LIHUE — Before placing the red dog named Cassidy back into his crate at the Lihue Airport, Carla Bissell held the dog’s head, kissed him gently and gave him a hug.

The dog licked her face, then ducked a bit as he returned to the gray, plastic crate, and the metal gate shut behind him.

Sounds like a sad goodbye. It wasn’t.

Cassidy, a former resident of the Kauai Humane Society, was about to begin a 2,500-mile trip to Marin County, California, where he would more than likely soon be placed with a home. His forever home.

He was one of about 20 dogs and cats sent on an Alaska Airlines plane, bound for the Mainland, Thursday through today. Once there, they are placed with rescue groups or shelters until they are adopted. And that generally doesn’t take long.

“These guys go real fast,” Bissell said.

The pet transfer program is setting records this year. Since Jan. 1, about 350 dogs and cats have been flown over the ocean, free on Alaska Airlines, including about 175 since June 1. That’s well up from 227 pets sent to the Mainland last year between Jan. 1 and Oct. 12.

“It saves a lot of lives,” said Bissell, a KHS volunteer. “It gives our dogs a chance to go into homes, and have good homes where they go on to have great lives.”

The program is simple, but effective.

Read the full article at The Garden Island.