Imagine that a dog needs to be rescued, but there is no way to remove them to a safe location. That’s where organizations like Pilots N Paws and Dog is My CoPilot can come to help.
The environment of Pilots N Paws allows for information exchanges, sharing rescue stories, and getting involved locally to help dogs and other animals who need assistance. Although the website is intended to be a place where volunteers can work with each other to rescue, shelter, and adopt animals, it has also become a place where pilots and plane owners can work together to help with transportation and logistics.
Dog Is My Copilot provides similar services. Many of these pilots transport dogs from overcrowded shelters to adoption centers, sometimes all the way across the country, where a loving home is waiting for them. They help foster adoptions for these shelter pets by getting them to shelters where they can be adopted. They believe that "When you adopt a shelter pet, you save 2 lives. The one you adopt, and the one that takes its place." []
Tens of thousands of animals have been saved this way, with the average rescue flight carrying up to 85 dogs.
Watch this touching story about how Dog is My CoPilot became a 2019 honoree for the Love in Action Award from Petco Foundation:
Why Are Dogs Sent to Different Shelters?
When more rescues happen in a community than the local shelters can handle, the next best solution is to send the dogs to another area where fewer animals require that kind of care. If that’s the next town over, the animals get loaded onto trucks or other vehicles to take a ride.
What If I Want to Get Involved with These Organizations?
If you are a pilot and want to help rescue dogs and other animals who need a home, you’ll need to be aware of a few issues to have a successful experience.
- Most animals do not know to yawn or swallow when pressure changes occur during a flight. Dogs unfamiliar with altitude changes can feel uncomfortable, leading to barking and adverse behaviors.
- Canines that tend to be vocal before a flight are typically quiet once you reach a cruising altitude. Some even fall asleep. For those with high anxiety levels, a soothing voice can often help the situation.
- Even flights of short duration can experience accidents, and dogs can decide to use the bathroom because of their emotions. Having supplies available to clean and disinfect afterward is helpful.
- Once the trip is complete, food and water are often necessary for dogs. They’ll also need to be let out to relieve themselves.
If you’re not a pilot, it’s still possible to help organizations and pilots fly dogs away from potentially harmful situations. Donations help immensely because aviation fuel isn’t cheap.
Each year, volunteer owners and pilot offer their planes and fuel for these rescues, but every little bit helps.
Although the actual expenses are variable, it typically works out to about $100 per animal, per flight, for a successful rescue.
Each organization flies specific rescue routes based on their partnerships and volunteerism. Dog Is My Copilot has an extensive footprint spanning southern Texas to northern Washington.
Patty Wagstaff Volunteers for Pilots N Paws
Over four million animals are euthanized in the United States each year because of a lack of loving homes. That includes about 733,000 that are classified as shelter pets. Pilots N Paws, Dog Is My Copilot, and other organizations are working to change that. []
Patty Wagstaff, who is a six-time aviation aerobatics champion, is heavily involved with this work. “It’s not like I just go jump in the plane once a year and fly an air show,” she said. “It’s something I train for all the time.” []
Imagine a world where no dogs would need to be euthanized because there isn’t shelter crowding. Healthy animals could find more living homes. These pilots and plane owners donate their time and equipment to save as many as possible.
Are you ready to do some flying?
[] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAGwY9JXfUE ; [] https://www.cesarsway.com/reasons-dogs-end-up-in-shelters/ ; [] https://dogcopilot.org/about-us/ ; []https://charlottecounty.floridaweekly.com/articles/patty-wagstaff-takes-to-the-skies-again-at-the-florida-international-air-show/; []https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccyzT1RJg8s ; [] https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2020/08/31/how-this-former-doctor-ended-up-flying-thousands-dogs-across-country-save-them/