areas don't have enough pets to meet the demand of qualified would-be adopters? How do you move shelter pets out of harm's way during a natural disaster, and make sure shelters have enough room for the influx of rescues following those disasters?
There's one answer to all of these questions: Greater Good Charities and their Good Flights program!
Leaving on a Jet Plane
Good Flights conducts life-saving airlifts and supports ground transport for at-risk pet populations — like heartworm-positive pets, homeless cats, and larger dog breeds that are harder to place. Take a look at just a few of the rescue flights they've completed:
- After the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, Hawaii's shelters, which largely rely on tourism and foot traffic for adoptions, were massively overcrowded. With support from partners, Good Flights hosted the largest rescue flight in history, transporting nearly 600 pets from five Hawaiian islands to Seattle, Washington.
- In 2021, Greater Good Charities transported more than 2,700 pets through their Good Flights program, including airlifting 92 pets out of the path of Hurricane Ida. This mission not only ensured the safety of the transported pets, but also cleared room in shelters for the influx of pets displaced by the hurricane.
- This year, Greater Good Charities has been integral in rescue work occurring in Ukraine, working with partners to get pets and people to safety and providing much-needed supplies to rescuers and refugees.
And that brings us to today, when Patrick McDonnell and members of Team MUTTS will be heading to the airport to meet one of these Good Flights as staff members and volunteers with Greater Good Charities transport 47 pups from Louisiana up to New Jersey to continue on their journey to their forever families.
Meet Queenie and the Bayou Babies
One lucky lady making the journey is Queenie, and Patrick is excited to meet her and her "Bayou babies!" Like one of Patrick's biggest influences, George Herriman, Queenie and her puppies hail from Louisiana.
Queenie was left on a dirt road by the banks of the bayou when she was just a young pup herself. She wandered to a small camper belonging to a kind-hearted man who was known for caring for animals in need. He didn't have much, but what he had, he happily shared with Queenie. He'd intended to get Queenie spayed, but as time went by, the funds and resources just weren't there for him to do so. Before he knew it she was ready to have puppies of her own.
Queenie had six beautiful pups, and that kind-hearted man did all he could to care for them. Ultimately though, he knew he couldn't support them all. He made the kind and loving choice to surrender Queenie and her six puppies — Coral, Hazel, Indigo, Ivory, Lilac, and Sienna — to the Iberville Parish Shelter and Animal Control in the hopes that they would find the loving homes they deserved.
Today, they and 40 other dogs are headed to New Jersey to do just that! Stay tuned on our Facebook and Instagram pages as we bring you more coverage from the flight. And be on the lookout later in the spring for a series of MUTTS comic strips based around the experience!
All photos courtesy Greater Good Charities. Learn more about Greater Good Charities and their Good Flights program at www.greatergood.org.