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Street Dog Hero’s ‘freedom flight’ brings 35 rescued Oklahoma dogs to Bend, their most ever in one trip

'Being able to pull from overcrowded shelters is really special, to get those dogs a second chance.'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Bend nonprofit Street Dog Hero welcomed its largest flight of rescued dogs in the organization's history Thursday afternoon, as 35 furry friends from Oklahoma arrived at the Bend Airport on a Dog Is My CoPilot plane ride.

The 35 rescues made their way to Central Oregon all the way from Norman, Oklahoma, where they were at risk of being euthanized due to being in overcrowded shelters.

Kristen Elrod, Street Dog Hero's executive director, told us Thursday, "We get a lot of large dogs, some medium, small. But today, we actually have mostly small, fluffy dogs -- the dogs that everyone seems to want to adopt. So I have a feeling these dogs will go pretty quickly."

The dogs of multiple breeds were transported by Dog Is My CoPilot, a nonprofit dedicated to moving animals from overcrowded shelters to adoption centers across the country.

Elrod explained the organization's role: "Dog Is My Copilot paired us with the shelter in Norman, so that's why we're pulling dogs from there repeatedly. But it's because Oklahoma does have a pretty serious overpopulation crisis."

After the dogs arrive at the airport, they're taken to the Street Dog Hero facility, and eventually placed in foster homes.

Street Dog Hero Foster and Volunteer Manager Paige Kidd expressed her joy in seeing the dogs arrive.

"It's just really nice that we have the community to bring these dogs in," she said. "Shelters are struggling all over the United States -- they're filled up. So having this flight and being able to pull from overcrowded shelters is really special, to get those dogs a second chance."

While in foster care, dogs will be vetted and given vaccines -- all part of the effort to make sure they're good to go for a human companion.

Hollie Stingle, a Bend resident and nurse, was one of the few who got to take a dog home on Thursday. "The dog I'm taking home today is just coming straight back with me to my house and be a member of my family for however long it needs to be," she said.

If you're interested in adopting a furry friend, Street Dog Hero will have each dog that landed at the Bend Airport up for adoption on their website.

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Blake Mayfield

Blake Mayfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Blake here.


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