RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond SPCA welcomed ten dogs from Puerto Rico on Thursday, Oct. 6. Through the organization Wings of Rescue, the dogs arrived in a group of about 100 animals that were rescued from the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona.

Peter Hoover piloted the flight. He said he’s used to traveling with special — and noisy — cargo.

“Loud on departure, they fall asleep during cruise,” Hoover said. “On descent they start to get loud again, and excited, because the know they’re about to land in their new homes.”

Rescue dog Nina awaits her ride to the Richmond SPCA after landing from Puerto Rico. Photo courtesy Sierra Krug.

Securely landing the animals in a safe new environment is one of Hoover’s favorite parts of these rescue missions.

“Off-loading these [pets] and seeing the dogs all happy, wagging their tails, the volunteers helping us unload, it’s just a happy environment and the animals love it,” Hoover said.

Upon the plane’s landing, the dogs’ cages were parked while local Virginia animal shelter representatives like Tabitha Treloar worked to load the new furry Richmond residents into their vans.

Despite already crowded shelters, the Richmond SPCA will not displace any current local animals as a result of the new arrivals. Treloar emphasized a desire to help animals in the surrounding communities and abroad.

“They don’t have people looking for them,” Treloar said. “They were already looking for homes before Fiona hit and, now, they’re going to find them here in Richmond.”

These dogs will be available for adoption after they have been evaluated by local veterinarians.

“The ten dogs who arrived today are going to be observed for the next seven to ten days, but when they are available for adoption, we’re going to add the flag of Puerto Rico to their photos, so people can easily identify them,” Treloar said.