Little Louis shivered in the crisp air of the Maritimes on Thursday as the tiny, blind, black-and-brown puppy was placed in the arms of his new owner, Brittni Milligan.
After an eight-day road trip to Halifax from California with 47 canine companions, Louis was finally home.
"It's overwhelming. I'm really excited," said Milligan, a 23-year-old veterinary student, as Louis cowered in her arms. "I'm glad he's going to be safe now and not have to live in a shelter."
The 5,700-kilometre trek aboard an RV was organized by the Animal Rescue Corps, an international non-profit animal protection organization that partnered with rescue organizations in the Maritimes to find the dogs new homes.
The dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds, hail from a shelter in Palm Springs, California that was struggling with overcrowding.
A number of the dogs were recently rescued from a dilapidated home in Palm Springs, said Scotlund Haisley, president of the Animal Rescue Corps.
"The conditions were very grim," said Haisley, who made the trip to Halifax from California. "These dogs have never really felt a kind touch from a human before."
He said all of the animals have already been placed in adoptive or foster homes, primarily in Halifax.
Another RV with about 20 dogs and 50 cats is expected in about three weeks. The cats are destined for Prince Edward Island.
Tiffany Sullivan, a shelter director for the Animal Rescue Corps, said it only took a few emails to find new homes for the animals from California.
"They just ran with it," said Sullivan, a Halifax native. "That's what we love about the Maritimes."
She said rescue organizations in the region need to work together to place homeless animals with loving families.
"I think just more people need to reach out," she said.