April, Baby Bonus, Connor, Michelle and Bondy.
They're all four-legged canine rescues from Turkey, arriving Friday night at Kennedy Airport, and destined for new homes on Long Island.
In all, 18 golden retrievers will be on board the special cargo plane outfitted for crated animals, an effort led by a New Jersey rescue group, joined by another one from Pennsylvania and Long Island Golden Retriever Rescue.
The dogs would have been imported as pups when the breed was considered a status symbol in Turkey, said Joanne Anderson, a Babylon animal shelter volunteer speaking for the Long Island group.
But when their appeal waned, they joined the global ranks of other "trendy breeds falling off the pup pedestal," Anderson wrote in her Massapequa Post pet column.
Rescue groups estimate there are more than 50,000 stray dogs living in Istanbul. Of them, a possible 500 are goldens, said Anderson.
Earlier this year, an Atlanta rescue group was the first to airlift goldens out of Turkey. Upon hearing of the initiative, Melanie Mayo said she thought, "Oh my God. This is incredibly awesome. We need to be part of this." Mayo, 62, president of the Plainview-based Long Island rescue group, said, "We are all indebted to Atlanta."
The Long Island five, different ages, are to spend their first night on U.S. soil with a volunteer, moving to Aldrich Animal Hospital, in West Babylon, for further medical assessment, said the rescue group's site, LIGRR.org. "We're looking forward to no sleep that night," said Barbara Acker, 54, who'll host the pack at her Medford home the first night.
With four rescued goldens of her own, as well as foster dogs, the house is well stocked with beds, toys and rawhide, she said. As for her translation list of Turkish-to-English dog commands, she said, "I will be bringing that [to the airport], I can assure you."
The dogs will arrive with medical clearances and travel passports, having already received health checks, vaccinations and microchips, Mayo said. The other 13 dogs are going to New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Applications are being accepted for adoption, with the group seeking Long Islanders with at least one person home most of the time, among other requirements, including a $600 fee.The matching process will take a little time, Mayo said, as she will want to get to know each dog and its needs to determine his or her optimum placement. "My client," she said, "is the dog."