On Friday, July 17, our lifesaving team loaded up 36 shelter pets into the “Big Dog” Dog is My CoPilot plane to head to northern shelters needing great shelter pets. These pets are on their way to various shelters in Utah, Montana and Wyoming. El Paso Animal Services shelter pets weren’t the only ones on board this trip, as our local rescue partner Enchanted Pass Animal Rescue also sent a couple of pets on this flight. We’re so grateful to the fosters, donors and partners that make flights like these possible, as not only do they give these pets a second chance at life, but they also make room in local shelters, rescues and foster homes to be able to help more pets in need in our community.


Many southern areas, including El Paso, are challenged with pet overpopulation, and there simply aren’t enough adopters for the number of homeless pets that find their way into our shelters and rescues. In order to save as many lives as possible, and give these pets a second chance at life, El Paso Animal Services partners up with Dog is My CoPilot, a transport partner, to fly dogs and cats to shelters that are often empty and in desperate need of adoptable pets. The July 17th flight is transporting pets to shelters in Utah, Wyoming and Montana, but El Paso Animal Services also has receiving shelters in Idaho, California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Arizona, Maine, Florida, and Ohio. Also, just recently, the transport/rescue team has been partnering with other local rescues like Luna’s Fosters, Mutt Love Dog Rescue, Pawsitive Rescuers of El Paso and Enchanted Pass to help facilitate transport of their rescue pets to northern shelters so they can make space to continue helping local pets in need. 

A lot of work goes into getting these pets ready for their rescue flights! Our Transport coordinator, Kyla starts off with establishing relationships with rescue organizations all over the country. Once they apply and get approved to be a rescue partner of El Paso Animal Services, Kyla works groups to help identify pets that would be great candidates for rescue. Thanks to these partners, many senior, special needs and at-risk pets are saved!

It can take weeks to prepare these pets for a flight, and all of our lifesaving team is involved in getting them ready—from animal care staff keeping them happy and healthy while they are in our care, to fosters that give them comfy homes rather than kennels to wait in, to our medical staff who spay/neuter, heartworm test, vaccinate, and microchip all pets before they take flight. 


So far, El Paso Animal Services has sent hundreds of pets on 6 flights in 2020, and we have even more coming up in the next couple of months! Each flight has 30 to 80 pets on board, of various sizes, breeds, ages and species. While flight costs are sponsored by donations and grants to Dog is My Copilot, El Paso Animal Services covers the costs of animal care before they leave to our rescue partners. Their vaccines, tests, medical support, transport crates and spay/neuter surgeries costs us anywhere from $108 to $246. Any donation would help cover those costs so we can continue to save more lives! You can make a tax-deductible donation online or via check made payable to City of El Paso Animal Services. 

We are also always in need of temporary fosters for our transport pets. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone able to care for a pet for a short period of time, as transport pets only need to be in foster care for 1-3 weeks leading up to a scheduled flight. Fostering is completely free, and we provide all the food, supplies and medical care you’d need—you just provide a safe, loving home for the pet while they wait for their rescue flight! If you’re interested in becoming a transport foster, sign up on our website here and then contact our Transport Coordinator, Kyla at youngke@elpasotexas.gov

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