It was doggone great timing.
Four dozen shelter dogs made it safely to New York City on Saturday after the rescue organization Muddy Paws welcomed the canines from Kentucky, where severe storms caused catastrophic flooding.
Muddy Paws had already arranged for the 48 dogs to be transported from the overcrowded Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society before the flooding began.
“It all was kind of kismet,” Muddy Paws marketing director Mallory Kerley told the Daily News. “It all kind of came together at a really opportune time for the dogs and for the shelters down there.”
Muddy Paws, based in Hell’s Kitchen, handles multiple transports each month from shelters in Kentucky, Texas, North Carolina and Alabama, with 25 to 30 dogs typically arriving at a time.
The 48 dogs that came Saturday made up the biggest group of the year for Muddy Paws, which relies on New Yorkers to foster the pups for several weeks until they are adopted.
“These shelters have been overcrowded, really, for the entire summer,” Kerley said. “It’s been pretty bad down there, and the floods definitely don’t help. Now you have the floods taking out these shelters in those affected areas, and now those dogs have nowhere to go.”
Muddy Paws launched in 2016 and has rescued more than 6,000 dogs.
The organization saves dogs of all breeds and ages, with New York City offering more homes for fostering and adoption than some of the rural areas in the South.
“These dogs are definitely at risk of euthanasia for space, and that’s not something that our shelter has had to deal with recently, especially with the pandemic,” Kerley said. “The silver lining of the pandemic was that everyone wanted to adopt a dog, but we’ve seen this year that the interest has dramatically dropped.
“We literally received an email from our partner down there saying, ‘We are starting to have to make these decisions about euthanizing for space,’ which they haven’t had to do in a long time. It’s really upsetting to them. They don’t want to have to do that, and we don’t want to put them in that position.”
The dogs that arrived from Kentucky on Saturday have already been placed in their foster homes, and many will go up for adoption on the Muddy Paws website this week.
The flooding from the storms in Kentucky last week has caused thousands of power outages, widespread debris and at least 26 deaths.
Lauren Latella, 32, is fostering a 10-month-old dog named Bonnie at her Upper West Side home, and says it feels especially important to provide shelter to a pooch that came from Kentucky.
“Knowing that Bonnie is one of the foster dogs that’s coming from the images that I can place on the news, and seeing all the flooding, and imagining what families are going through and our furry friends are going through, makes it a little more special,” says Latella, a child and adolescent psychologist who has fostered five dogs through Muddy Paws and also volunteers with the organization.
Muddy Paws’ next transport will be Aug. 13.
“The floods are extremely serious and scary, and it’s creating even more of an overcrowding situation in an area of the country that was already struggling with overcrowding in their shelters,” Kerley said.
“Groups like Muddy Paws are constantly working to relieve that overcrowding, so we don’t need people just for now when these floods are happening. We need people all year, because the work never stops.”