By Juli McDonald

WORCESTER (CBS) – A pilot who helped rescue shelter pets from the disaster in Puerto Rico is back home and to make his homecoming even better, he was reunited with one dog he fell in love with while he was there.

On a dark Worcester runway they landed Wednesday, the “Wings of Rescue”, carrying some very precious cargo.

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Puppies rescued from Puerto Rico land in Worcester (WBZ-TV)

“I get teary eyed thinking about it because these dogs have been through so much,” said Leigh Grady of the Animal Shelter of Sterling.

Close to 200 dogs and cats, some strayed or abandoned, others surrendered, but all of them, survivors from storm ravaged Puerto Rico.

It’s not the first lifesaving flight for volunteer pilot Derek Harbaugh. Of all the animals he flew to safety last week, it was Pinky who caught his eye.

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Pilot Derek Harbaugh and Pinky who was rescued from Puerto Rico (WBZ-TV)

“I put her on the truck and as soon as I did I realized that’s my dog,” said Harbaugh.

After a week fostered by Last Hope K9 Rescue, a sweet reunion for Pinky and her pilot. The rest of the new animals now head for care and comfort at local shelters, but Pinky, officially adopted, is back in the cockpit. Only blue skies ahead for man and new best friend.

“Pretty stoked, I’m about to cry right now, it’s pretty cool, it’s been amazing,” said Harbaugh.

The animals will be sent to the following shelters for adoption:

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Animal Shelter Inc. of Sterling MA
Boxer Rescue of MA
Animal Rescue League of Boston
Buddy Dog – Sudbury, MA
Cape Ann – Gloucester, MA
Caribbean Puppy Connection – MA
Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland – Maine

Juli McDonald