MIDDLETOWN – Imagine seeing 84 boxes of cats and dogs unloaded at a New Jersey airport. The dogs are so exhausted, they are quiet. The cats sit huddled in their tiny boxes.
Two hundred and forty-two pets were flown from an overcrowded El Paso, Texas animal shelter to 14 animal rescue groups around the country – one of the largest animal transports in history, according to the BISSELL Pet Foundation, responsible for the flights.
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The Potter League of Rhode Island, a private, non-profit animal shelter in Middletown, was part of the mission and took in five dogs and four kittens.
“This milestone event shows how many pets are in need of care and how much the shelters need community support to get them adopted,” said Cathy Bissell, founder of the foundation.
Finding a home for these pets will take a few more weeks. First, the animals need to be thoroughly examined for health problems such as intestinal and respiratory diseases that can race through overcrowded shelters like in El Paso.
“You come from a stressful environment,” said Brad Shear, Potter League CEO. “Stress can affect your immune system.”
Kara Montalbano, the league’s director of marketing and community relations, was at the airport when the pets arrived in New Jersey.
“We had to lift her off the plane by hand,” she said. “You just go into go mode. Some of them are trembling. Most of the dogs were pretty calm. ”
In addition to the stress, there was a long drive home in torrential rain. When the van arrived in the Potter League on Friday, it was midnight. All animals slept.
The Potter League is the Taj Mahal of animal shelters. The cages are air-conditioned. Cats can frolic in cat apartments. There’s plenty of room to move around and run, and plenty of volunteers ready to cuddle. The league can even perform soft tissue surgery on site.
Rescue animals know how to play cute, and these dogs were no exception.
There’s Gatsby, a little black Labrador mix with a great Labrador.
The huskies, Argyle and Kirly.
Boyd, a 17-pound poodle mix that is missing most of her gray hair.
And finally Lavender, a cattle dog mix.
Everyone leaps on the glass doors and loots for attention.
The kittens fit in the palm of your hand and are available in different shades: Calico, Buff, Tabby Gray.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time,” said Montalbano on Wednesday. “Some people have worked or been involved here for 30 years. I can’t put it into words, but it’s about making connections, knowing that you will be loved for the rest of your life. ”
More information is available at potterleague.org.