1,279 Homeless Animals Welcomed to Mainland
1,739 Total Relocated After Hurricane Maria
On Sunday, June 17, St. Hubert’s welcomed the final monthly Puerto Rico Animal Unite airlifts bringing 52 dogs and cats to the mainland to rejoin their families. From January through June 460 animals that were separated from their relocated families have been reunited at no cost to the pet parents.
The Puerto Rico Animal Unite initiative began in January 2018, funded by an initial investment by the JPB Foundation which brought St. Hubert’s together with agencies in Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas. On the island, El Faro De Los Animales took the lead on coordinating the care necessary for pets to make the flight such as vaccinations, testing and health certifications. The Category 5 Hurricane forced many people to relocate to the mainland. Traveling with animals was often cost prohibitive or logistically impossible. Many of the families left their animals in the care of friends, family or neighbors while some left one member of the household behind until the animals could be brought over through the initiative. We’re honored to serve as the mainland reunification coordination partner in this amazing undertaking, helping to make families whole again. Once they arrived on the mainland St. Hubert's provided ground or air transport to get them back to their families, now spread across 28 states: California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin.
The reunification effort is just one way that St. Hubert’s has helped Puerto Rico pets and people after the hurricane. Back in September, we committed to a long-term response to the island which began with welcoming 786 homeless animals--dogs, cats and 3 pot-bellied pigs--from the island's animal shelters via emergency airlifts immediately following the storm. Our Sister Shelter WayStation destination partners mobilized and the pets were taken in to adoption programs at shelters from New Jersey and up the eastern seaboard as far as Toronto, Canada. Arriving flights were unloaded and then repacked with animal airline transport crates, pet supplies and human relief items--a total of more than 5 tons of much needed items sent back to the island. Between October 14, 2017 and June 23, 2018 an additional 493 homeless dogs and cats have been welcomed for adoption on the mainland.
St. Hubert's deployed experienced staff on a number of occasions, visiting shelters and rescues throughout Puerto Rico, and provided manpower and medical supplies on the island of Vieques as well. A number of Puerto Rico shelters have been added to the WayStation and scholarships were provided to enable two Puerto Rico shelter staff members to attend the annual Animal Care EXPO conference in Kansas City in May.
We’re happy to share more of the emotional reunion moments and will be forever grateful to the tireless efforts of so many who helped to make each one happen.
Your donations in support of this effort will be doubled throughout June. www.sthuberts.org/matchinggift
More Puerto Rico Animal Unite Airlifts on the Way
Get ready for more joyful reunions! We have staff on the ground in San Juan assisting with the preparations for Puerto Rico Animal Unite airlifts- we'll be at Morristown Airport Friday, 4/13 and Sunday, 4/15 to welcome them to the mainland. Many happy families have just a few more days to go before they'll have their dogs and cats back in their arms. Stay tuned for updates here and on social media.
St. Hubert's Continues Work with Puerto Rico Animal Unite
Plans and preparations are well underway for the March Puerto Rico Animal Unite airlift of pets coming to the mainland to be reunited with their relocated families. The goal is to transport 1,000 animals to their families over 6 months. Please enjoy this video and join us in celebrating the February 24 reunion weekend at St. Hubert's.
Keep checking our website and social media pages for updates on our next incoming flights!
If you or someone else you know needs help relocating pets from Puerto Rico, please visit #mypetbelongswithme or the Puerto Rico Animal Unite Facebook Page
St. Hubert's Welcomes Another Flight as Part of the Puerto Rico Animal Unite Initiative
The second flight of animals from the Puerto Rico Animal Unite Initiative is here! St. Hubert’s welcomed 37 dogs and cats early this afternoon, doing our part to achieve the goal of reuniting 1,000 animals with their owners in the next six months. President/CEO Heather Cammisa along with Vice President Becky Burton coordinated and accompanied the flight from Puerto Rico to Morristown Municipal Airport.
After an emotional afternoon of family reunions, most of the pets that arrived Saturday morning have either been reconnected with their families or are currently on their way. For the rest, we have coordinated commercial flights and smaller ground transports to ensure a safe and easy trip for each and every animal.
If you or someone you know is in need of assistance to relocate their pet from Puerto Rico, please visit #mypetbelongswithme.
Follow our St. Hubert's Facebook Page for more videos, pictures and updates!
The second round of pets belonging to Puerto Rico residents who relocated to the mainland will be welcomed at St. Hubert’s on Saturday February 24th to be reunited with their families!
We will be facilitating more reunions like this one of Byron and his family who were separated when Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico last fall.
St Hubert’s is honored to have been approached to be the lead partner and hub site for the Puerto Rico Animal Unite initiative because of our expertise in efficient long distance animal relocation and disaster response.
The goal for this initiative is to assist 1,000 family pets over the next 6 months, thanks to the support from the JPB Foundation who makes this work possible.
If you or someone else you know is looking to relocate their pet in Puerto Rico, they can visit #mypetbelongswithme.
Follow our St. Hubert's Facebook page for more videos, pictures and updates!
St. Hubert's Facilitates Reunification of Puerto Rico Pets And Their Families
The first group of pets whose travel to St. Hubert’s was made possible by our partnership in Puerto Rico Animal Unite and generous support from The JPB Foundation, are happily at home with their families on the mainland. We continue to be honored and grateful to be the facilitator of the final leg of each one’s journey home.
Following the delivery of their precious cargo to a number of relocated families throughout the Midwest and up to New England, with the amazing and energizing opportunity to witness the joyful reunions, our transport teams arrived home safely. The eight animals that we arranged to send on nonstop commercial flights further west arrived back in their loved ones’ arms happily and without incident.
