ESPAÑOLA, NM (KRQE) – A rags to riches story. Nine puppies and their mother, who would likely have spent a very long time at a New Mexico animal shelter, are well on their way to living the high life in one of America’s wealthiest communities.
“Being able to bring these puppies to the Hamptons was life-saving,” says Española Humane’s Mattie Allen. Nine puppies and their mother start a new life far from their temporary home at Española Humane.
“These puppies could have been languishing at the shelter because we have so many to choose from right now,” says Allen. “Sometimes even the cutest puppies get overlooked.”
Allen described one particular day at the shelter as a puppy tide. “I think we had 54 in the house and probably 100 more in foster care,” she says.
Shelter Medical Director’s cousin Dr. Tom Parker, Dr. George Dempsey, happened to be visiting from the Hamptons – a wealthy coastal community – known as where the wealthiest people in New York City spend their summers.
“He just had this crazy idea — maybe we could start flying some of these pups to the Hamptons,” says Allen.
Dempsey happens to be the primary care physician of Scott Howe, who runs the Hamptons’ Animal Rescue Fund. “And he said, ‘You’re helping all these other places, you’re helping Puerto Rico, why can’t you help New Mexico?’ I said, ‘I’d like that, but how do we get the dogs here?’ And he said, ‘Well, I have a plane,'” says Howe.
So recruited Dr. Dempsey invited some of his pilot friends to help some puppies on an overland trip, dubbing themselves the “four-legged aviators.”
“Volunteer pilots who donated their time, planes and expertise,” says Allen.
The journey went smoothly. “I can tell you, I got pretty emotional when I saw the plane take off,” says Allen.
The nine puppies and their mom are now settling in in the Hamptons, where there is already a waiting list of people wanting to take them home. “They could find a pretty happy home,” Howe says. “I mean, these dogs could spend weekends in the Hamptons and weekdays in town.”
“It’s amazing these babies are going to the Hamptons from homeless people,” says Allen. Both shelters hope to continue this partnership.
In the meantime, Española Humane still has many puppies and dogs that need homes for the holidays.