Dozens of tiny, four-legged imports boarded an international flight to colder climates and a new lease on life yesterday.
Phase 3 of Operation California Cuties got its wings thanks to a private Edmonton Humane Society supporter, who flew the designer dogs to the 780 in a private jet from California.
“It was 85 degrees Fahrenheit when they left Fresno,” EHS spokewoman Shawna Randolph said. “To get here and it’s all windy and chilly, was a shock.”
Luckily, the Humane Society greeted the dogs with a heated truck and 85 little sweaters.
Found in puppy mills, dumpsters or abandoned homes, the pups were flown to Edmonton as part of the society’s ongoing rescue mission.
It seems small-breed dogs are high in demand in Alberta, but common as dandelions in California, Randolph said.
The Central California SPCA euthanizes up to 11,000 every year.
More than 80 chihuahua, miniature pinschers and terrier crosses were imported yesterday.
Since the initiative started a year ago, volunteers in Fresno have gathered, vaccinated, spayed or neutered over 160 dogs before sending them to Edmonton.
People lined up in droves to adopt them last year, Randolph said, adding Alberta-born dogs and cats benefited as well.
“New visitors come in wanting a chihuahua and instead fall in love with a husky, or cat. Adoptions spiked by 27 per cent.”
They’ll join another 12 dogs and 183 cats at the EHS’s west Edmonton location, Randolph said.
“They are going to brighten lives in Alberta and complete families, and we were able to save their lives. We are thrilled.”
The first batch of California Cuties will be up for adoption, and viewable on the society’s website, as of Saturday.