Volunteers Help 45 Shelter Pets After Van Breaks Down in North Carolina Ahead of Storm

After rescuing 45 dogs and cats from a shelter in the path of Hurricane Florence, a local animal rescue group found themselves in a "ruff" situation when their van broke down 90 minutes into the 6-hour trip back home. 

But thanks to the community, the rescue and all their pets made it back safely. 

Lucky Dog Animal Rescue went to Florence, South Carolina, Wednesday to pick up 38 dogs and seven cats. On their way back to the D.C. area, their van broke down outside Fayetteville, North Carolina.

The staff and van full of pets were left stranded at a gas station on a sweltering 90-degree day. The shelter sent out an urgent message on their Facebook page, asking for help.

"EMERGENCY!!! NORTH CAROLINA SUPPORTERS. THE VAN IS BROKEN DOWN ON INTERSTATE 95. Exit 40. 911. We need help for the driver who is unloading the dogs to shade. EMERGENCY," the desperate post read. 

The community quickly responded, and more than 55 people showed up to help unload the dogs, give them water and keep them cool. Lucky Dog says a van from Looney's K9 Rescue Transport, which is based in South Carolina, showed up and took the animals the rest of the way. A kindhearted citizen even paid to replace the group's broken alternator. 

"Today, in the face of one of the worst storms the Carolinas have ever seen, 55 amazing people took time out of their own preparations to help our dogs and cats. We are truly LUCKY to have them in our lives," the shelter said in a news release Thursday. 

The rescue group says all of the dogs that were brought back will be available for adoption this weekend at the PetSmart on Kentlands Boulevard in Gaithersburg, Maryland. 

The 3-week-old kittens the group rescued from the shelter in South Carolina are too young to be adopted at this time, but the group says they should be available in about five weeks. 

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