Million Air Westchester, the luxury FBO at Westchester County Airport, hosted The SATO Project in an emotional day that united rescued dogs and their new families over Valentine’s Day weekend.
The Sato Project collaborating with Wings of Rescue airlifted 75 dogs to the FBO’s hangar where they were received by loving families. The flight was part of the “Love is in the Air” mission to save more than 500 at-risk shelter pets during the week of Valentine’s Day with support from Tito’s Handmade Vodka and the spirits company’s Vodka for Dog People program.
All of the dogs were rescued from the streets of Puerto Rico, saved from a severe hoarding situation, abandoned, or pulled from overburdened animal shelters impacted by recent earthquakes. The Sato Project has rescued, rehabilitated, and flown more than 5,000 dogs to the Northeast.
“We were very grateful for the opportunity to host The SATO project and provide the space for this loving union between Westchester families and their new pets,’’ said Roger Woolsey, CEO of Million Air. “The work that this organization does is nothing short of miraculous and we were proud to play our small part in this effort.’’
Dozens of volunteers arrived at Million Air on Saturday, Feb, 13 to help unload the animals, complete paperwork and unite them with their new families who were eagerly awaiting their arrival.
John and Allison Levene of Chappaqua and their children, Owen, 6, and Shane, 3, were there to pick up Zena, who was rescued as a tiny pup from a plastic bag dumped by the side of the road. Zena, now four months looking healthy and happy, rewarded her new family with plenty of kisses.
“We lost our dog awhile ago, and we are all very happy to have Zena,’’ said John Levene.
There is a stray dog epidemic in Puerto Rico, where an estimated 500,000 roam the streets and municipal shelters average a 94-96% euthanasia rate. For the past decade, The Sato Project has rescued, rehabilitated, and flown more than 5,000 rescue dogs to the Northeast.
Also contributing to the cause on Saturday was Rita and Vincent Santelia of Silver Lake Pizza who donated lunch for dozens of volunteers.