Two weeks ago, my daughter, her friend and I went on a mission to Georgia to help one of Kona Benellie's giving partners Animal Aid USA bring over 400 rescued dogs back up north for a better life. Animal Aid USA has a home base facility in Georgia, a safe haven that rescues dogs in high risk situations - such as high-kill shelters, horrific conditions of neglectful cruel dog owners, and/or abandonment on the side of the road. Animal Aid USA makes monthly trips to Georgia to help relocate the animals they've nurtured and brought back to good health who are now ready to start a new life. My daughter, her friend, and I worked side-by-side with Animal Aid USA's co-founders Karen Lasasso and Prince Lorenzo Borghese along with Georgina Bloomberg, and over 100 volunteers on this life-changing mission. When I say life-changing, I'm not only referring to our own lives being changed after having witnessed the kindness and coordination of this trip. I am referring to the lives of the adopting families that will be welcoming these 400 dogs into their homes. Have you ever had a pet when you were younger? Or maybe you have one now? if so, you and I both know that every member of the family is touched by this furry friend. And with an average of 2.54 people per US household, these 400+ rescued pups will be touching the lives of over 1,000 people as they are welcomed into their family. Every member of the household will share in the life of this new pup - giving and receiving love, companionship, friendship, and having a better overall quality of life. As a social enterprise, we here at Kona Benellie are so happy to have provided our hands, our hearts, and 1,000 shelter blankets to bring comfort to these pups on this unforgettable rescue mission.
I’m so glad my daughter and her friend participated in such a hands-on way. They held, hugged, washed, and walked many dogs. These kids are the future generation that will hopefully encourage more compassion toward homeless animals and be ambassadors for positive change.
This rescue was Animal Aid USA's largest to date with volunteers that came from all over the country. Modern Dog Magazine was there to participate in and document the mission. The rescued dogs were transported to safety by land and by air. By land, there were 12 vans and 3 rigs that drove 15 hours from NJ to GA with people and supplies in tow. Their return trip back to NJ was a similar journey with the addition of 300 wonderful dogs on-board and comforted by our donated Kona Benellie shelter blankets. :-) By air, there were 11 airplanes with awesome pilots who volunteered their time, their service, and their plane through Pilots-N-Paws. The pilots flew about 100 dogs to Tampa, FL where rescue groups were waiting to scoop up these pups and bring them to their new homes. Each of the airborne dog had one of our Kona Benellie shelter blankets as well to keep them comfy on their flight. I wonder if there was an in-flight movie. LOL! If there was, I hope it was AirBud. Love that movie. :-) (Fun Fact: Did you know that the main character Buddy in AirBud is based off of the real life rescue dog of the movie's creator Kevin di Cicco. Mr. di Cicco found a disheveled golden retriever stray dog in the Sierra Nevada mountains in the summer of 1989, brought him home to San Diego, and trained him in the sports of basketball, chess, baseball, football, soccer, and hockey.)
Upon arrival back in NJ, the caravan was greeted by a slew of rescue groups and children holding banners and cheering. The Dodo was there to film the event. Animal Aid USA's Karen Lasasso states, “It is a long three days. It’s emotional. It’s physical. We did 400 animals this weekend. Every one of these animals is spoken for. They’ve all been claimed by receiving rescues." From us here at Kona Benellie, thank you for all that you do every month Animal Aid USA. We will continue to support your organization and love that you are our giving partner.
Animal Aid USA's Karen Lasasso brilliantly leads the charge for this life saving caravan effort every 28 days. Over 14,000 animals have been saved since Animal Aid USA was founded in 2012. Animal Aid USA is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization providing education, awareness and resources to the public in an effort to empower positive change for shelter animals. Through monthly transports from high kill shelters to qualified rescues across the U.S., to its spay/neuter clinic providing free sterilization to low income communities, Animal Aid USA strives to improve the lives of homeless animals nationwide. www.animalaidusa.org