Southwest Airlines Evacuates More Than 60 Pets from Houston

Posted by Amber King
southwest airlines
Twitter/Helen Woodward

With nowhere else to go, over 60 homeless animals were saved by Southwest Airlines.

As Hurricane Harvey ravaged Texas, countless animal shelters were forced to evacuate. Hundreds of homeless dogs and cats were transported out of the storm's path, but being temporarily safe from the weather didn't solve all their problems. With their original shelters still submerged in floodwater, they face euthanasia simply because they have nowhere to go.

This was the situation in Austin where Operation Pets Alive took in an overwhelming number of rescue animals. They successfully saved them from the storm, but with most of the area with no electricity, supplies, or space, they needed a more permanent solution. The animals needed to be transported out of Texas to shelters better equipped to care for them, and Southwest Airlines took the opportunity to lend a helping paw.


A Boeing 737-300 was on its way to retirement, and Southwest determined there was no better way to end its career than by saving lives.They worked in conjunction with California-based Helen Woodward Animal Center and boarded 64 dogs and cats displaced by Hurricane Harvey into the main cabin.

READ MORE18 Harrowing Pet Rescue Stories from Hurricane Harvey

The animals in crates were buckled into the seats and stowed in the foot space in each row. They left Austin around noon on Tuesday, and the crew and their furry passengers landed in San Diego for a fresh chance at life.

Volunteers from Helen Woodward Animal Center assisted in the transport and escorted the animals to their new shelter. All of the dogs and cats will be checked by veterinarians before being put up for adoption. With the animals in safe hands, the Southwest plane made its final hop to an airplane "boneyard" to make room for a newer and more fuel-efficient jet.

If you're interested in welcoming one of the animals into your family, contact Helen Woodward Animal Center.

What do you think of Southwest's generosity? Let us know in the comments below.

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Southwest Airlines Evacuates More Than 60 Pets from Houston