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Pilots N Paws

Jet & Levi Saved—Hugh’s First Mission

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Pilots N Paws 1st Mission

Hugh flies Jet (left) and Levi (right) from Miltion, FL to Kissimmee, FL

It was my first mission for Pilots N Paws. I stumbled upon this wonderful organization through a Google search for “Rewarding ways to build hours.” I found Pilots N Paws. I was excited just looking at all the opportunities to combine my love for aviation and animals. My mother has one rule when I go flying “Stay in the state of Florida.” So I was searching for rescues within Florida. I came across a rescue that involved two dogs. Both of them were Weimaraners. I also discovered that this request was made by Big Dog Ranch Rescue, a shelter that one of my best friends had adopted their Weimaraner, Bob, from. This was such a wonderful opportunity because it stretched my mother’s boundaries from one corner of the state to the other. I was extremely excited the night before and could barely sleep.

In the morning, I had a scheduled departure time of 7:30 AM. I got to the airport around 7 AM and was ready to go. We departed on time and received our IFR clearance in the air. My instructor, Ismmar, and I were on our way for my first mission. We were given re-routes about 4 times along the way. The weather in Milton, Florida was at a low ceiling of about 700 agl and winds were calm. This made for an exciting RNAV (GPS) RWY 36 approach. The flight time was 3 hours and 30 minutes. Once we landed we taxied to a small FBO where the two Weimaraners were awaiting us. They were happy to be walked around and especially happy to both be given a full bowl of fresh water. They both jumped right into their seats in the plane. Jet had the baggage compartment and Levi got the back seats.

Jet and Levi

Jet and Levi

We took off and picked up out IFR clearance to Kissimmee. Meanwhile, I look back and see Jet climbing from the baggage compartment into the two rear seats. We were on are way to Kissimmee, FL. We hit some weather about half way through the flight. Some mild turbulence and rain. Jet and Levi didn’t mind. They were busy looking out the window the whole flight. When we began our decent into Kissimmee Levi poked his head into the cockpit. He was staring out the front window. He put his head on my shoulder for a period of time. That is when the impact really hit me of what I was doing. I realized that I was saving these dog’s lives. They were scheduled to be put down less than twelve hours if Pilots N Paws wasn’t there to save them. We landed and taxied to the FBO. I walked Jet and Levi into the FBO and the woman at the front desk asked me if Jet and Levi were mine. I told her no and explained Pilots N Paws to her. She was amazed at what we were doing. She smiled and you could tell that she was touched.

Lifeline Dog Rescue arrived and the looks on their faces were priceless. They were so happy to see their newest members of the Lifeline family. They immediately came up and gave me a huge hug and thanked me for what I had just done. I was so happy to know that Jet and Levi were going to a new safe home. Later, I looked on Lifeline’s Facebook page and saw some comments on a photo of me with Jet and Levi. Some of them read,” What a great kid….wow 14 and he flys planes. Way to go Huey…we thank you so much,” “Thank you, Hugh!!! You rock, dude….and bunches of doggie kisses to you, too.” “Great job! I see amazing adventures ahead for Hugh!”, and many, many more. I truly loved this experience and am really excited to complete many more missions!

Hugh J. O’Neil

Student Pilot, 14 years old

29 thoughts on “Jet & Levi Saved—Hugh’s First Mission”

  1. sandy says:

    You are my hero of day and I hope many days in your life!!!! You go guy!!!!!

  2. Audrey says:

    With kids like this and the families that raise them, there is hope for this country!

  3. Donna says:

    I’m in tears!!! What a beautiful story!! You made my day/week/month with your story! Have been in rescue a long time….and I believe the key to future success is going to be getting people like YOU involved, and wanting to help! This is just awesome! THANK YOU, HUGH!!!!!!

  4. Elsa says:

    You have the biggest heart to give to those who can’t ask for help. You’ve made a great model for all to follow suit and not necessarily for flying alone but to take action and making a difference in anyone’s lives specially to those who can’t speak for themselves. Great job kid! You’ll do wonders in life that’s for sure!

  5. Jody Reed says:

    Thank you your story is truly a great one, those and many more animals will be so grateful to you for many years..keep up the good work.

  6. Cissy says:

    My blue boy Weim is named Jet. Needless to say I’m still grinning just thinking about the promise of the man Hugh is destined to become. Kudos to you O’Neil family!!

  7. lenora says:

    Thank you for sharing! My 6 year-old’s dream is to fly and i cannot wait to share your story with him. Would you be willing to tell us the steps you took to become a pilot at as a teen?

    Thank you

  8. Maryann says:

    What a great thing to do with your time and talent! Congrats on being one of the Good Guys!

