Saving strays, from Houston to Wisconsin - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

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Saving strays, from Houston to Wisconsin

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FORT ATKINSON  (WKOW) -- The journey of a thousand miles for dozens of stray dogs, ends in Wisconsin.  

A group in Fort Atkinson is part of a mission to pull abandoned dogs off the streets of Houston, TX, where more than a million stray animals have no homes. 

They're victims of abuse and neglect and even the ones that are picked up and taken to a shelter, only have days, sometimes hours to be adopted, or they're euthanized.

"Nobody's looking for these dogs. They don't want them, they're a nuisance. They don't have a chance," says Erin Housley.

She decided to give them a chance.

Housley founded Paddy's Paws in Fort Atkinson and enlisted the help of Mandy Hunt.They teamed up with the Houston rescue organization Lola's Lucky Day.

Together, the groups pull abandoned dogs off the streets and bring them back to Wisconsin.

Larissa Gavin runs Lola's and says, "Once I saw it with my own eyes I knew I had to do something to change it. So, you can make a difference, big or small,  if you really want to."

Our 27 news cameras documented Paddy's mission trip to Houston earlier this month as volunteers walked through what's called, the Corridor of Cruelty.

"This is a common area for dumping dogs and where we find a lot of the dogs that are homeless and unfortunately we can't take them all in," says Gavin.

Lola's Lucky Day is just one of many organizations that finds, feeds and saves the dogs.

The animals are immediately taken to a vet to be checked out and treated.

They're brought back to health, named and placed with a foster family in Houston.

"Every single dog that I've ever rescued from there, the minute that they get in the car, they just know.They know that they've been rescued. They know that this is the first time a human has probably ever been nice to them and is gonna show them love," says Gavin.

While the dogs are fostered, their pictures and information are shared with Wisconsin families looking to adopt through Paddy's Paws. 

On the most recent trip, Paddy's brought 25 dogs back to Wisconsin.

Rose Powers, of Fort Atkinson, adopted Tucker, who will fill a heartbreaking void.

"I lost my husband about 7 months ago and it's lonesome. We're gonna have a good time. It's emotional."

Lola's Lucky Day has rescued more than 200 dogs in Houston since it was founded in 2014 and 95% of them have been brought back to Wisconsin, through Paddy's Paws.

"For me, I've always said, when it comes to children, when it comes to animals, a life is a life. It's not defined by zip code or the state that they're in. So we just look at it as saving a life, and bringing them here," says Housley.

More information on Paddy's Paws and Lola's Lucky Day can be found by clicking on those links.

If you are interested in adopting a rescued dog through Paddy's Paws, you can fill out an application here.

You can also donate to the cause by clicking here.

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