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Pilots N Paws

16 Puppies, 1200nm, 20 hours

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From Huey O’Neil: At eight o’clock eastern standard time, the wheels of six two four one bravo left Lantana Airport’s runway three three with one mission on its itinerary, to save sixteen dogs and puppies. That moment was the beginning of a twenty-hour journey that would lead Daniel Diamond, my instructor, and me on a journey that will never be forgotten.

Dan & Huey on their first leg

Dan & Huey on their first leg

First Fuel Stop

First Fuel Stop

Our first stop was Alma, GA (KAMG). After about two and a half hours, we landed at Alma. We swiftly refueled and departed for Fulton County (KFTY). After landing at Fulton County, we made our way to meet our first passenger, Bond. Bond cheerfully hopped into the two rear seats and made himself at home. He was unaware that at our next stop we would be picking up ten more puppies and dogs, and that his spacious area to relax would soon be constrained to just one seat. En route to Jasper, AL, we were surfing an overcast layer of clouds. Bond seemed to enjoy looking out of the window during this leg.

& Bond at Fulton County Airport

& Bond at Fulton County Airport

Dan & Bond enroute to Jasper, AL

Dan & Bond enroute to Jasper, AL

Cloud Surfing

Cloud Surfing

A short hour and nine minutes later, we touched down at Jasper. Bond jumped out to do his ‘business,’ and stood by politely as we loaded up 10 more puppies and dogs. It took some time as we rearranged all of the cages in an attempt to ergonomically fit it all with space for our next flight’s travelers. These passengers consisted of: six puppies, one Rottweiler, one Dachshund, one Chihuahua, and the Dachshund and Chihuahua’s two puppies. The plane was loaded down and after topping off we were off to our next stop of Bainbridge, GA to pick up more puppies. ATC gave us direct destination soon after takeoff. We encountered some weather as we crossed state lines back into Georgia, however, out flight path put us “in the only gap within 75 miles,” according to the controller. We combated moderate turbulence, however, all of the dogs didn’t appear to mind. Bainbridge’s weather was a mildly low ceiling with light winds. We elected to do the ILS approach as a precaution. After landing, we taxied to our waiting puppies.

Loaded up just prior to departure

Loaded up just prior to departure

Approach into Bainbridge, GA

Approach into Bainbridge, GA

The definition of challenging is elevated to a new level when you are attempting to fit five dogs and puppies into an already full plane. I sat in the back for this leg, as we would have to drop one puppy off the itinerary if I hadn’t. This meant Bond got the front seat, and one of the puppies got to sit (in a cage) by the rudder pedals. It was an intriguing experience with all of the puppies to watch in the back. We had one on top of the cage next to me, one on top of the cage behind me, and one on my lap. This stop’s passengers consisted of: one pit bull puppy, one weimaraner puppy, two lab-retriever mix puppies, and Red, another dog.

Sunset enroute to Tampa

Sunset enroute to Tampa

Puppies playing around in cockpit after landing

Puppies playing around in cockpit after landing


Puppy gazing out cockpit window

Puppy gazing out cockpit window

Throughout the flight all of the puppies were playing around in their lively spirits. That opened my eyes to how bright their future will be because of what the people on the ground are doing. They are finding forever homes for these dogs to be with families for the rest of their lives. Before I knew it were on approach to Tampa Executive Airport. All of the dogs’ fosters, families, rescues were waiting there to pick up their special dog(s). We pulled up and began the process of matching owner with dog. It was enjoyable to see that they were leaving in good hands. We had some extra time with some of the Bainbridge puppies as we had arrived ahead of schedule. They had a lot of fun playing with each other in the cockpit. The twenty hours that we spent on this spectacular mission was definitely rewarding and a marvelous occasion.

Subaru and Petmate are Proud Partners of PNP!

23 thoughts on “16 Puppies, 1200nm, 20 hours”

  1. Marti Jeffers says:

    You guys ROCK! Can’t thank you enough for the work you do to save lives.

  2. Janet says:

    What an awesome story of a big, long rescue flight. Some lucky dogs and pups have a better future, Thank you Dan and Huey for doing this, and giving up your time and talent to help some 4-leggers

  3. Dee Dee says:

    Vey well planned mission..lots of bang for the buck, as my buddy JB would say! Enjoyed reading and thank all the Pilots for their efforts and contributions.

  4. Shannon says:

    Awesome journey.these fury friends will have safe lives now. You are Herod. Thank you.

  5. Elissa says:

    I love what you do and hope you know how very much many people admire you for doing it.

    Thank you!

  6. celine dussault says:

    What a wonderful mission you accomplished! Love the photos, particularly the first 4 ones showing pilots and a lovely passenger and the last one, the puppy at the cockpit window. That last one is so adorable it should be a poster for Pilots and Paws. I would buy it to support the next mission!!!
    Love you guys!!!

  7. This is so AMAZING!!! I have put 2 rescues on planes to Colorado for Mountain Pet Rescue. I hope everybody takes time to read this story/adventure of a New Beginning for many furbabies, and the kind, giving and caring hearts that go into Rescue. There are many aspects and flying them babies is just amazing! Thank you for all that you do.
    May God Bless each one of you and may the donations pour in to cover expenses so more pilots will be able to fly for Pilots N Paws!!! You guys ROCK!!

  8. Michelle Scroggin says:

    God bless you and your organization!

  9. linda says:

    Our thanks to you, without you they would not be getting their new lives. Blessings of safe travels to you.

  10. Lynne Pryde says:

    What a wonderful story and inspiring ending. You guys at PNP’s and the rescues are doing a wonderful job to get these dogs and puppies to safety and new forever homes. Thanks for all you do for our furbabies!!!

  11. Ann Chambers says:

    SIXTEEN!!! What a wonderful story and pictures. So proud of Huey and Dan for this incredible journey to freedom for these precious dogs. Thank you for saving these babies and may all of your flights be safe. Bless you!

  12. Kathy says:

    AWESOME!!! Thanks, guys!!

  13. Anne Lessl says:

    This is unbelieveable how dedicated these two individuals are to relocate all these dogs. Talk about a full flight. Southwest has nothing on you two. You obviously are dog lovers.
    Thank you for your work. Now I need to find a flight for a mini schnauzer in NC to Tampa.

  14. Tera says:

    Awesome pilots! Thanks fir your efforts, you have your angel wings!

  15. Roxiene Adams-Shada says:

    Love you guys

  16. k putnam says:

    Thank you so very much!

  17. martha says:

    awesome job! Thank you!

  18. Maryanne says:

    I absolutely love this story! And I think it is wonderful that Huey is already, at his age, contributing so much to animal welfare.

    Thank you both!

    Maryanne Sea

  19. Carol Ward says:

    Such a beautiful story. I live in Tampa. So happy to hear this. Thank you guys so so much.

  20. pamlefcourt says:

    Oh how sweet! What a wonderful story. And now they’re to begin to have a wonderful life with their furever families. I will be wanting to rescue another wire fox terrier from Midwest wire fox terrier rescue when it’s time for my 14 yr old Ralphie to visit his cousins in heaven. I love my Ralphie – I think he rescued me!

  21. Mark Kozak says:

    GREAT JOB !!!!!!!!!

  22. Ardie Phillips says:


  23. dilia says:

    beautiful story.I will like to go next time to help

Comments are closed.