Pilots Help Give Dogs New Lease on Life
Pilot Jeff Bennett with two rescue dogs. (ZT Pet News Photo Courtesy of Jeff Bennett.)
Mon, Jan 11 By Kris O'Donnell http://www.pilotsnpaws.org/
“Pilot Jeff Bennett loves to fly all over the state of Florida from his home base in the Florida Keys. But he's not flying merely for recreation. On most days, he's a pilot with a purpose.
"This was probably the best group of puppies I've ever taken. We loaded them up and didn't hear virtually anything from them," Bennett said. "There were no messes in the crates, they slept the whole way. It was a great trip."
On this particular day, Bennett picked up 19 puppies and one adult dog in Tallahassee and flew them to a rescue group in Lakeland, Florida. It's just a typical day for the pilots who volunteer their time with the organization, Pilots N Paws.
"This gives me a great excuse to be in the air and hopefully I'm doing some good at the same time," Bennett said.
Founded in February 2008, the goal of Pilots N Paws is to deliver dogs in kill shelters to rescue organizations and other shelters across the country.
"When you see the life of an animal that's destined to be euthanized taken to a place where they have their forever home, with loving hands and kind hearts, there's nothing more rewarding than that," co-founder Debi Boies said.
Boies says the group needs pilots from the southeast in particular.
"Most requests come from those areas and that's where we have the least amount of pilot volunteers," she said.
The pilots are not compensated. They donate all their time and resources.
"The appreciation they show for these pilots is almost beyond words," Boies said. "It's kind of a mutual admiration society. The pilots admire the rescue groups and the rescue groups think the pilots are just angels."
Since its inception, Boies estimates Pilots N Paws has helped thousands of animals escape euthanasia. Although most of the rescues involve dogs, some pilots like Jeff Bennett have also transported cats, snakes, rats, rabbits, pigs, and the occasional chicken. But whether he's helping dogs or cats, Bennett says he always tries to get a simple message across.
"I've been trying to emphasize spaying and neutering your animals," Bennett said.
And Boies says her ultimate goal is that Pilots N Paws will no longer be needed.
"That's because people will have become responsible pet owners by spaying and neutering their animals and we won't have to worry about the overcrowding and euthanasia rates that we have right now," Boies said.
For more information about Pilots N Paws, log onto their website at pilotsnpaws.org.
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http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=5964522n 2.42 minute video from CBS about the dogs being saved.
BEHIND THE SCENES ANIMAL TRANSPORTERS:
“When all that stands between death and freedom is a ride.”
“What do you do when "puppy love" is long distance? What happens when the feline you fancy is far, far away? Can the blind kitty, Justice, make the trip from Florida to Utah? Is it possible for a three-legged rabbit to "bunny hop" his way across three states? What happens when four geese need to "fly" from Utah to Kansas? Did "Elvis" recently spend the night in Las Vegas? (Rumor has it that he really is "nothing but a hound dog.")
People in New York want to adopt dogs from the Navajo Nation. People in the United States want to save the animals caught in the war zone of the Middle East. Small rescue groups in rural areas want to move their animals to areas with larger populations. More and more animals of all types are traveling to new homes via all types of transportation.
Furry and feathered friends as passengers in private vehicles, business vehicles, 18-wheelers, RVs, and private and commercial aircraft have become more the norm than the exception.”
“The stay on death row for millions of innocent homeless animals can be very short (sometimes as little as 72 hours). Large dogs in the southern state’s shelters are generally doomed. Thanks to volunteer transports, some animals get the chance to survive if pulled from the shelter and taken to foster homes in other states.
If you are interested in the human-animal bond, Bonnie Silva’s “Fifteen Legs” (Riverbank Press) reveals major issues and introduces you to a fragile yet committed railway for life. Silva’s slogan for this book is, “When all that stands between death and freedom is a ride.””
They even have truck drivers who volunteer to transport the dogs to their foster homes in the cabins of their semis. That’s got to be so great on a long haul.
"It really is. The trucking industry, the companies and the general public too, all they see is this big 70-foot monster. They don’t see the human being behind the wheel and realize that that human being is a human being, has a family. We're hoping Operation Roger shows we have hearts too. The biggest comment made by our drivers has been that they feel like they’re giving back to the community, which they can’t do it at home, because they’re not there." See: http://www.operationroger.rescuegroups.org/
So have you thought about transporting a homeless pet in your RV?
If you want to help transport animals:
"Volunteers are seldom paid; not because they are worthless. But because they are PRICELESS!"
'Women Who Are Changing the World' spotlights Petfinder co-founder.
Betsy Saul is officially a "Woman Who is Changing the World." (Photo: Woman's Day)
Woman's Day magazine recently scoured the United States looking for "Women Who Are Changing the World." What they found is a collection of 50 brilliant, established and passionate women who are doing just that.
Imagine our Petfinder pride when our co-founder, Betsy Saul, joined the ranks of the other selected women, including Michelle Obama, Bette Midler and Oprah. (Read the whole list here.)
Betsy Saul (41, Chapel Hill, NC)
Changing the World By Finding Every Pet a Home“As the founder of Petfinder.com, Saul has helped millions of people adopt animals across the United States, Canada and Mexico. The website, the virtual home to more than 300,000 pets of all kinds, is a searchable database seeking to connect animals that need homes with loving caretakers, decreasing the need to euthanize adoptable pets. Saul founded the site with her husband in 1996 as a New Year’s resolution to improve animal welfare. Petfinder.com”
Still got some jobs done, even though it is a rainy day.