Flying for a Cause…The Paws
Kristen recently earned her pilot’s license and decided to put it to use with another passion, Puppies. She had a brief introduction to Pilots N Paws while she was a student pilot and fell across the materials she had gathered just a little while ago. The decision was made to get involved. Turns out that was immediately as she jumped in as a copilot on a trip just a few days later. She wrote a story about her general aviation experiences on the aopa.org blog. You’ll find the dog story below, but visit the blog here if you’d like to read more. It’s worth the time.
We were slated to transport four puppies (to me, all dogs are puppies, and they will henceforth be referred to as such) to Schenectady, NY. Their day had actually started in Knoxville, TN. Dan and Ann were 4 month old beagle/hound mixes, Clair was a 1 year old Aussie, and Zeus was a 3 month old Catahoula. It would be the third and final leg of the day, so I’m sure the initial excitement had worn off by the time we got them. They were very energetic puppies and didn’t seem too keen on going back in the crate, but we managed to get them in.
We flew a DA-40, so space was limited. I’m working on getting checked out in this plane, so aside from the takeoffs and landings, I stayed on the controls. The flight was beautiful and completely silent for two full hours. All four puppies had fallen asleep.
When we arrived at Schenectady, the shelter volunteers enthusiastically bolted out of the FBO to greet us (ok – they were probably more interested in the puppies). They loved them as much as we did, and I was sad to think about parting with them after sharing this experience. However, I knew that they would be going to good, loving homes. After meeting these sweet puppies, it was unfathomable to even think about their fate had they remained in Knoxville. For instance, I learned that Clair was found in a burlap sack with her puppies. Even still, she is one of the most gentle and sweet animals that I have ever met, and the family that adopts her is going to love her.
I’ve been searching a long time for a volunteer opportunity that is fulfilling and fun at the same time, and I couldn’t think of a better combination of those than flying animals in need. …I’m going to start looking for additional Pilots N Paws missions that are on a smaller scale and possibly more local while I’m getting my feet wet.