WATCH | Jami Richards is a flight volunteer for an organization called Life Animal Rescue in Los Angeles. With their help, Jami boarded a plane to Thailand, and returned a week later with ten rescued street dogs. Those dogs were put up for adoption, and one by one, found their forever homes.
We followed the journey of two dogs, Strawberry and Ruby, both rescued from dire circumstances in Thailand. Strawberry (pictured) was living on the streets in Bangkok with a sexually transmitted cancer that required chemo.
Ruby was rescued from Phuket. She was one of two survivors of a litter of six puppies that had been born under a temple but then abandoned, poisoned, and suffered a deadly bout of parvovirus.
Life Animal Rescue was founded by Emily Bernie, and her mother Laurie Bernie. In addition to adoptions for local dogs, the two realized there is a huge need for dogs abroad. There are thousands of passengers flying from Bangkok to L.A. every week, and they needed to tap into that network of people in order to rescue the Thai dogs that so badly need a second chance.
That's when they put the call out for flight volunteers. It's an easier process to fly the dogs home than it sounds, mostly because Emily and her mom do all the legwork and cover all the costs.
The dogs are attached to someone's ticket as excess luggage, rather than being shipped like cargo. That's a more stressful journey for live animals.
LAR facilitates a pickup in Bangkok through rescue organizations they work with in Thailand. They meet the passenger at Suvarnabhumi airport with the dogs packed, and paperwork in hand. All the passenger has to do is arrive to the airport check in with the dogs. Emily and her mother meet the passenger at LAX the moment they land, and take over from there.
The lifeline for these dogs to get from Thailand to here is flight volunteers.
Jami had to build up the courage to make the flight to Thailand. She had never flown internationally before, but she wanted to see the condition the dogs lived in with her own eyes.
Adoption day, just a few days after the dogs' arrival, is always a bittersweet event. Jami had already bonded with Strawberry by that point, and Ruby (pictured) was especially nervous with her new surroundings.
Both dogs did get adopted, not long after arriving. You'll have to watch the full video to meet the forever families that gave these dogs a second chance at a happy life. It's a heartwarming end to two stories that started on such a sad note.
Emily Bernie says she is always on the lookout for more flight volunteers. She has one in Jami, though, who says the stress of her first international flight was worth it and, without hesitation, would do it all over again.
For more information on Life Animal Rescue, visit their website.
Check out another story of a rescue organization giving disabled dogs a second chance at adoptions.
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