Forty-four good boys and girls arrived at Kennedy Airport on Thursday on the last leg of a rescue journey from China.
After a grueling 19-hour flight with a refueling stop in Anchorage, Alaska, a veterinarian and the US Department of Agriculture approved the pups on National Puppy Day, a day to raise awareness about pet adoptions and the plight of puppies.
Malamutes, Labradors and Pomeranians were taken out of their cages to eat, go out and even listen to music scientifically designed to attract dogs.
“I started playing all the music when everyone settled in and there was a fair amount of silence once it started.” said Kiera Mejía of The Ark, the Animal Reception Center at JFK.
Then, one by one, the dogs came out to be received, in some cases by their new owners.
“We’ve been waiting a long time,” said Mark Goldstein, 59, who drove from Brambleton, Va., that morning to bring home Blossom the miniature poodle.
“He was on a bus or in a truck on the way to the slaughterhouse,” said Goldstein, who works in health care. “She’s going to be the most loved and pampered dog.”
The adoptions came courtesy of No Dogs Left Behind, an animal rights group that rescues dogs from slaughterhouses, dog dealers and dog meat trucks in East Asia. Founder Jeffrey Beri, a New York native, has traveled the world with his team of volunteers, rescuing dogs from harm’s way in places like China.
Beri says the dogs are bred to eat, but are sometimes stolen from their owners and have their leashes cut in backyards.
“Today is a very emotional day,” he said. “These are covert missions that are taking place. Every day we are closer to ending the dog meat trade. We have activists and volunteers from everywhere. We have a clandestine army.”
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They also have the cutest pups this side of the Westminster Dog Show. Just ask Amy Carrico, 48, of Syracuse, who was expecting Rudy, a 2-year-old poodle.
Carrico already has three other poodles from China that were rescued by Beri’s group.
“They need it and we can, so we do it,” Carrico said, explaining his motivation to help. “I work three days a week. My husband works from home. So he will get a lot of attention.”
Thirteen of the tail wagging were captured on connecting flights to Los Angeles, Miami, Utah and Texas, with some without temporary or permanent homes on their way to a sanctuary. No dog left behind recently opened in Canton, NY
The lucky dogs were rescued by Beri and No Dogs Left Behind, and adoptees signed up to take them home for the summer. The organization has also carried out rescue work in Ukraine since it was invaded.
“I really wanted to foster and applied to five places,” said Ann-Marie Roach, 31, of Jersey City, who was adopting a dog related to a dog she had already obtained from the rescue group.
“For us, it was really just the mission and the horrible aspect of the meat trade, and that’s still going on today.”