6 min read

Dog Being Flown To Safety From Hurricane Just Wanted To Be Held By Rescuer

“All of a sudden, Foxy just wandered into the cockpit, and just sat down like that’s where she belonged.”

Since Hurricane Maria swept across Vieques, a small island off the coast of Puerto Rico, people have been struggling to survive. There’s no electricity. There’s limited access to fresh water. And many people have lost their homes and livelihoods.

But it’s not just people who are suffering on Vieques — animals are too. Many people can no longer care for their pets, and the island’s wild horses and stray dogs and cats haven’t been able to find food and water.

A volunteer for the Vieques Humane Society interacting with some of the shelter dogs | Vieques Humane Society

Organizations like the Vieques Humane Society and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) have been doing everything they can to help animals on the island. But unfortunately, they don’t have the resources to do it all, and the shelter run by the Vieques Humane Society has been stretched to its limits.

So they figured out a solution — they teamed up with Berry Aviation, and they’re flying as many dogs and cats as they can to the United States, where local rescue groups will be able to care for the animals.

Dogs in kennels
Dogs getting ready to be flown from Vieques to Colorado | Vieques Humane Society

Last week, 114 dogs and 18 cats were loaded onto an airplane bound for Denver, Colorado, where volunteers from the Dumb Friends League, a local rescue group, were waiting for them.

Dog kennels being loaded onto a plane
Dogs in kennels being loaded onto a plane in Vieques | Vieques Humane Society

But one dog — a female named Foxy — stole the show. While on the flight to Denver, Foxy found a way to wriggle out of her kennel, and into the hearts — and laps — of the pilots.

“They don’t know what had happened, but they had taken off, and the pilots were flying the plane,” Amy Day, a volunteer for the Vieques Humane Society, told The Dodo. “And all of a sudden, Foxy just wandered into the cockpit, and just sat down like that’s where she belonged.”

Person holding rescue dog
Foxy, the dog who found her way into the cockpit mid-flight | Amy Day

Instead of putting her back into her kennel, the pilot and copilot allowed Foxy to stay.

“She just hung out,” Day said. “She spent the flight sitting there. She was perfectly well-behaved.”

The copilot eventually pulled Foxy onto his lap, Day explained, and he kept her there for the remainder of the flight. When they landed, he didn’t want to let go of her.

Man holding rescued dog in his lap
The copilot holding Foxy in his lap | Amy Day

“Right after the flight landed, they went and tried to put Foxy back into her kennel, but somehow it was just completely broken,” Day said. “I’m not sure if there was a crack and she somehow managed to get herself out of it, but they couldn’t secure her back in. And the copilot said, ‘That’s OK. She’s been hanging out with us the whole time, so I’ll just hold her here until you find another kennel.’”

But when they did find Foxy a kennel, the copilot said he’d hold her a little longer.

Man holding rescue dog in his arms
Amy Day

“He was like, ‘You know, we’ve been having such a good time, and you guys are still doing so much unloading, so I’ll just sit here with her on my lap until you’re ready for her,’” Day said. “And she [Foxy] just sat there. She was completely calm. She was just happy to be sitting next to a human.”

While the copilot wasn’t able to adopt Foxy himself, Day is sure that Foxy will quickly find a forever home.

Woman holding rescue dog
Amy Day

“She’s very sweet and very mellow,” Day said. “She won’t last a day when she goes up for adoption, I’m sure.”

While Foxy is now safe, countless other animals still need help on Vieques. You can help them by making a donation to HSUS or the Vieques Humane Society. And if you’re interested in adopting Foxy, you can contact the Dumb Friends League.