AWF finds forever homes for Tennessee dogs

Tina Hunt and Elizabeth Bradley show off the lab puppies. Days after the dogs arrived in Monticello, 11 of the 13 found forever homes.

AWF Shelter Manager Amy Bradley places one of the dogs into a van at the Monticello airport before it’s transported to the shelter.

Volunteers with AWF help to transport the Tennessee dogs into various vehicles before they’re taken to the local shelter. The 13 dogs were flown into the Monticello airport on June 11 via Tennessee due to overcrowding. (Photos by Kim Brooks)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Just days after 13 dogs were flown to Monticello’s Animal Welfare Friends shelter via Tennessee, 11 have already been adopted into forever homes.

     “Two (dogs) remain, bur we’ve received applications for both,” reported AWF Board President Cindy Bagge.

     On June 11, volunteer pilot Charlie Cato from Tennessee flew all of the dogs into the Monticello Regional Airport. The dogs came from several different shelters throughout Tennessee where they were experiencing overcrowded conditions.

     Maily Tran, a student pilot and volunteer with RARE (Rural Animal Rescue Effort), facilitated the transfer of the dogs.

     AWF had the room to house all 13 dogs because as more people were spending time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, more dogs were being adopted from the shelter.

     “We’ve had a long-standing relationship with the coordinator in Tennessee,” said Bagge. “They always keep us in mind.”

     Bagge explained the stray dog rate in Tennessee is also quite high.

     Cato said this most recent transport brings his total to 500 dogs that he’s helped to rescue. He’s conducted 37 rescue flights since he purchased his plane less than a year ago.

     “I have the resources and time to help a worthy cause like this,” he said. “I bought this plane for a purpose.”

     The combination of new dogs included labs and lab mixes, 7-week-old puppies, 4-month-old puppies, 6-month-old puppies, a 5-year-old dog, and a young Beagle.

     “We know we can help these dogs find forever homes,” Bagge remarked ahead of the in-coming flight.

     AWF was informed about the flight from Tennessee a couple of weeks prior to the arrival.

     “We proceeded judicially because of the demand for adoptions,” Bagge said. “But it wasn’t a decision we made overnight. We needed to plan for the transition.”

     Once all of the dogs arrived in Monticello they were immediately taken to the shelter via three separate vehicles and eight AWF volunteers.

     Cato was originally set to fly into the Davenport airport, but Bagge spoke highly of the Monticello airport, which is just 15 minutes from Davenport by air.

     “We’re lucky to have an airport this size for a small town,” she said of the local service. “It’s a feather in our cap to have a regional airport.”

     While their vaccines were updated, they needed to be spayed and neutered. Each dog also required a visit from the local veterinarian in case of any underlying health issues.

     “We need to learn the medical makeup of the dogs,” explained Bagge.

     AWF also asked for members of the community to volunteer their time over the weekend to help with socialization of the new dogs. In addition, doggie chores needed to be done.

     “We just wanted people to come and show some love to these dogs,” added Bagge.

     AWF made the announcement on their Facebook page that these new dogs were due to arrive soon. Immediately, applications poured in from perspective forever homes.

     AWF had to incur some costs in order to care for these dogs before they could be adopted out. The standard adoption fee hardly covers the cost to spay or neuter a dog. Donations can be made toward the shelter either online ( or at the shelter itself (22407 Business Highway 151, Monticello).


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