  9. jenna says:

    I have always been an animal loverand I am so glad that there are people out there like you you’re making a huge difference now that I am a mother of a two year old with autism I’ve been looking into finding him a dog or a poppy to be a part of our family I know in many ways that an animal can talk to life by kid and make the quality of life so much better I’m very hesitant as to where I go orwhat kind of puppy I would bring home but thank you for helping all lives….

  10. Denny Guinta says:

    Hugh You are an awsome young man!
    God Bless you as you continue the journey of life.
    Keep up the good job of saving these precious lives!

  11. Meg says:

    THANK YOU! What an inspiration you are to other young people out there who never thought that they could make a difference! AMAZING!

  12. Gabriela says:

    Well done, kid! Your mom must be proud of you! And you can be proud of yourself…Hope you don’t stop here…Here’s to many more! :)

  13. Tina says:

    A young man I would be honored to call a friend and whose mother must be an incredible lady to have raised him to be this wonderful.

  14. Kat Harrington says:

    Get with Jeff Bennett (if you need to email me at the email address listed…put Rescue i subject line so you are not spammed…and I will give you his info)who is also a PnP Pilot. He will help you with some of the paperwork aspects.

    Thank You! And hopefully one day we shall meet!
    Kat & her ‘V’ Mafia
    ~Celebrating 26 Years as an Animal Rescue Foster Mom!~

  15. Lorayne says:

    Thank you so much Hugh for helping animals in need. It’s wonderful seeing a young person doing something so positive. :)

  16. Laurie says:

    Couldn’t possibly be more touched by a story. Hugh, you tell your mom that a New York mom said she is raising a fantastic young man!!! May all the goodness you do with Pilots N Paws and rescue be returned to you tenfold……

  17. Dave Sarver says:

    the LAST sentence BLEW ME AWAY! Totally amazing!

  18. Alice says:

    What a wonderful thing you’re doing for this great organization! You’re truly a hero in my eyes and the grateful eyes of those dogs and all future animals you transport.

  19. Kelly says:

    I have a rescue Weimaraner and love him to pieces. Thank you for giving his breed another chance with these two adorable little fellas. You did a great thing and this shows how wonderful a job your parents are doing by allowing you to use your skills for good in the world…..at FOURTEEN! Way to go Hugh.

  20. Muriel says:

    Well done Hugh! :) I had a lump in my throat when Levi put his head on your shoulder – typical Weimaraner! I currently have my third rescued Weimaraner. Thank you for helping save those two.

  21. Denisa Thomason says:

    I was the woman at the FBO and I was touched! I have read the Pilots N Paws book and I volunteer with a rescue group that has used them also. I love the fact that there are people like you in the world. Those animals need more advocates now than ever before. Great job!

  22. Freida says:

    Hugh you are an awesome young man. Your mother must be very proud. Keep up the good work you are doing.

  23. Howard says:

    You the man!

  24. Roxann Lucas says:

    Way to go Hugh! Thank you, and thanks to your patents. You have a BEAUTIFUL heart….keep following it!

  25. Barb Cosgrove says:

    You are something Hugh! And a great ambassador for Pilots N Paws.

  26. julie says:

    Great Job Hugh Thank you and I know if Jet and Levi could talk they would say thank you toooo!

  27. Deb says:

    I am an advocate for all animals !! Pilots and Paws is an amazing Rescue, which have saved countless dogs and cats!! Through their generous hearts of giving! There is nothing more rewarding as what you have just found out….than helping save an animals life!! We are their voices! You have just done yourself proud as well as your mom and all of us, who just read this loving caring story! Not only did these 2 dogs get to live from what you have done, but many others will follow your selfless footsteps! You are the biggest winner of all….for you have just given yourself the biggest gift of all….Giving of yourself!! Your a good young man, keep up the good work of giving of yourself!! Wishing the very best for you!! <3 :)

  28. Cathy says:

    Awesome Job!!!! Thanks for saving these weims!!!!

  29. We are the Rescue that Hugh flew Levi and Jet to us and yes we were amazed and truly thankful to Hugh for stepping up to get both of our precious cargo to us. Both Jet and Levi loved the flight in fact they tried to get back into the plane at one stage. Hugh did a marvelous thing for us and thanks to him Jet and Levi will soon have their second chance at a new life where they can be loved and cherished. We along with several other are so proud of him and he deserves all the recognition and exposure we have relayed. Thank you so much Hugh we are so looking forward to another mission with you we are certain you will go onto more great things you are an inspiration to all young teenagers out there. We will keep you updated on Levi and Jet who I know you will always remember as your first mission to saving priceless lives. Until next time thank you so much Hugh we love you xxx Denise & Chris Lifeline Dog Rescue

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