There are so many amazing volunteer programs for animals out there, but not many can say most of their business is done thousands of feet in the air!
Pilots N Paws is a national nonprofit organization that provides adoptable animals with free transportation to new forever homes or safe havens.
The organization got its start in 2008 and today boasts over 5,000general aviation pilot volunteers, and it’s still growing. This is great news considering the number of requests the organization gets for transporting animals.
One of the program’s volunteer pilots, Jeff Bennett, has personally flown over 5,000 homeless animals to new, loving homes. And we’re not just talking about cats and dogs; the program has transported snakes, pigs, eagles, and even dolphins! Pilots N Pawsbelieves animals of all kinds deserve loving homes, much like this couple who has traveled the world with their pet pig.
Many volunteer organizations can say they haveunited animals with people that want them, but Pilots N Paws is able to widen the fieldof opportunity for adoption to take place on a much larger scale.
How far would you travel to provide an animal with a forever home? Let us know in the comments!
[H/T: The Dodo]
Pilots N Paws is estimated to have flown over 100,000 animals to new homes since 2008. The organization is volunteer-only and it’s up to the pilots to decide where and when they want to fly.
Pilots schedule themselves on a web board where they choose which regions they’re willing to fly and how many miles they’re willing to put in.
Volunteer pilot, Jeff Bennett, told the Dodo, “I primarily work with one group in Alabama because they always fill my aircraft. I post it on Facebook that I’m making a transport on a particular day.”
Petmate, one of the organization’s sponsors, provides crates, safety harnesses, and other materials to make the flight as safe as possible for the animals. According to Bennett, however, the crates don’t always keep the animals sitting still.
“I’ve had two crates that were eaten by the dogs who were in them,” Bennett told the Dodo. “One kitten surprised me by escaping and sat on my shoulder.”
Any pilot working with this program will tell you the most rewarding part is knowing they’ve saved an animal from euthanasia, an abusive situation, or someother hardship in favorof a loving home or safe haven.
It’s not always just cats and dogs that get new homes from this program either.
One particularly interesting transport took place in Florida for Summer the dolphin. A baby pool was nestled into one of the planes before Summer was gently placed into the plane with her handlers. She’s now happy to be swimming in her new home, thanks to Pilots N Paws.
Bennett has plenty of experience transporting more exotic animals as well. He has worked with the Coast Guard in the past to help bring sea turtles from the Southeast to the Northeast due to dangerous temperature changes in the Atlantic Ocean.
Another pilot once transported a bear cub named Cinder. His paws were extremely burned from a wildfire that had occurred on the West Coast. The poor cub was found crawling on her arms and legs by a nearby homeowner.
Luckily, the Pilots N Paws program was able to fly the bear to a medical facility to receive treatment.
Volunteer pilots have also worked outside of the United States, assisting with transporting dogs who have been adopted by our soldiers overseas in Afghanistan. Imagine being involved in something so rewarding!
Since the FAA has given the organization the status of “humanitarian flights,” volunteer pilots are able to use portions of their flight expenses as a tax-deductible donation.
“I take a photograph of every animal I transport for the IRS,” Bennett told the Dodo.
Uniting pets with forever homes brings joy to everyone involved, and flying with such unique, precious cargo often ends up causing some hilarious situations.
“I’ve been laughed at by the tower,” Bennett explained to the Dodo. “You push the talk button andalot of times, dogs are barking.”
Pilots N Paws’Facebook page states that theirbiggest obstacle has been reaching out and letting general aviation pilots knowthey exist. Once pilots find out about the program, they’re usually more than willing to put in the flight time for such a great cause.
If you know anyone whowould be interested in flying for Pilots N Paws or would like to donate to their organization, visit their website!
What do you think of these incredible volunteer pilots? Let us know in the comments,and don’t forget toSHARE!
Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/volunteer-pilots-transport-adoptable-pets/