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Pilots N Paws

Planes and Puppies

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Dave Whitney flew a mission for 8 lab pups. ┬áHe tells his story…

Friday was forecast to be a beautiful day, sunny but a bit windy. It looked good for flying 8 Lab pups that were rescued from the Joplin Humane Society. The pups were only 6 weeks old, which meant that their chances of getting sick in the shelter were very high. Apparently they had been found in a cardboard box, left in a field to fend for themselves – not a very good start.


Sandi delivering the pups to Sam

Mountain Pet Rescue in Winter Park offered to foster them temporarily, so Sandi pulled them from the shelter in Joplin and took them home. Working full time and tending to a litter of 8 pups leaves little time for anything else (like sleeping). Now the pups just needed a ride to Colorado, and ground transport was out of the question because of their age. With no immunity yet, they were vulnerable to a particularly deadly form of parvo being seen recently that many dogs don’t survive. Mountain Pet posted the request on PilotsNPaws, asking for volunteers to fly the pups to CO. Sam Taylor stepped up right away, offering to fly the first leg from Kansas City to western Kansas. Sam has flown over 275 dogs and makes as many flights as he can (usually 4 or 5 a month). The weather looked like it would be good, so we volunteered to help out with the leg to Colorado.

275 and counting

Sam’s an Ace – 275 and counting

Sandi met Sam early to get the pups settled in the XL crate in the back of his plane. To even get the crate in, Sam had needed to remove the back seat and passenger front seat – first class seating assured! Sandi was sad to see these little guys go, but glad that they were headed to safety and permanent homes. Sam took off and pointed the nose west.


First class is a little cramped.

Suzanne and I landed in Phillipsburg, KS and fueled up the Bonanza for the flight back. The sun warmed us, and we lazed in front of the small terminal building as we waited for Sam. It couldn’t have been a more perfect day. Soon we heard the drone get louder and Sam touched down with his tiny passengers. We transferred the furry little puppies to their next ride and said goodbye to Sam.


Boarding for Denver

The flight west to Colorado seemed to take forever – we were battling headwinds between 30 and 40 knots. Ouch. The pups were great riders and didn’t make a peep. As we neared Denver, I called Metro tower to report our position and request landing. SURPRISE – airport closed. Apparently an airplane had flipped on the runway in gusty winds, and the whole airport was shut down. New plan – head to Longmont for fuel and water for the pups and wait it out. More time for us to play with the pups and get them hydrated! It turned out to be a bit of a fiasco for Lynda, who was going to meet us, and instead Stephanie from Mountain Pet headed for Longmont. Metro opened up again, and we decided to get the airplane back home – winds were really picking up. Long story short – met Stephanie at Metro, delivered our precious cargo, and Suzanne and I headed home feeling great. As usual it was a special day, and we were missing the pups on the way home.

7 thoughts on “Planes and Puppies”

  1. Adrianne Jaski (Jonas) says:

    Sounds like a very interesting flight! Do you and Suzanne belong to the Beach Aero Club? If not, consider joining. It’s a great bunch of pilots with an active membership. Maybe we can get a few club members in the southern US to participate in Pilots and Paws?

  2. Susan Metzler says:

    So kind of you; love what you do!

  3. Vicki Francisconi says:

    You guys are amazing!!! Love seeing these stories. I am also involved in rescue and transport and know how much coordination it takes. You guys ROCK!!!

  4. Pam says:

    What a great story! I am familiar with PilotsnPaws-they are a great organization!

  5. Deana says:

    I love the “Dog Flight” story!! I have flown (with my hound dog) in all those airports. After hearing alot of animal abuse stories lately, it was so Good to read something that warms your heart, instead of breaking it. As a fellow pilot, who Loves Dogs, I created a T-shirt called “Dog Flight”
    Its on my website, http://www.lifeisflying.com
    You & Suzanne are so Wonderful to the Dogs!!

  6. JACQUELINE says:

    WOW great story !!! they are such precious cargo!!! thanks for your helping these precious babies, hope they all get great homes!

  7. memie says:

    I love dogs! I’m glad you do what you do, i hate the fact that dogs and puppies get put down after a short time :(. some times dogs are put down just days after somebody wants a dog that is just like the ones that where put down just days before! its just plain sad!!!!!!!

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