It Takes A Village …
San Antonio’s Animal Care Services sent out a plea via Facebook … a family was in need of temporary assistance. Due to the downward economy, they had lost their home and had to move in with their son who lived in an apartment that didn’t allow pets. They loved their dogs very much and didn’t want to give them up but they had no choice. They were on a deadline … the apartment complex was allowing the dogs to stay for only a few days. The dogs had to go … and now! A temporary foster was needed until the family got back on their feet and could find a place where the dogs would be allowed. Hope, a shy six year-old golden lab mix, was immediately placed in foster in Edinburg; Hope’s parents met the temporary foster, Lynn Fischer, half-way between Edinburg and San Antonio. Knowing it was the best solution for Hope didn’t make the goodbyes any easier for her family.
The other two needed to find foster fast or they were going to be surrendered to ACS and, most likely, be euthanized. Someone eventually volunteered to foster JW, a ten year-old Chihuahua-mix, and Mitzi, a fifteen year-old rat terrier mix, but things didn’t work out; they had to get to another foster in San Angelo quickly before they were going to once again be turned over to ACS. Reni Moczygemba and Denise Pride, both pilots with Pilots N Paws, along with Dennis Baker, flew the two on to Janet’s Ark in San Angelo in early June. Dennis helped out with his first PnP transport by taking care of the dogs in the back while Reni and Denise took turns flying… Mitzi fell right asleep as soon as the wheels left the ground. JW, though, was not happy in the crate … he wanted some attention being several thousand feet above the ground. Dennis was very happy to oblige.
Once on the ground, though, JW decided he wanted to see more of the airport at San Angelo and slipped out of his leash. He led everyone on quite a chase for a ten year-old dog! Thank goodness he never got on the taxi-way or runway due to Dennis’ excellent herding skills. JW finally gave up after about thirty minutes of watching everyone chase after him all over creation.
Despite being well taken care of, the dogs missed their family very much … and vice-versa. The pilots sent airplane-shaped cookies (a fundraiser for PnP) to Janet’s Ark which JW and Mitzi got to enjoy … JW was first in line for his airplane-shaped cookie!
In early August things had turned around for the family in need; they were now moving into their own apartment that allowed pets. They were eager to get their family back to them. Denise volunteered to fly to Edinburg to pick up Hope from Lynn on Saturday and then fly the family with her on Sunday to San Angelo to pick up JW and Mitzi. Just prior to departing Edinburg with Hope in the backseat, Denise texted Hope’s dad, Roman, to let him know she was taking off from the airport. “I’m on my way”, texted Roman in reply. Denise quickly texted back that she wouldn’t be there for at least another ninety minutes. “I know, I’ll wait” replied Roman; he was anxious to see his Hope once again. Hope, though, was unsure what was going on and would quickly hide every time Denise turned around trying to take her picture in the airplane.
She quickly came out of her shell, though, squealing in delight when she saw Daddy waiting for her at the airport!
Hope’s mom, Leann, was working that day so Roman took Hope straight to her workplace to see Mom
The following day Leann and Roman flew with Denise to San Angelo to pick up Mitzi and JW from Janet with Janet’s Ark. Despite never being in a small airplane before, Leann and Roman flew like champs. The scene from the day before was once again repeated with Mitzi and JW being very excited to see their parents once again … and with Leann and Roman being moved beyond tears at seeing their beloved pets (all rescued from shelters) once again. JW didn’t try to run away this time around staying as close as he could to Leann!
All too often in flying with Pilots N Paws, we hear of stories where families quickly surrender – or worse, abandon – their beloved pets during tough times. It was such a joy for all to be involved in a situation where the family fought hard to keep their pets against all odds. Kudos to Roman and Leann Zuniga … you two are an inspiration to us all!
Written by Denise Pride