It was a journey that meant the difference between life and death for more than a dozen little dogs. Our Tamara Lindstrom tells us how the pups got from certain death in LA to a new life in central New York.
TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. -- A five hour ride in the back of a cargo van was the final leg of a very important journey.
"It was a long night. A very exhausting trip. But it was so worth it," said Sarah Post, SPCA Adoptions Manager.
Worth it for the pack of little dogs who faced certain death at overcrowded animal shelters in Los Angeles.
"There's a mix of Chihuahuas, Chihuahua mixes. There's some poodle mixes, some terrier mixes. So there's really quite a large variety," said Tompkins County SPCA Executive Director Jim Bouderau.
Organized by the Best Friends Animal Society, the dogs were plucked from shelters and flown across country where the Tompkins County SPCA was waiting for the new arrivals.
Bouderau said, "It really helps you to sort of realize the severity of the problem nationwide and how traditional shelters, in the worse cases, are euthanizing 70 percent of the animals that come in. And they never really have a chance for a second opportunity. So to give them this second chance is really wonderful."
In all, 20 of these guys made the trek from west coast to east after winning a second chance at life. But these were the lucky ones.
"We were given the option to actually select the dogs that we wanted. We let them choose them because we felt like we were picking who lives and who dies in that situation, which we weren't particularly willing to do,” Bouderau said. "Unfortunately, we can only do what we have the ability to do in the way of space. But it is sad to think that there are many, many more who need homes and need to get out of there that perhaps won't."
"It's shocking. Because here, they're going to fly out the door. We all know that because they're adorable and very rarely do we get small dogs in. It feels so good to be a part of it. To actually see where they came from and see them go home. It's the most rewarding feeling," said Post.
A feeling the rescuers hope to repeat with similar missions in the future.
The SPCA is putting on a special event at their Ithaca facility this weekend to help get the dogs into new homes. Anyone hoping to adopt can fill out paperwork online at SPCAonline.com to help you through the process.