MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - Nearly two dozen golden retrievers who were saved from slaughter and meat markets in China have landed at Miami International Airport to meet their new families and head to their new “fur-ever” homes.

The 20 canines touched down at MIA on Sunday, just in time for the holidays. Their rescue was made possible thanks to Golden Rescue South Florida, an organization dedicated to helping golden retrievers across the state and now around the world.

Officials with Golden Rescue said the mission to save the dogs from dangerous and potentially deadly conditions took place after a rescue in China contacted the organization asking for help.

The project, six months in the making, came to a happy ending for these pups, now ready to meet their new owners.

But according to rescue coordinator Kristine Menerva, not everything went according to plan. She said the task of getting the dogs to the U.S. was anything but easy.

“Very stressful. We had an over 40-hour delay. The dogs were supposed to arrive Friday at 4:30 p.m., and unfortunately, their flight had a mechanical issue, so they were delayed,” she said.

With assistance from other dedicated organizations, the dogs were eventually able to make it to the Sunshine State.

“With the help of the Taiwan [Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals], PETA, the China rescue that we’ve been working with, TCA, another organization in Chicago, we all came together,” said Menerva, “and the dogs were fed, and they were given water and constantly 24-hour care while they were held up in their facility.”

Despite the trip taking longer than expected for the golden retriever’s new owners, they said they’re grateful to have them home.

“This is the happiest day in 2020 for me,” said Katie Brown, one of the pups’ owners, as she fought back tears. “The fact that we’ve been waiting so long for these dogs to arrive, it’s been such a long journey, and to have her here, it means everything. It truly is making our year.”

Now all 20 of the golden retrievers have new permanent homes all across the state, as well as a new leash on life.

Golden Rescue South Florida also has an online shopping store. All proceeds from the site go toward funding rescue missions.

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