On October 29th, Greater Good Charities, Wings of Rescue, and the John R. Peterson Foundation completed Paws Across the Pacific, the biggest single airlift of adoptable pets ever. During the epic mission, nearly 600 cats and dogs from five Hawaiian islands were flown on a Hercules C-130 airplane from Hilo, HI, to Seattle, WA, and onward to receiving shelters and rescue partners in the Pacific Northwest, where they will quickly find forever homes.

This was a momentous occasion, described by some Hawaii partners “as a dream come true,” as this year’s COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increase in pets being surrendered, a decline in adoptions and the ceasing of pet transport “rescue flights” to the mainland. All in all, less space was available in many of the islands’ shelters to save the lives of at-risk pets in the community, leaving some facilities entirely at capacity.

“I can’t tell you how impacted our entire staff have been by this [Paws Across the Pacific] opportunity,” said Jenny Miller, Director of Development & Marketing at the Maui Humane Society, which contributed nearly 30 cats and dogs to the flight. “The positivity from everyone is incredible.”

It wasn’t just the staff who was emotional about the event, however: judging by the photos and videos we began to receive as the journey unfolded, it was a day of mixed feelings for everyone involved.

One image in particular caught our attention: that of a foster family dropping off a gorgeous young pup at Maui Humane Society, the mom gently holding her up for the shot, the child reaching across tenderly, her father’s arm around her shoulder for support. Above the masks, their eyes brim with tears.

We knew we had to get the story behind the photo. READ MORE