RANCHO SANTA FE — A very special adoption officially closed the 14th Annual Iams Home 4 the Holidays Pet Adoption Drive – the reunion of a Hurricane Sandy refugee pup named Lassie with SeaWorld Rescue Team Member Jessica DeCoursey, who accompanied the orphan pet to safety.The adoption celebrates a banner year for Helen Woodward Animal Center which shared many of its recent publicized rescues with businesses Iams, SeaWorld, Southwest Airlines and BP Fuel.
This year’s Iams Home 4 the Holidays Campaign kicked off Oct.1 with a goal of saving the lives of even more orphan dogs, cats, and other pets than any year before by finding loving families through the participation of more than 3,960 animal shelters and pet rescue organizations worldwide.
Then on Nov. 17, Helen Woodward Animal Center had the opportunity to assist some East Coast pets with this annual mission when more than 40 orphaned dogs and cats were flown across the country to the Center in Rancho Santa Fe. The East Coast shelter pets had been waiting for forever homes when Hurricane Sandy hit and left their facilities uninhabitable. The trip was made possible by Southwest Airlines, whose flight crews donated their time and whose fuel provider BP donated fuel for the flight; along with the donated manpower of SeaWorld, which provided veterinarians and technicians to assist and chaperone the pets across the country as well as provide the transportation for the pets to their new home at the Center. The adoptions of many of these special East Coast transfers added to what turned out to be a record year for the Iams Home 4 the Holidays Campaign.
Now, to conclude the campaign, one loving pup was flown back to the East Coast in the arms of the very same woman who rescued her. SeaWorld Rescue Team Member Jessica DeCoursey safely chaperoned the 7-year old Pug/Pekingese blend to Helen Woodward Animal Center, but could not get her fuzzy face out of her mind upon returning home to Virginia. The dog received multiple medical treatments (dental, skin rashes and benign tumor removals) and was still under HWAC veterinary care when DeCoursey wrote to ask if the center ever adopted to someone out of state.
The photos she sent of the special journey she had traveled with Lassie were enough to convince Helen Woodward Animal Center adoption staff to allow Jessica to fill out an adoption application and the match was a beautiful one. A Southwest employee who had accompanied Jessica and the Sandy Pets on their journey offered to provide a Southwest voucher to DeCoursey for her flight and the trip was scheduled for the first week of January.
SeaWorld employees, Southwest staff, and Helen Woodward Animal Center workers united to celebrate this very special adoption and the conclusion of another successful Iams Home 4 the Holidays Campaign.