PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

Humans aren't the only ones who get nervous to fly.

"Some of them are going on the stairs on their own, others have to be nudged into the stairs," said Yahuda Netanel, founder of nonprofit Wings of Rescue.

But these pups aren't going on vacation, they're bound for a new life.
Their final destination: no-kill shelters and loving homes some have waited years for.

"Fifty-four dogs are getting rescued, they're going north to Idaho and Washington," said Tom Snyder, PR Director for Animal Samaritans, which helped organize the flight.

"Hopefully within a week they'll all be in new homes," Netanel said.

Here in the Coachella Valley, shelters are often bursting at the seams while up north there's a high demand for rescue animals.

In the last three years, Wings of Rescue has flown more than 6,000 cats and dogs to safe havens. 

"Down here in Southern California there seems to be a plethora of rescue dogs and up there we can't get enough," said pilot Frank Singer, who donated his plane and time for the flight.  All Wings of Rescue pilots are volunteer.

"Some of them stand in line waiting for the dogs when they know there's a flight," Netanel said.

This rescue also frees up space at the valley's largest animal shelter before 4th of July weekend, a time when shelters around the country see an influx of lost dogs.

"This is a very satisfying endeavor, it's interesting they send us postcards from their new homes," Netanel said.

And going the distance to get a new family. makes those pre-flight nerves well worth the trip.

"That's why we have motivation to keep doing this because here there is one sad ending to the story and there it's a completely opposite, happy ending," Netanel said.