Paws across the Pacific: Initiative sending over 600 shelter pets to the mainland

  • Cupcake. (Hawaii Island Humane Society and Aloha Ilio Rescue /Courtesy Photos)

  • Hype

Hawaii Island Humane Society and Aloha Ilio Rescue are partnering with Greater Good Charities and Wings of Rescue to fly over 40 shelter dogs and cats from Hawaii Island to the U.S. mainland joining the Paws Across the Pacific initiative. Greater Good Charities and Wings of Rescue are flying over 600 shelter dogs and cats from across Hawaii to the U.S. mainland, making Paws Across the Pacific the largest pet rescue flight in history.

“Sometimes, despite our best efforts, animals end up in our care for extended periods of time. Our teams worked together to select those animals who would ultimately make incredible pets for people when given the opportunity. We considered not only those who would be best served by this transport but also those animals best suited for air travel,” said Hawaii Island Humane Society community programs director Lauren Nickerson.


“Lauren and I worked together to select canine candidates from the Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary. We are thankful to the Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary volunteers for helping us to select some truly terrific dogs for their journey to their forever homes,” said Aloha Ilio Rescue president and founder Daylynn Kyles.

The teams are working together to get the pets ready for transport. The highly adoptable animals will remain in their collective care and be available for adoption locally up until the time it’s ready for them to leave. Dr. Caitlin Cavanaugh, Dr. Beth Jose and Dr. Kristina Henricks prepared these animals for the trip across the Pacific. These healthy and loving pets are being moved from Hawaii Island to shelters in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana where they’ll be quickly adopted into loving forever homes.

“Pet shelters in Hawaii are in a COVID-19 crisis. Normal operations have been affected by months of shut down, economic downturn, limited hours, and routine flights to mainland halted,” said Liz Baker, CEO of Greater Good Charities. “The Paws Across the Pacific flight is urgently needed to make space in Hawaii’s shelters for at-risk pets who otherwise wouldn’t be able to receive necessary care to survive.”

On the evening of Oct. 28, Paws Across the Pacific will board more than 600 shelter dogs and cats on a chartered Hercules C-130 plane that will make stops on Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii Island. Hawaii shelter partners include Kauai Humane Society, Hawaiian Humane Society, Lanai Cat Sanctuary, Hawaii Island Humane Society, Maui Humane Society, Aloha Ilio Rescue, and Kauai SPCA.

The Hercules C-130 with the over 2,500 furry paws is scheduled to arrive at Seattle’s Boeing Field in the late morning on October 29, where pet shelters and rescue groups will pick them up, while 120 of the shelter pets continue their journey to Walla Walla and Coeur d’Alene. Mainland shelter partners include: PAWS, The NOAH Center, Seattle Humane, the Humane Society of Skagit Valley, Kitsap Humane, Oregon Humane, Southwest Washington Humane, Kootenai Humane Society, Seattle Area Feline Rescue, Tracs, Spokanimal, Blue Mountain Humane Society, and Embrace a Discarded Pet Society.


The Paws Across the Pacific airlift is being conducted in coordination with the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association to ensure the safety and health of pets on the flight. In addition to flying pets to their new families, Greater Good Charities and The Animal Rescue Site are providing enrichment and critical medical supplies to assist the shelters and the sheltered pets of Hawaii.

Paws Across the Pacific is made possible with support from the John R. Peterson Foundation, The Animal Rescue Site, Banfield Foundation, VCA Charities, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, the Petco Foundation, Royal Canin and Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation.

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