HALIFAX -- Several Maritime families have gone the extra mile to adopt a new furry friend.

After months of planning, dozens of rescue dogs and cats from the Dominican Republic arrived safely in Canada on Monday, ready to start the next stage of their journey.

“This is Spotty, he’s affectionately known as a coconut hound, he has the big, pointy cocounut hound ears, and he came from the Dominican Republic,” says Christine Elliott, a resident of Windsor Junction, N.S.

“Coco was one of the rescues from the Dominican Republic and she was kind of orphaned on one of the tourism beaches and when tourism shut down due to COVID, she kind of wasn’t getting fed anymore, so they took her in and she was in foster,” says Halifax resident Christa Tynes.

Spotty and Coco are two of more than 70 dogs that arrived in Canada on Monday, and are already beginning to get settled in their ‘forever homes’.

“I think the final tally was 78 dogs that flew from the Dominican Republic to Toronto on Saturday. Some were staying in the Greater Toronto Area, some went to Calgary, some went to Quebec and there was a handful that came all the way to the Maritimes,” says Tynes.

The organization ‘Dogs and Cats of the Dominican Republic’, fundraised over $25,000 to charter a private plan to fly the dogs to Canada, as well as covering immunizations, vaccines and travelling papers.

Several volunteers helped shuttle the dogs from Toronto to Halifax.

While there may be a bit of a learning curve, and language barrier, the dogs already seem happy to be safe and sound on Canadian soil.

“We’re not really sure if Coco knows her commands in English or Spanish, she’s not really listening to anything we tell her, so there will be a learning curve for sure,” says Tynes. “Within five minutes she was laying on the bed with our other dog, chewing a bone and making herself at home.”

“He seems to be settling in very well, he’s really friendly, he’s excited to see us, wags his tail at us and follows us around, all the things that a dog does,” says Elliott.

Tynes says it was her daughter’s decision to get a rescue dog instead of adopting a puppy.

“It’s nice to get another brand new puppy, but there are still so many dogs that need homes in the world,” says Alison Tynes.

“Rescues are the way to go, adds Elliot. “I think that it’s important to take care of animals, I think they deserve a chance and it’s unfortunate when they get left behind but there has to be people to help them out.”