WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- Forty dogs and cats that were already in Maui shelters before the wildfires broke out, were individually crated and shipped to the Bay Area in a coordinated effort by Berkeley Humane.
"It kind of brought a tear to your eye seeing them come off the plane and knowing they're safe here," Cole Kuiper, the ARF Content Marketing Manager said.
The Animal Rescue Foundation in Walnut Creek took in five dogs and four kittens, one of which has already found its forever home.
"What we did was help clear the shelters in Maui, so that animals displaced by the fires can have a place to go while their owners look for them and hopefully they can be reunited," Susan Lee Vick, CEO of the Animal Rescue Foundation said.
Vick says for her, it's personal, after growing up in Santa Rosa.
"It means more to me than I can possibly say," Vick said. "Catastrophic wildfires ravaged our communities twice and I know what that feels like, I know the absolute heartbreak and confusion."
Kuiper was there for the moment the brave animals landed late Friday night.
"Things like this are a good reminder of why I do what I do. Working in animal welfare is fantastic, it has some really high highs, it has some lows but at the end of the day it feels good to do good and we did a lot of good that night," he said.
And it doesn't end there.
Marin Humane, East Bay SPCA, the Alameda Animal Shelter and the Tri-City Animal Shelter also stepped up with Berkeley Humane and ARF to take in as many dogs as they had room for.
"Animal welfare in general, we're all family, Ohana as the Hawaiians call it, and we wanted to help them out with being overwhelmed with animals in need," Kelly Miott, Manager of the Tri-City Animal Shelter said.
And by Monday morning, people like Beth Manganaro showed up, with an open heart and open kennel.
"Because my family and I always rescue dogs and it's really important to give a dog another chance," Beth Manganaro, a Fremont resident said. "That's something that we've always enjoyed is Maui, especially Lahaina so I'm just trying to help in a way that I can, rescue a puppy."
The remaining animals at the Animal Rescue Foundation are pending health checks and are expected to be available for adoption by the end of the week. No appointments are necessary and they are open seven days a week.
Tri-City Animal Services in Fremont has three dogs from Maui available for adoption by appointment only, which can be booked online here.
Miott says they will be adopted out on a first-come first-serve basis.
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