For adorable Merida and her friendly feline sidekick Gia, the road home was a little bit more complicated. Their people are now residing in North Dakota and there were no available direct flights. They’d need an escort to travel with them since they certainly couldn’t go on a flight with a layover all alone. We found an angel named Sherri—who also happens to be a flight attendant—who said she and her husband Mark would gladly fly with them! Merida and Gia met the size requirements for being able to accompany them onto the plane in carriers that could be placed under their seats. Monday morning, February 5, St. Hubert’s Community Care manager Jenn met the wonderful couple and excitedly placed Merida and Gia in their care, happy in the knowledge that they’d be home at last by nightfall.
The flight to Chicago was fine and the little duo traveled well with their new friends. And then the news came that the connecting flight to North Dakota was cancelled due to weather conditions there. Our disappointment that it seemed they’d have to fly back to Newark and their heartbroken family would need to wait until we could try again was unfounded. Our angels weren’t going to give up that easily—they simply booked a hotel, shopped for a few extra pet supplies and the group spent the night right there in Chicago, hoping for good news in the morning.
It happened—they would indeed be able to catch a flight to North Dakota later in the day! Early Tuesday evening, February 6, Jenn got the exciting news that a tearful reunion was in progress at the airport and the family is whole again. Families belong together and the incredible network of partners making it happen look forward to many more happy reunions in the months to come.
St. Hubert’ will welcome another airlift of family pets from the island later this month. Those who relocated to the mainland following Hurricane Maria and are still waiting to bring their animal family members home to them should contact Puerto Rico Animal Unite for assistance.
And away they go! We are happy to announce that some of the beloved Puerto Rico pets have left the building and will soon be arriving at airports across the country to reunite with their owners- who have been patiently awaiting their homecoming. After spending a few nights with us at St. Hubert’s, eight pets flew out of Newark Airport on five separate flights!
Our ground transport team is making their way through their final leg of the trip as they deliver pets to their owners in the western half of the country. Seven out of ten dogs have been happily reunited with their human family members, while the remaining three are almost home. Our team will have made stops from Ohio to Texas and just about everywhere in between by the time they are done.
As the reunions ensued, so did the tears. We couldn’t be happier to be a part of the Puerto Rico Animal Unite initiative that allows families—canine, feline, and human—to stay together.
If you or someone else you know is looking to relocate their pet in Puerto Rico, they can visit #mypetbelongswithme.
Our St. Hubert's Facebook page will also be posting videos, pictures and updates as well--check it out!
In addition to the heartwarming stories of reunifications this weekend at our shelter, St. Hubert’s is pleased to have coordinated with the Humane Society of Vero Beach to facilitate reunions for families who relocated to Florida after the hurricanes. We thank Sunjet Aviation who airlifted 30 dogs to the Humane Society of Vero Beach which is serving as the way station and center for reunions for the state.
Staff and visitors at both of our organizations were experiencing beautiful family moments simultaneously, as excited pet parents arrived to pick up their dogs and cats throughout the weekend. Together we celebrate the wonderful partnerships that are making it possible to reunite families with their beloved pets- thank you El Faro de los Animales, JPB Foundation, Puerto Rico Animal Unite and David Brownstein for your commitment to making this happen!
Be sure to check out the News 12 NJ piece from Madison where they were on hand to capture the magic.News 12 NJ was on hand at Madison Sunday to capture some of the magic.
First flight from Puerto Rico landed safely and right on time. Twenty three dogs and five cats, escorted by Becky Burton and Colleen Harrington, were welcomed at Morristown Airport by our eager transport team. Within the hour they were enjoying their lunch back at the Madison shelter, completely unaware that they will soon be back in the arms of their families. The plane refueled, loaded on empty airline crates needed for the next group of passengers, and then headed back to San Juan. Also on board the return flight were two special canine passengers whose families are moving back home now that repairs and conditions have improved where they reside in Puerto Rico. Another flight arrives early afternoon Sunday and the reunions will begin Sunday evening. We’ll keep you updated here and on Facebook.
Exciting, heartwarming weekend news at St. Hubert’s. The first groups of pets belonging to Puerto Rico residents who relocated to the mainland will be welcomed at Morristown Airport on Saturday January 27, and Sunday January 28 and will shortly be reunited with their families! Due to our expertise in efficient long distance animal relocation and disaster response, we were approached by an animal welfare individual in Puerto Rico and the JPB foundation to be the lead partner and hub site in the newly formed Puerto Rico Unite initiative. We will be facilitating the reunions of pets and people separated when Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico last fall. Many who needed to relocate to the mainland immediately had no way to bring their pets with them and others who need to relocate have not yet done so because they do not want to leave their animal family members behind. Puerto Rico Animal Unite is the answer to both scenarios and removes the barriers of transportation availability and/or financial constraints so that families can stay together. The goal is to assist 1,000 family pets to leave the island over the next 6 months with the support from the JPB Foundation to help make it possible.
St. Hubert’s sent VP of Direct Animal Care & Lifesaving Partnerships Becky Burton and Transfer and WayStation Coordinator Colleen Harrington, who are handling mainland logistics, to Puerto Rico and they will escort the canine and feline passengers into Morristown Municipal Airport on the first flight into New Jersey this Saturday morning. On Sunday evening a number of families now residing in the tri-state area will come to St. Hubert’s to pick up their pets. The other pets will either be transported by St. Hubert’s to reunification sites across the country in specially equipped vehicles or flown to locations in the far western half of the country. St. Hubert’s partners at shelters along the varied routes will be on standby to assist as reunion sites and to ensure pet care in any unforeseen travel disruptions.
Our supporters are an integral part of the work we are able to accomplish—please consider joining the effort to keep ALL family members together with a special gift so that heartwarming reunions like this one will continue.
We will be posting updates on our Facebook page here as well!