Pup, pup and away

Charity worker transfers 18 dogs overseas on one flight

Ready for take off: The dogs get in their crates at Owen Roberts International Airport.

A dogged charity worker made an unforgettable journey, single-handedly transferring 18 unwanted dogs, including 17 puppies, to rescue shelters in the U.S.

Sarah Hough transferred 18 dogs to New York on a single flight.
Sarah Hough transferred 18 dogs to New York on a single flight.

Sarah Hough, a volunteer with Canine Friends, accompanied the dogs – some from the Humane Society, some rescued from the Department of Agriculture shelter – to New York earlier this month.

It is the largest number of animals she has ever transported on a single flight for the charity, which helps find homes overseas for Cayman’s unwanted animals.

Overseas adoptions are a growing part of the solution for charities seeking to re-home the large numbers of abused, abandoned or neglected animals in the Cayman Islands. The large population of street dogs and new litters from pets that have not been spayed or neutered are also fueling the growing numbers of dogs in need of homes.

Canine Friends has flown 539 dogs off island to rescue shelters in the U.S. and Canada since the charity was formed in 2013.

Ms. Hough’s original mission was to transfer eight dogs to New York for Canine Friends, but she volunteered to take another 10 puppies following a request from the Humane Society.

She said the journey had been a challenge, but had gone smoothly.

“It was not as difficult as it sounds because I had help at both ends. We had volunteers here who picked the dogs up and put them in crates and the porters put them on the plane.

“At the other end, the porters helped me take them outside and there were volunteers from the four different organizations there to take them off. The hardest part for me was making sure the right dogs went to the right shelters.”

She said the dogs were quite calm, despite the journey.

“I fostered four of the puppies before they went and as soon as they saw me, they were all excited, wagging their tails and happy,” she said.

The majority of dogs rescued by Canine Friends come from the Department of Agriculture shelter where dogs are given limited time before they are euthanized. Ms. Hough said the biggest challenge for the charity is finding foster homes in the community to house the dogs while they are vetted for adoption overseas.

“The number of foster parents we have directly affects how many dogs we can rescue,” she added.

She said sending dogs overseas is one tool in handling the ever-increasing number of dogs in need of homes.

“The island has an overpopulation of dogs, with people not spaying and neutering, and there are not enough homes for all of the available dogs, which is why we send them overseas to find their homes,” she said.