Arlington, VA

Thirty-three pets rescued from the devastation in Beirut, Lebanon are now in Arlington, awaiting adoption.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington posted a video (below) of the Beirut blast rescues arriving at the airport and at the shelter near Shirlington. AWLA is now seeking new homes for the nearly three dozen dogs and cats.

More from an email sent to AWLA supporters on Thursday:

After a long journey from Beirut, Lebanon, 15 dogs and 18 cats arrived at AWLA last night to start new lives in the USA.

After the explosion in Beirut last month, Animals Lebanon immediately mobilized. For weeks they have worked tirelessly, rescuing animals who were injured or trapped in rubble, and reuniting as many pets as possible with their owners.

But the devastation was unimaginable.

Hundreds died. Thousands were injured. Hundreds of thousands remain homeless. Although Animals Lebanon stepped up to assist families, many could no longer keep their pets after losing family members, losing their homes, or being forced to leave the country.

Humane Society International (HSI) reached out and asked if AWLA would be able to take in some animals from Animals Lebanon. Without hesitation, we said YES and promised to do everything we could to help.

Animals Lebanon saved them from the wreckage. HSI flew them overseas.

All 33 animals will be staying in the shelter or in foster homes while they adjust to their new surroundings and we get to know them a little better. So many are scared and shy, several require urgent medical attention, and they all need a lot of TLC.

AWLA spokeswoman Chelsea Jones said the organization doesn’t usually take in pets from overseas, but the Beirut explosion is a special case, in part because of the work of the Humane Society.

“Since HSI did all the work getting them to Dulles Airport — we just had to pick them up!” she said. “I do know that getting that many dogs and cats on international flights takes a lot of organization and paperwork, so I’m sure they worked very hard to get it done. We don’t take international transfers very often, as we are mostly focused on helping local organizations, but we had the space to help in this situation.”

“It feels great to finally have the dogs and cats in their care,” Jones added. “The cats are all very friendly and social, and while the dogs are a little shy, we are excited to help them adjust to their new surroundings. We are so happy that we’ve been able to help these animals that have been through so much.”

Some of the cats are already up for adoption and ready to go home, according to Jones.

“We expect the rest of the cats will be available for adoption very soon,” she said. “Some of the dogs need to be spayed/neutered or medical issues, so we have to address that first. And then of course some of the dogs are very scared and unsure of this new step in their journey, so we will give them whatever time they need to adjust.”

AWLA is hoping to raise money for the care of these and other pets through its 2020 “Walk for the Animals” event.

The annual fundraiser, set for tomorrow (Saturday), has raised more than $77,000 of its $100,000 goal.

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