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Oct 7, 2021

Hope Takes Flight


Hundreds of dogs and cats, including Baby Girl, got a fresh start thanks to a massive cross-country animal transfer effort. You can help change the stories of more animals like her.

For three months, Baby Girl lived in an overcrowded Texas shelter where she sometimes shared her small kennel with as many as three other dogs. With over 900 animals to care for, the staff couldn’t give her much attention or time out of her kennel. But then, she was loaded into a travel crate at the El Paso airport for a life-changing transport to Madison.

Just a few days before, Bissell Pet Foundation contacted Dane County Humane Society (DCHS) about the urgent situation in Texas and offered to fund a cargo plane to transport nearly 100 animals to Madison, as well as two other flights to other areas of the country. We quickly said yes, and immediately started coordinating shelters and rescues across three states to help take in animals.

Through the support of donors like you, DCHS gives lifesaving assistance to shelters in overwhelmed areas throughout the United States. By relieving the pressure of daily care for high numbers of animals, these source shelters can spend more time on intake prevention programs like spay/neuter assistance and low-cost veterinary services to create positive change.

Nationwide, adoptions in 2021 are down nearly 20% over pre-pandemic levels. Many shelters have been making heart-breaking decisions when they run out of space. Transfers to shelters with a higher demand for animals like DCHS enable even more animals to find safety and new families.

Baby Girl is an adult pitbull mix, the kind of dog shelters often reject for transport. But DCHS said yes and gave her the opportunity to find a new family. On July 1, Baby Girl boarded a four-hour flight from El Paso to Madison. Staff and volunteers from DCHS and five other organizations offloaded the dogs and transported them to their final shelter destinations.

Once at DCHS, our veterinary team examined Baby Girl to make sure she was okay after the flight. Due to the high rate of infectious diseases in overcrowded shelters, we also started bloodwork to check for various diseases. Overall, she seemed to be in good health.

Our staff led Baby Girl to the new spacious kennel she would have all to herself. Our team made sure she received daily enrichment, walks and yard time, and opportunities for quiet time to snuggle with volunteers. She slept deeply that first night, curled up on her comfortable bed surrounded by toys.

Over the next few days as Baby Girl enjoyed time in our play yards with volunteers, we noticed she was limping on her left hind leg and sometimes wouldn’t use the leg at all. Our vet team sedated her for x-rays and discovered an old knee injury had caused arthritis. To help with this flare-up, we gave Baby Girl some anti-inflammatory pain medication, and she was soon back to running and playing!

Two weeks after the El Paso dogs arrived, Amber came to DCHS to adopt a dog and quickly fell in love with Baby Girl. After months of waiting, she would finally have a family again! Baby Girl had a huge smile on her face on the ride home with Amber.

Baby Girl quickly settled in with her new family. She loves to be right next to her people and fancies herself a lap dog! Amber also discovered Baby Girl already knew lots of tricks, including shake and roll over. Says Amber, “She’s made a lot of friends at the dog park and loves to play, and she’s also close with our cat Lucky! They sniff, cuddle, and lick each other. It’s very cute.”

From one of over 900 homeless animals in an overwhelmed shelter, Baby Girl is now living her best life and is very much wanted and loved. Thank you for helping us change her story.

Your life-changing gift of $100 will be doubled!

In honor of DCHS’s 100 year anniversary, an anonymous donor is matching every $100 gift, up to $10,000! That means your $100 gift is doubled to $200! Please give today! Your generosity truly saves the lives of animals like Baby Girl and helps them find new, loving homes in our community.

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