GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn.-A load of 88 dogs arrived in Minnesota on Tuesday, refugees from the hurricane-ravaged South.
"This is my favorite part, when those guys get here and into the shelter," said Danielle Cunnane, as she watched the dogs pour out of the trailer at the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley.
Cunnane and other employees cheered and hugged the dogs after their 25-hour ride.
The dog-tired canines survived the trip well, she said. They will be given medical treatment then be distributed to the group's four metro-area kennels.
If the dogs are adopted quickly, said Cunnane, the society might make a second hurricane-rescue run soon.
Hurricane Michael, the third-most-intense Atlantic hurricane ever to hit the U.S., battered the coasts of Florida and Alabama on Oct. 10.
As the high winds and waters crushed homes, hundreds of dogs were left homeless. Many homeless dogs are being kept in their communities, to give their owners a chance to reclaim them.
But many had to be transferred from local shelters swamped with floodwaters. Others had to be evacuated to make room for the rush of more homeless dogs.
At 1 a.m. Sunday, two drivers in a pickup truck and trailer left the Minnesota headquarters for a dog transfer station in Montgomery, Ala.
They returned with the dogs at noon Tuesday, Oct. 16. "The drivers did not stop, except for bathroom breaks," said group spokeswoman Mary Tan.
The dogs seemed happy to be in Minnesota, said dog rehabilitation manager Liv Hagen.
"They look great. They are wiggly, bouncy and excited," she said. "Some of them are nervous. It's been a long ride."
The hurricane dogs will be taken to shelters, and anyone wanting to adopt one can ask a shelter employee, or check the information cards attached to the cages.
"This weekend will be a really good time to adopt a dog," said transportation manager Cunnane. "They know Minnesotans will take care of them. They will be adopted much sooner here than in Mississippi, Alabama or Florida."
The humane society has rescued dogs involved in other hurricanes in the past. In addition, it accepts weekly shipments of dogs from other states.
"We are lucky," said spokesperson Tan. "We do not have the overpopulation problems that they do in southern states."