OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. (WREG) – It was a new beginning and fresh start for 139 kittens and cats that took to the sky Tuesday, en route to waiting families.
With Mid-South shelters at capacity, these lucky cats were on their way to find new forever homes in the Pacific Northwest after a seven-hour, 2,000-mile flight.
Ric Browde, CEO of nonprofit pet transport service Wings of Rescue, teamed up with another nonprofit, Memphis’ Kitty City for the unique rescue mission.
“There is this explosion that is flooding our shelters,” Browde said.
Wings of Rescue has rescued more than 5,000 pets ranging from cats and dogs to guinea pigs and a moose, and they expect to reach 10,000 by the end of the year.
Tuesday, the action was in Olive Branch, Mississippi, where local shelters and foster families loaded the plane for takeoff.
Emotions ran high, but many pushed back tears of sadness knowing that these pets were going to find new, loving homes.
It was a bittersweet moment, saying goodbye, but Browde said he knew they’ll be going to good homes.
“Each one of these pets now is going to be on somebody’s couch by the end of the weekend, which is amazing,” he said.
Wings of Rescue’s partnership comes at a time when shelters need help more than ever. Local shelters have been reaching out to businesses and individuals hoping that someone will answer the call.
“This year we have touched down in 36 states and six counties,” Browde said.