The acts of rescuing, sheltering and adoption are noble causes for those who help in the protection of animals who need care to maintain their livelihoods. Charitable initiatives are growing up around the country, which are introducing new methods for volunteers to become actively involved. One such innovative service is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization — aptly named Pilots N Paws®.
Flights of Freedom
The main goal of Pilots N Paws is to provide an environment in which volunteers can come together and arrange and schedule rescue flights, overnight foster care, shelter and other related-rescue activities.
The guidelines for pilots to join PNP are fairly straightforward. As a licensed pilot one needs only to provide their airport ID, and whether or not they would ‘temp foster’ animals for short periods of time prior to finding them ‘forever homes.’
The organization is totally self-run, where each individual pilot is in charge of his or her own scheduling. This allows them to have total control over who they reply to and the choice of days, times, number of animals, distance and weather conditions they will accept for transporting.
The registration process and forum to post queries is found here.
John & Piper
Pilot John Doig and his trusty co-pilot pitbull Piper recently became volunteer “paw-charter” airmen for PNP. As a resident of Beaufort, SC. which is located halfway between Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA, Doig realized there was a void in geographic coverage.
“I noticed that most of the local flight requests were coming out of Atlanta, Jacksonville, Charleston, Charlotte, but nothing from Beaufort or Savannah, which made me wonder if maybe [residents in those locales] didn’t know about the service.”
In interviewing Doig for this blog, he indicated how important it was to get the word out so these towns could become active in the program.
“The Lowcountry and Savannah have their hands full with rescues . . . there are many good fosters and shelters that need the help . . . [and opening up Beaufort and Savannah] means pups and kitties don’t have to be geographically restricted,” noted Doig.
"The flights don't necessarily have to be non stop or single pilot either, some dogs go from California to South Carolina with 3 or 4 legs with different pilots.”
One of Doig’s bitter-sweet success stories involved transported a husky abandoned in the mountains of North Carolina to Kentucky — where he then collaborated in tag-team fashion with another pilot who completed the canine’s journey to his ‘forever home’ in Chicago. The husky will now reside with Jaime Miceli in honor of her son Ian who recently passed away from an incurable neurological disease. According to Doig, Ian’s mom knew her son always wanted a husky so this rescue was a way to immortalize her son's memory.
While there is lot of debate pertaining to non-kill versus kill shelters, Doig made an important distinction that sometimes gives the latter a bad name.
“No ‘kill shelter’ wants to kill an animal,” states Doig emphatically.
“The ones that know about us — use us extensively. The ones that don't know about us would use us, if they knew this service was a viable option for rescue animals.”
Adopt, don’t shop . . .
While PNP is definitely a needed service to help rescue animals, Doig does want folks to know: “There wouldn't be such a need for us if people followed the 'adopt don't shop' philosophy."
“Also, if people didn't take such a negative stance on certain breeds, many more sweet dogs wouldn't have homes. My goal is to deliver adopted pets to forever homes, not just from shelter to shelter,” added Doig.
Bravo Jon & Piper! Keep up the good work! You're certainly doing your job in making those friendly skies friendlier, with each new rescue transport.
Primary Source: Pilots N Paws®