Flights Of Love – Pilots Donate Time To Save Dogs

Pilots Transport Pets In Need Of Homes

There is an online network of pilots, a group that transports pets that are in need of homes. The pilots are volunteers who donate their time, planes and fuel to transport these animals.

Michael F. Young, a George Mason University professor flew into Manassas in his little plane with eight dogs, taking them from shelters and bringing them to new homes.

He got his start when, shortly after his German Shepherd passed away from cancer, someone who knew he had a plane asked him to fly two abandoned German Shepherds to a family that wanted them.

Volunteers Help Comfort The Dogs During The Flight

He often has volunteers along on the flight to pat and comfort the dogs and puts cardboard and blankets down in the back so that they are comfortable. He once he flew 17 puppies at once, taking the back seats out of his plane and in September helped coordinate 40 planes rescuing 172 dogs.

Not long after he started he fell for a funny-looking, happy little dog. That night he kept thinking about the dog, went back the next day, put Molly back in the plane and flew her home, to stay.

A Better Chance Of Being Adopted

At a shelter in Alabama, a sweet purebred Collie named Lady Di with almost no hope of being adopted, got her lucky ticket out. Lady Di, her puppy and a dozen other dogs were given to pilot Jeff Bennett a volunteer with Pilots N Paws, to transport them to another city where the dogs had a better chance of being adopted.

Bennett is a retired Florida businessman with a soft spot for dogs. Since he began his rescue flights about a year ago, Lady Di brought the number of animals he has saved to 124. He has flown various animals including a potbellied pig.

Once in Tampa, Lady Di and her pup got a ride to a foster home, and volunteers are looking for a good home for her. “She was sweet but didn’t have much personality,” says Gisele Veilleux, who is keeping the dogs for now. “I don’t think she’s had that much human contact. She had no joy in her eyes. She’s getting that joy now.”

A Great Feeling

“It’s a great feeling to know that you’re saving some animals and hopefully finding good homes for them,” says Bennett

Shelters and rescue groups can connect with pilots on the Pilots N Paws web site. Co-founder Debi Boies says more than 680 pilots have flown thousands of animals all across the country.

by Shelley Mamott

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