Pilots for Southwest Airlines, including many pilots based out of Houston’s Hobby Airport, are reportedly doing their part to help in Puerto Rico, working this week to rescue thousands of pets displaced by Hurricane Maria.
During an interview after his trip, Captain David ?Fig? Newton, based out of Houston – a Southwest vet of nearly 30 years – said he volunteered to pilot a Boeing 737 airliner wanting to help with transport of dozens of displaced Puerto Rican puppies to the mainland.
“I can’t tell you how much I love being able to do this,? Newton said in an interview with a local TV station after his Jan. 22 flight.
He said his crew, also made up of volunteers, included a co-pilot and flight attendants, as well as a veterinarian, a medical doctor and workers from the Lucky Dog Animal Rescue charity based in Virginia.
Lucky Dog reportedly coordinated their efforts with Southwest CEO Gary Kelly and the San Juan-based PR Animals rescue group; volunteers and staff at PR Animals examined the pets prior to boarding to check for any potential health problems.
The pets and crew then boarded for the four-hour flight from San Juan to Baltimore.
Of course, with more than 60 animals on the flight, takeoff turned out to be a bit more eventful than normal:
“We’d moved about 50 feet, and we hear barking, and, we thought, this could be a long flight,” Newton said further. “Somewhere along the flight, we turned the seat belt sign off, and I kind of expected the puppies to come out, and I heard they had a puppy parade in the back.?
Although many of the pets were awaiting adoption in the Washington, D.C., area, Newton said some of the crew wanted to take the lost little ones home after they reached the States.
“You hold these pups in your hand and you got to feel for them,” Newton said. “I think everyone wants to take them all home.”
Texas-based companies with Texas-sized hearts doing Texas-sized work. Thank you, Southwest! Furr real!