Heartworm Spells Danger For Southern Shelter Dogs. But You Can Help Us Fly Them To Safety

Life isn’t kind to shelter dogs, who – on top of abuse, neglect, and whatever other indignities they’ve suffered in life– spend their days in noisy, crowded shelters desperately waiting to be adopted.

But shelters can prove deadly for heartworm-positive rescue dogs, who are often euthanized when shelters lack the time, money, and space to treat this dangerous disease. According to the American Heartworm Society, Louisiana is one of America’s leading states for heartworm infection, placing shelter dogs in the Bayou State at especially high risk of euthanasia.

Photo: Greater Good Charities

This deadly dilemma has inspired The Animal Rescue Site to partner with Greater Good Charities and Boehringer Ingelheim, the maker of HEARTGARD® Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel), to launch Save a Heart, a life-saving initiative that will fly heartworm-positive dogs from overcrowded Louisiana shelters, where their chances of survival are slim, to East coast shelters with space and capacity to treat them.

Save a Heart, which will be conducted within Greater Good’s Good Flights program, will begin flying heartworm-positive shelter dogs to safety this April – in honor of Heartworm Awareness Month.

Photo: Greater Good Charities

Our first 3 Save a Heart flights will depart from Lafayette and New Orleans, LA, on April 19 and 20 with 120 at-risk shelter dogs on board. More than half of these furry travelers will be asymptomatic heartworm positive, but they’re safe to fly – and much, much safer than if they stayed behind. Boehringer Ingelheim, the maker of HEARTGARD® Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel), will generously sponsor treatment for all 1,000 of the asymptomatic heartworm-positive shelter dogs who will get a second chance at life because of this program.

These inaugural rescue flights will land in Morriston, NJ, and Fort Lauderdale, FL, from where all 120 pet passengers will be transferred to local shelters for heartworm treatment, rehabilitation, and eventual adoption. Nearer the end of April, another 35 at-risk shelter dogs will be driven from Southeast Louisiana to Fort Lauderdale, FL, where they’ll be distributed among local shelters and receive treatment.

Photo: Greater Good Charities

But the Save a Heart initiative won’t end just in May just because Heartworm Awareness month is over. Following our inaugural flights in April, Save a Heart flights and freedom rides will proceed 2 to 3 times per month for one full year.

Every Save a Heart mission will also include a 50/50 mix of heartworm-positive and heartworm-negative dogs. This means we’ll be able to save 1,000 asymptomatic heartworm-positive shelter dogs and another 1,000 heartworm-negative (but equally at-risk shelter dogs) by this time next year!

Even shelter dogs who don’t get to fly with us will benefit from this life-saving initiative because Save a Heart — on top of flying 2,000 shelter dogs to safety, treatment, and adoption — will provide preventative heartworm medication to protect another 2,500 shelter dogs in Louisiana from heartworm disease.

Photo: Greater Good Charities

But we can’t fly these at-risk shelter dogs to safety without your help. Just $25 can buy 625 air miles for an shelter dog traveling on a Save a Heart flight, but donations of any amount help us save Lousiana shelter dogs from being euthanized just because they contracted heartworm disease.

Thank you for helping us give at-risk shelter dogs a second chance during Heartworm Awareness Month!

Learn more about our Save a Heart mission in the video below!

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