When the last animal was loaded up and put into the plane a sense of relief swept over our team. 23 cats and 18 dogs were on board along with Humane Society International workers Adam and Chris who have worked tirelessly for the past few weeks to help the animals of Tortola, BVI survive while they wait for their rescue flight. When they reached out to us we knew we had to make this work.
The calls to find a private jet capable of doing this mission went out fast and furious. Brad Childs, Jonathan Plesset, and Mary Kennedy Withrow worked their contacts and ultimately an old friend came to our aid. The flight was not without its moments. As little as 15 minutes before the final decision to go was made the flight was called off. Without some incredible backroom dealings by Brad the mission would have been canceled. The flight would leave at 4pm on Monday and Jonathan jumped on board to help on the airside while Mary and Brad would coordinate on the ground in Pittsburgh.
The mission was a success and 36 of the 41 animals would fly back to Pittsburgh. Placement for these animals wouldn’t happen till the morning of the return flight but our unique flexibility of having both air and land assets meant that we could put together a team within an hour to drive these animals to their final stop in Reading, PA. Landpilots Mindy Wirick and Don Seigel drove through the night to get these animals to Humane PA where the excitement surrounding these animals will drive adoptions not only of these animals but of others in the shelter.
This mission was incredible. We want to thank everyone who played a PAART in making this a reality. From private donors who didn’t blink at funding something so audacious, to the help our volunteers gave unloading, loading, shopping for supplies. Its just amazing to be a part of something so incredible thats sole focus is on showing happy endings for the animals we love.