BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Wednesday morning, a plane filled with extra precious cargo took off from Atlantic Aviation.

An animal rescue flight transporting over 60 dogs and cats from the Greater Birmingham Humane Society went on its journey to adoption centers across the country.

Yesterday, these animals were on the brink of being put down and now, they’re headed to their forever families in Ellington, CT, and Salem, MA.

“They were not gonna get adopted, and they’ve been in the shelter for a long time,” said Allison Black Cornelius, CEO of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. “We’ve got a mama cat and her kittens on there … We got some huskies on that plane, so you know they’re gonna be in heaven because they’re going to snow.”

The humane society worked with the Bissell Pet Foundation and the Race for Life Rescue to send the animals up north, where the shelters aren’t as full.

The transport helps free up critical space locally and gives the pets the gift of a second chance.

“We don’t want to see any animal lose its life because it can’t find a home,” Black Cornelius said.

This was the 49th mission this year for Race for Life Rescue. The non-profit flies animals to new homes in a converted passenger aircraft nationwide, and founder and president Jim DeFrancesco said the critters cruise in style.

“These animals get the same comfort with a pressurized cabin and climate control that you would have if you bought a ticket,” DeFrancesco said.

Black Cornelius explained how grateful the humane society was for DeFrancesco’s support as well as the community members who stepped up to save the furry friends.

“[We’re] very fortunate and so excited to see them going to cooler temperatures and a forever home,” Black Cornelius said.

If you’d like to support the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, click here.