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A wing and a prayer — and a new home for Lacy

A wing and a prayer — and a new home for Lacy

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Posted by Linda Fraembs – July 30, 2011 @ 6 a.m.

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Most animals adopted from Sangamon County Animal Control ride home in their new owner’s car. But Lacy the cat left in high style on Friday: She was delivered to her new home via private plane.

Cindy Willoughby, a longtime volunteer at SCAC, shared Lacy’s story.

Lacy had been living at the shelter since the beginning of March.

“Linda Chandler-LaFever grew up with me in Auburn and is a friend of mine on Facebook,” Cindy says. Linda, who lives in Austin, Texas, had been looking at the SCAC cats Cindy was posting on Petfinder (www.petfinder.org) and fell in love with a brown tabby. That cat was adopted before Linda’s application arrived in the mail.

“We started going through other long-term cats at Sangamon County Animal Control, and they picked out Lacy. They wanted to save one who had been there a long time,” Cindy says.

Linda is unable to make long-distance drives because of a handicap, so Cindy set to work finding a way to get Lacy to her adoptive family.

“I remembered about a program called Pilots N Paws (www.pilotsnpaws.org), so I looked it up on the internet and did some research into the group,” Cindy says. “It sounded exactly like what we needed, so I enrolled and put in a request to get Lacy from Springfield to Austin.”

Pilots N Paws is a group made up of both private plane owners and people who work in the airline industry who can use their planes or industry connections, flight discounts and frequent-flyer miles to transport rescued pets. The group doesn’t coordinate or provide flights; rather, the website serves as a place where rescuers and pilots can meet to make their own arrangements.

Several people volunteered to help Lacy make it safely to her new home.

“A girl who lives around Austin posted that she would even be willing to drive to other airports within an approximate distance to help transport the cat to the new owners,” Cindy says. “I had a gentleman respond who was up at the Osh Kosh, Wis., air show this week and was willing to stop in Springfield Friday on his way back home to Texas and pick up Lacy. He is flying about an hour or so past his home to drop Lacy off with the runner, who will then deliver Lacy to Linda and her family on Friday evening.”

Cindy checked in early Friday afternoon to let us know that Lacy was safely on her way to Texas. She provided a few photos, including one of Lacy in her travel crate and one of Gary, her pilot, posing next to his plane before takeoff.

“Pilots N Paws is a great organization full of very caring people,” Cindy says. “They can use volunteers also who don’t fly to do overnight lodging for transportation animals, ground transportation if needed, etc. Go check out the group and spread the word.”

So, if you’ve got a big heart and a little time, look into it. Maybe someday you’ll help another Lacy find her forever home.

Subaru and Petmate are proud sponsors of Pilots N Paws.


Posted by Kathleen Quinn Charleston Executive Director, Pilots N Paws