Pups on Planes: Non-profit Group Transports Dogs by Air
Posted: Jul 30, 2014 3:42 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 31, 2014 11:13 AM EDT
By Jacob Kittilstad – email
link to original story
16 floppy ears frame short-snouted faces tipped with 8 wet noses.
The pups, driven down from Springhill, Louisiana are pre-flight in Monroe.
That includes young Alex, with a shiny black coat, a temporary collar, and no where to call home.
They are German Shepherd/Lab mixes,” Patricia Powell of Webster Human Association, Inc. said. “There were three litters.”
“Because there’s so many in our Parish that we’re running out of places to house them and to place them,” she said. “We’ve been in operation since 2002 and this is probably our slowest year of placement, animal placement.”
So because adoptions aren’t ‘taking-off’, guess who is?
“I’ve probably made 20 trips in the last year.” said Jeff Wall, a volunteer pilot.
Wall is a volunteer with “Pilots and Paws” handling the leg between Monroe and Bay Minnett, Alabama.
He says the mission of the program, connecting 1,800 pilots nationwide is figuring out how to get dogs adopted, especially from kill-shelters.
“The rescue organization will put a high priority on moving those dogs out,” he said. “I’ve had a number of coordinators tell me point-blank that it you had not flown these dogs they would be killed. They would be dead.”
Although these flights can get pretty lound – maybe similar to being in the back of a pickup truck going full speed. The volunteers say air sickness isn’t that common among the dogs although it does happen sometimes.
“Good passengers usually settle down right when we take off,” said Jeremy Craven, a volunteer pilot.
“Big friend of dogs so that’s one motivation but it’s also an excuse to fly.”
Each pilot says they struggle with the same feelings toward little critters, like Alex.
“I have to resist the temptation to bring the little ones home with us each time,” Craven said.
In all, that litter traveled about 900 miles to get to their final stop in the Tampa-metro area. While they haven’t been officially adopted yet, they’re scheduled to be spayed and neutered at at high-turnover shelter and set for release in the next few weeks.
Subaru and Petmate are proud sponsors of Pilots N Paws.
Posted by Kathleen Quinn Charleston Executive Director, Pilots N Paws