Randy White helps move dogs from the Fetch airplane to cars waiting on the tarmac to transport the animals to The NOAH Center and PAWS on Tuesday in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Randy White helps move dogs from the Fetch airplane to cars waiting on the tarmac to transport the animals to The NOAH Center and PAWS on Tuesday in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Go, dogs, go! Cats, too — on a charter flight from California

Wings of Rescue, which airlifts companion animals, made a big delivery to Everett for local shelters.

EVERETT — Ping! Your order for 90 dogs and cats has been delivered.

It was a noisy crowd that disem-barked Tuesday afternoon at Paine Field after a three-hour flight from Merced County in California.

Some eight-dozen crated animals were met and unloaded by a half-dozen workers from the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in Lynnwood and The NOAH Center in Stanwood.

Red-tagged crates went to PAWS. Blue-tagged crates were earmarked for NOAH. It took about 30 minutes to unload the single-engine Pilatus PC-12 airplane.

In all, PAWS received 23 cats and 15 dogs. NOAH took in 29 dogs, five kittens and four new mom cats with three to six kittens each.

(If that doesn’t quite add up to 90, well, you know how puppies and kittens can multiply.)

A dog peaks out of a crate after being transported to PAWS on Tuesday in Lynnwood. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A dog peaks out of a crate after being transported to PAWS on Tuesday in Lynnwood. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Wings of Rescue, a nonprofit that airlifts companion animals, chartered the small airplane, whose interior was stripped to accommodate the pets.

“We only use pressurized, climate-controlled planes,” said Gene Gable, a Wings spokesman.

After the no-frills flight, the animals were to be un-crated, allowed to stretch and “get lots of snacks,” PAWS spokeswoman Laura Follis said.

At NOAH, they’ll be shown their quarters and allowed to decompress, said Randy White, the shelter’s transfer coordinator. “We’ll feed them and let them relax,” White said.

Friday is another big day for the NOAH group — they’ll be spayed and neutered, White said.

Some animals may be available for adoption this weekend, White said.

A puppy named Lotte is offloaded from a Fetch airplane to be transported to PAWS on Tuesday in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A puppy named Lotte is offloaded from a Fetch airplane to be transported to PAWS on Tuesday in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The two shelters regularly receive animals from Wings of Rescue, but “this transfer is unusually big,” said Sara Bradshaw, NOAH’s operations director.

Demand for companion animals has risen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The work-from-home set, in particular, is poised to take a new puppy or dog outside at any hour.

“As soon as we put animals up for adoption, we’re getting applications,” Follis said.

PAWS is bringing in animals from outside the state due to a local shortage of adoptable pets.

“The Northwest has excellent spay-and-neuter programs and fewer ‘surrenders’ than other areas,” resulting in fewer animals to draw from, Follis said.

NOAH, a “second-chance shelter” that depends on other animal shelters to fill adoption rolls, hasn’t gotten as many animals from “transfer partners” due to COVID restrictions, Bradshaw said.

Tuesday’s air shipment is “a lot,” Bradshaw said. “We’re very excited.”

Last year, Wings of Rescue flew 1,913 dogs and 430 cats to shelters across the United States and, in eight years of operation, more than 53,000 animals.

Ground transportation can often take 24 hours or more, Gable said. “Most of our flights are completed within three to four hours,” Gable said.

When the air rescue group first launched in 2012, volunteered aircraft carried the animals, but logistics and insurance concerns led to chartered planes, Gable said. The pilots, though, are still volunteers.

But you have to wonder: What’s it like to pilot a hundred dogs and cats?

As you would expect: Loud and louder during take-offs and landings, said Kale Garcia, a Bend, Oregon-based volunteer pilot who flew the airplane.

“After that, for the most part, they go to sleep,” Garcia said.

For more information about PAWS, go to paws.org.

For The NOAH Center, go to thenoahcenter.org.

Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

Talk to us

More in Local News

911 received multiple calls reporting a fire at Marie Anne Terrace apartments early Monday morning, Feb. 6, 2023 in Everett, Washington. There were no injuries or fatalities. (Everett Fire Department)
Fire damages Everett apartments, displaces 10

The fire at the Marie Anne Terrace apartments Monday night displaced four families and caused extensive property damage.

A rack with cards bettors can use to choose their own numbers to purchase lottery ticket on a counter at a market. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Been to Auburn lately? That’s where $754M Powerball ticket was sold

This is only the second time a Powerball jackpot has been won in Washington.

Granite Falls
Man shot near Granite Falls; assailants at large

Two suspects fled after shooting a 33-year-old man in a motorhome Tuesday morning, according to police.

Photo by David Welton
A federal grant will help pay for the cost of adding a charging station to the Clinton ferry terminal.
Federal money to help electrify Clinton ferry dock

The Federal Transit Administration awarded state ferries a $4.9 million grant to help electrify the Mukilteo-Clinton route.

Community Transit is leasing a 60-foot articulated BYD battery electric bus this year as an early step in the zero emission planning process. (Community Transit)
Community Transit testing 60-foot electric bus

The agency leased the BYD K11M for $132,000 this year as the first step in its zero-emission planning process.

Angelica Montanari and daughter Makena, 1, outside of the Community Health Center of Snohomish County Everett-Central Clinic on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Amid patient woes, CHC of Snohomish County staffers push for a union

Doctors and nurse practitioners are worried about providers being shut out from clinical decisions, which hurts patient care.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of education.
Public school enrollment still down, even as rural districts grow

Smaller districts in Snohomish County seem to be recovering more quickly — and gaining students — than their urban counterparts.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
Democratic Latinos form a caucus, hospital staffing bill clears a hurdle

It’s Day 31. Here’s what’s happening in the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

Two guests stop to take in a large-scale painting by artist Iryna Kalyuzhna during a public event highlighting the For Ukraine: Art of Freedom exhibit at the Schack Art Center on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Ukrainian art in Everett showcases grief, hope in war-torn nation

“For Ukraine: Art of Freedom” at the Schack Center aims to remind Americans of the war and raise money for maternity hospitals.

Most Read