Seattle Humane and PAWS were taking in the Texas strays Wednesday afternoon. A plane load of cats is arriving Friday.
Some of the dogs panted inside their crates from the runway heat, but seemed otherwise curious about what was next. Others cowered at the noise of the loading ramp at Boeing Field on Wednesday afternoon and the crowd of people gathered to drive them to local animal shelters.
Texas shelters in San Antonio and Dallas were being emptied this week to make way for pets rescued from the flooding and devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Seattle Humane and PAWS were taking in the Texas strays.
A plane load of cats is arriving Friday.
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It’s a lesson learned from Hurricane Katrina, animal-welfare advocates said. People in flooded or badly damaged homes would refuse to be parted from their pets, placing both in danger.
If rescue workers could reassure them that their pets would be cared for nearby and available whenever they were able to get back into their homes, they were willing to be rescued themselves, said Dan Paul, Washington director of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
Former Seahawk Paul Moyer joined the animal advocates Wednesday hauling the dogs in their travel crates to waiting trucks. PAWS put in a call Wednesday morning to Seahawks headquarters, asking for some brawny guys to help unload the 38 large- and medium-sized crates. The team was on a plane headed to Oakland, so Moyer volunteered.
“We’ve all been watching the disaster and wanting to help any way we can. It’s great to send money, but this was a way for me to do something directly,” said Moyer, a dog owner himself.
Seattle Humane just opened a new, $30 million shelter in Bellevue this month and has room for up to 100 dogs and 200 cats, said Amanda Anderson, public-relations specialist.
“We’re able to help, and we want to help,” she said.
Laura Follis, of PAWS, said Texas shelters are typically full in the best of times. With thousands of pets already rescued from the flooding, she said shelters there needed to make room for the hurricane survivors.
She said PAWS has a partnership with HSUS to serve as an emergency placement partner.
“In terms of helping pets, where we can make the most difference in this disaster is to take in animals already in Texas shelters. The Seattle area is very fortunate to have so many people into pet adoption,” Follis said.
Each of the dogs arrived with paperwork attached to their crates, including their name, breed, health records and whatever was known about the dog’s disposition. There were several large terrier mixes, several short-haired mutts, some with white muzzles and some that looked quite young.
Two small, fluffy dogs had handwritten notes that said, “I’m super-sweet but I don’t like to be picked up.”
Only one dog was allowed out of its crate, because of the risk of a dog getting loose on the runway. Sandy, a terrier mix, had been fostered in the home of the San Antonio Animal Control Services director. She was a stray who was nursed back to health, said Cathi Perez, who works for Wings of Rescue, the organization that arranges flights for shelter pets that might otherwise be euthanized.
Perez hugged Sandy on the airport tarmac and said, “We promised to take especially good care of her.”
Wings of Rescue made a flight Monday to California and another Tuesday to the East Coast, Perez said. All the shelters taking in the Texas strays are no-kill shelters.
The dogs will be evaluated for health and disposition and be put up for adoption within 24 to 48 hours, said Anderson, of Seattle Humane.