Here's a little something most people don't know about me: I'm a pilot. And the last year has been a busy one in the air.
Recently I launched Pilot.dog as a way to allow people to share in the future dog rescue flights my wife and I do. If you love dogs, you'll probably enjoy the story below of our most recent flight.
Tonto, a female, black labrador retriever, and Ranger, a male, golden labrador retriever, belong to a couple that serves on active duty in the U.S. Air Force.
Due to ongoing, overlapping deployments they are no longer able to keep the dogs they rescued as puppies.
Over the past several years they've had friends keep the dogs but they don't see their traveling slowing down anytime soon and can't keep imposing on friends' generosity.
Both dogs are 5 years old and at their age, as owner surrenders, Tonto -- particularly because people have a misconception that black dogs are evil -- and Ranger don't have a very good chance of making it out alive of a kill shelter. North Carolina has one of the highest number of kill shelters in the county.
Steph Tjosvold of Midwest Animal Rescue & Services in St. Paul, Minnesota agreed to bring the dogs into the rescue but needed help getting them from Raleigh, N.C. to Minnesota.
Steph posted a request on the Pilots N Paws website asking for help getting the dogs to Pennsylvania by Sept. 23 where she had already retained a pilot to fly them from PA to Wisconsin.
From Wisconsin she had a flight set to bring them into MN. Where she had forever homes already for them each.
She asked to please help her honor their service to our country by saving their beloved dogs.
How could we refuse!
If you'd like to be a part of our dog rescue team, become a patron by visiting Pilot.dog.
We responded and arranged to meet the owner, at our airfield on Sept. 22 at 7:30 a.m. He had almost a two-hour drive to get to us, but he wanted his dogs to go to a good home and was willing to do anything to get them there.
On one attempt he tried to pay a commercial airline to fly his dogs. But after he purchased all of the required equipment, specified on their website to fly the dogs and tickets. He was told when he got to the airport that the crates he'd purchases were the wrong ones. Even though it was exactly what they had on the website.
Military members do not make that much money to cover mistakes like that! And the airline was unwilling to accommodate them.
When we met at the our airport, Aaron came with his 2.5-year-old son Luke and both dogs.
At this point Pam got teary-eyed.
You could tell these were well-loved dogs and it was really difficult for Arron to part with them.
Tonto is a real sweetheart and loves to snuggle and kiss your face.
Ranger is a big teddy bear and loves playing with balls and carrying them around. There was a beat up soft ball in his crate with him. Aaron said he's never without something to carry around in his mouth.
Aaron said his goodbyes to his best friends and with emotional goodbyes all around he and Luke drove back home.
With, Pam and both dogs sitting in the back of the plane we were off to PA for their first leg to their new homes.
For the first hour of our flight, Tonto lounged across Pam's lap and Ranger sat with his head on the back seat looking out the window.
After some rearranging in the back both dogs took over the back seat for a little snooze.
In Latrobe, Pennsylvania we met Heidi, who took them in as a foster for the night. Heidi and her husband have four dogs of their own but when she heard about their situation she couldn't refuse either.
We said our goodbyes to our new friends, wished them well in their new homes and as usual Pam cried. (Source)
Here Are Some Other Recent Flight Photos
Rucker is flown to Virginia to his new forever home.
Buttercup on his flight for medical care and a surgical evaluation to repair his front legs.
Passengers headed to New Jersey and Virginia.