Sydney Galley, right, gives a kiss Sunday afternoon to one of the 13 dogs she and her husband transported to the Auburn-Lewiston Airport from Florida in a twin-engine aircraft. Animal Control Officer Wendell Strout, left, is on hand to help his daughter, Delainey, and other staff members from the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

AUBURN— The Greater Androscoggin Humane Society welcomed several adult dogs and puppies Sunday afternoon that were flown to the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport from Florida.

Volunteers with GAHS and airport employees welcomed the flight on the tarmac before the dogs were moved to a van to be taken to the shelter.

Thirteen dogs — six adults and seven puppies — were brought to Maine in collaboration with X-Port Paws of Wellington, Florida, through the GAHS “Home to Vacationland” program.

The mixture of breeds come from various animal rescues throughout Georgia.

“They’re a good mix. We like to call them 100% shelter dogs,” said Kaitlin True, the canine coordinator at GAHS. “They were really great. They were super happy come off the plane and really excited to go pee, but they were super friendly and dove right into the crates. I think they know that they’re home.”

Delanie Strout, the transport coordinator for the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society, carries Ed across the tarmac Sunday afternoon at the Auburn Lewiston-Airport. Ed is one of 13 dogs that were transported by plane to Maine from Florida. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

This is the first time GAHS has received a flight with animals to shelter, although it has received pets flown in from other states in partnership with the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland.


The dogs were driven from Georgia to Florida, and then flown to Maine after local rescues and shelters gathered dogs with the most need.

Sydney Galley, a rescue coordinator with Rocco’s Heartland Ranch in Columbus, North Carolina, and her husband flew the small plane full of dogs to Maine.

“This work is so incredibly important because we are truly saving lives,” said Katie Lisnik, executive director of GAHS. “We are working with rescues and shelters throughout the southern part of the country that are overcrowded and overwhelmed, and this is getting animals into loving homes and out of shelters where they are languishing.”

Pilot Jerry Stevens says goodbye to the last dog to come off his plane Sunday afternoon after he and his wife transported 13 dogs from Florida to the Auburn-Lewiston Airport, where they were picked up by staff members from the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Pictures and descriptions of the dogs are to be posted on the GAHS website — — early this week and be available for adoption as of Aug. 20, although some will be headed straight to foster care.

Having arrived safely, the journey is not over for the dogs. The next and most crucial step is finding the right homes for them. GAHS staff members said they are relying on the public’s help.

“We rely on foster families to help us do this work,” Lisnik said. “If anybody is interested in fostering a puppy or dog, it’s only for a short period of time. We put them out into foster homes for the quarantine period required by the state, and then they come back to us for adoption.

“It’s fun. It can be a little dirty and a little messy, but it really is important and that allows us to help more. If we have the foster homes, we can bring more dogs and puppies up and get them into loving homes.”

Kaitlyn True, canine coordinator at the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society, carries Eddie across the tarmac Sunday afternoon at the Auburn Lewiston-Airport. Eddie is one of 13 dogs transported by plane from Florida. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

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