More than two dozen Texas dogs arrived in San Diego Wednesday, seeking warmer weather and a second chance at a forever home following brutal winter storms.
The 12 puppies and 15 adult dogs arrived at the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe -- with the help from Concho Valley Paws shelter workers and a transporter willing to brave the icy roads following record-breaking winter storms in Texas.
And while the weather left the pups' Texas shelter uninhabitable, their future looks sunnier in San Diego!
Photos: Dogs Arrive in California After Record-Breaking Texas Storm
The Woodward center began working with Concho Valley Paws in May 2020. As the coronavirus pandemic got worse, shelters across the country were forced into lockdown and struggling with limited staff members. The center has connected with the Texas-based animal welfare facility and welcomed transports of shelter pups over the last nine months.
Two weeks ago, Concho Valley Paws faced new challenges. An alert was sent out to all Concho Valley residents regarding toxins found in the water system. Water lines were shut off across the city as repairs were being made.
Then, before repairs could be completed, a record-breaking blizzard hit the area, freezing pipes, knocking out electricity and blocking roads.
"The Concho Valley Paws staff members were there every day,'' said LaBeth Thompson, a Woodward center adoption partner liaison. "They were trying to keep the animals warm, fed, hydrated and clean, but it was really a desperate situation. It was even challenging to get out there to them because the roads were so bad.''
The Woodward center depended on one of its most dedicated transporters, Melissa Maertens, who found her way around road blocks and icy passageways to get the Concho Valley pooches into her vehicle and on their way to California.
"When a natural disaster occurs, there are so many lives at risk,'' said Helen Woodward Animal Center president Mike Arms. "But it's easy to forget about some of the smallest and most helpless. I'm incredibly touched by the staff at Concho Valley Paws who didn't forget about those orphan pets and worked in unbelievably challenging circumstances to keep them safe and cared for until they could get them out to us.''
Arms said the Woodward center is also surprising Concho Valley Paws with a monetary donation to help the shelter get back to working order.
The Concho Valley arrivals will become available for adoption over the next few days and weeks as they are cleared by medical staff. Those interested in adopting can visit www.animalcenter.org or call 858-756-4117, ext. 313.