The Coast News Group
Helen Woodward Animal Shelter
Big Momma arrives at Helen Woodward Animal Center with her pups, after being flown in from New Mexico. Courtesy photo

Local animal shelter welcomes rescue dogs, puppies from New Mexico

CARLSBAD — Helen Woodward Animal Center hit the Palomar Airport on Aug. 28 to pick up a rescue arrival that seems more stork than airplane.

Six mother dogs and their 44 collective puppies took a 3-hour flight from Las Cruces, New Mexico, thanks to Pilots N Paws, an organization that is uniting Barkhouse (aka Uncaged Paws) orphan canine families with HWAC.

Helen Woodward Animal Center is dedicated to finding homes for orphan pets both locally and around the world.  The Center’s commitment to this goal can be seen within its international campaigns and, more directly, in the thousands of lives placed into forever families each year.

Devoted to assisting the most overburdened shelters throughout the country, dogs and cats arrive by transport vehicle multiple times per week, traveling days at a time from as far away as Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, and farther, to seek the salvation of the Rancho Santa-Fe based organization.

The long journeys are challenging to both transporter and pets but worth the efforts that result in the saving of lives.

Enter Pilots N Paws, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization partnering volunteer pilots with shelters in need. Barkhouse/Uncaged Paws, a Las Cruces rescue organization approached the heartwarming air transfer service for help.

Determined to change the New Mexico pet overpopulation issue in a multitude of innovative ways (including low-cost spay and neuters, and transportation out of state), Barkhouse has had a standing partnership with Helen Woodward Animal Center.

The new possibility of transport by air, however, was special.  It meant that orphan canine mothers with young puppies had a much shorter and less taxing trip to take before meeting with the Center’s veterinary team, making these transfers even more agreeable.

Pilot Julian Javor arrived at the McClellan-Palomar Airport with the first of many transports between Helen Woodward Animal Center and Pilots N Paws. Passengers include Bessie – nicknamed “Big Momma,” a Terrier/Lab blend with her 10 puppies (only 2½ weeks old), and Tilly, a Heeler blend with her eight 2 week-old puppies.  A total of 50 dogs, six mothers and 44 pups, arrived.

After a quick van ride to the Center, mothers and puppies received medical checks from veterinary staff before being transported to the homes of foster families who will shelter the canines while they receive further medical care and any needed procedures before going available to potential adopters.