Early Monday morning marked a beginning in Las Cruces. A mission to fly local abandoned pets, at risk of being euthanized, to no kill shelters out of state.

“You have tears and you just soldier on and you help them,” said Volunteer Margaret Colmbs.

For Colmbs this is more than just volunteering. As a “parent” to several adopted dogs she says this is personal.

“A lot of people just walk away, they run over them and they leave them,” Colmbs said.

She arrived at Southwest Aviation airfield in Las Cruces around 5:30 a.m. ready to help, with much needed supplies in hand. She brought a backpack full of coats for the pets.

It’s going to be a much needed item where they’re going. The 60 dogs and three cats were loaded onto a plane headed for two stops in Idaho and a final destination in Montana. There the pets will be turned over to no kill shelters where Colmbs hopes they will ultimately find a forever home.

“With all the bad stuff in the world today it’s just wonderful to have a happy day,” Colmbs expressed.

The middle man in all this, Peter Rork from Wyoming, is the founder of non-profit Dog Is My Copilot. For five years he has embarked on missions like this across the country saving pets. He pilots the plane to get the animals safely and quickly to their destination.

“We fly dozens of trips every year trying to save as many as we can,” Rork said.

Today he’s partnering with Las Cruces non-profit Uncaged Paws to carry out the operation.

He says these flights are crucial to save these pets lives.

“The local shelters are completely overrun, they are slaughtering these animals that would otherwise be perfectly adoptable,” Rork explained.

Organizers say five dogs were not able to fit on Monday’s flight. They say they are making arrangements to fly them out later this week.

Organizers also say they plan on doing more of these missions locally in the coming weeks.