Our First “Save a Heart” Flights Flew 79 Heartworm-Positive Dogs One Step Closer To Their Forever Homes

Life isn’t kind to shelter dogs, who spend their days in stressful, noisy shelters desperately waiting to get adopted. But their existence is even bleaker in Louisiana, where most shelters are overcrowded, underfunded, and lack the space and capacity to treat sick animals. This forces shelters to resort to euthanasia, giving heartworm-positive shelter dogs a slim chance of ever leaving the shelter alive.

Muneca, boarding her Save a Heart flight. Photo: Greater Good Charities

This deadly dilemma inspired Greater Good Charities to partner with The Animal Rescue Site and Boehringer Ingelheim, the maker of HEARTGARD® Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel), to launch Save a Heart, a lifesaving mission founded to fly heartworm-positive shelter dogs from Louisiana to safety in East Coast shelters with space and capacity to treat them … and ultimately get them adopted into loving homes!

Ready to board! Photo: Greater Good Charities

On April 19 and 20, our inaugural Save a Heart flights flew from New Orleans and Lafayette, LA, with more than 100 at-risk shelter dogs on board. Most of these travelers were heartworm-positive, which often proves deadly for Louisiana shelter dogs. Other fliers were heartworm-negative but at high risk in overcrowded shelters. What do they all have in common? These rescue flights saved their lives.

The flights touched down in Florida and New Jersey, where the dogs were transferred to local shelters for treatment and adoption. At least one heartworm-positive traveler, Save a Heart passenger Hairy Pawter, has already been adopted!

Hairy Pawter’s already been adopted. Photo: Humane Society of Broward County

But our first 2 Save a Heart flights — which departed on April 19 and 20 in honor of April’s Heartworm Awareness month — wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Animal Rescue Site readers. Your generous donations helped us raise $60,000 for both flights, allowing us to rescue 79 heartworm-positive dogs like Hairy Pawter–-and putting us closer to our goal of saving 1,000 heartworm-positive dogs from euthanasia.

Muneca, the day before her flight. Photo: Greater Good Charities

Your donations helped us fly rescued dogs like Muneca, a heartworm-positive shelter dog and Save a Heart passenger, to safety in Florida with her two puppies. Louisiana strays Jessie and Marilyn were also airlifted to new lives on April 19 and 20, putting these sweet girls closer to treatment, adoption, and forever families. Heartworm-positive pups Cronus, Maz, and Poseidon also boarded our first Save a Heart flights. Because of your support, these otherwise healthy young pups will live to experience treatment and adoption. Thanks for helping us give heartworm-positive shelter dogs a second chance at life!

Olive, getting pre-flight care. Photo: Greater Good Charities

Of course, when it comes to heartworm disease, prevention is the safest treatment. That’s why our Save a Heart flights, which will fly 2-3 times per month through April 2022, will always include a 50/50 mix of heartworm-positive shelter dogs (who are asymptomatic and safe to fly) and heartworm-negative shelter dogs — allowing us to save these pups from ever contracting heartworm disease. Plus, these transports make room for additional pets who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance.

In addition to flying 2,000 at-risk shelter dogs to safety, Save a Heart will provide preventative heartworm treatment to protect another 2,500 shelter dogs in Louisiana, thus saving even more lives. All Save a Heart flights will be conducted through Greater Good’s Good Flights program.

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A Save a Heart plane full of pet passengers. Photo: Greater Good Charities

But our Save a Heart flights can’t take off without your help. Just $25 allows us to fund 625 air miles for heartworm-positive dogs traveling aboard a Save a Heart flight, but donations of any amount can make a life-or-death difference for needy animals. Can you make a donation to help us give heartworm-positive shelter dogs a second chance at life?

Learn more about Save a Heart in the video below!

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