Yipping and barking could be heard as crate after crate was unloaded from a propeller-driven cargo plane at Centennial Airport on Tuesday night.
More than 100 animals, including about 90 dogs and 20 cats, had arrived after more than 12 hours of travel from Puerto Rico.
“It’s been a long, long road to get them here,” said Maia Brusseau, a spokesperson for the Dumb Friends League animal shelter. The organization is coordinating the statewide adoption effort for the pets.
The animals arrived from two shelters — one on the devastated island of Vieques, just east of Puerto Rico, and another in San Juan.
“We know we can bring these animals here, and they can find amazing homes very quickly,” Brusseau said.
The dogs and cats will likely be available for adoption as soon as Saturday or Sunday at shelters around the Front Range. Among them was a black-and-white pup named Gruñón, Spanish for “grumpy.”
Some of the animals will be at the Dumb Friends League, while others will head to Denver Animal Protection, Aurora Animal Services, Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, Pueblo Animal Services, Larimer Humane Society and Humane Society of Boulder Valley. Call ahead for details.
I was in Puerto Rico late in July. I have to admit that seeing these dogs makes me feel a deep sorrow for the people and places I visited. I know that I can only comprehend a fraction of their suffering — but the arrival of household pets from thousands of miles away drives home how completely life on the island has been turned upside down.
Animals from disaster-struck places have proven incredibly popular on social media and for adoption services. Perhaps they represent something tangible that people feel they can do. But we should think not just about them, but about the homes and families where they once belonged.
For information on how to donate to rescue and recovery efforts on the island, check out this guide from PBS.
And now I’m going to give you a couple more photos of this dog I met in Fajardo. She was a mama dog and looked nearly dead from exhaustion. A little water and food revived her.