Dog is My Copilot: Rescue Tales of Flying Dogs, Second Chances, and the Hero Who Might Live Next Door, by Patrick Regan (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 136 pages, 2012, $16.99)
Behind Every Flight is a Story (at least 25 wagging dog ‘tails’ here!)
Question: What is more endearing than a dog’s head on your shoulder as you drive home?
Answer: A dog’s head on your shoulder as you pilot your plane to the dog’s new home and new life!
Dog is My Copilot is the novel (new) idea of a marriage of pilots who love to fly and dogs who need transportation to new homes – and the countless people who bring them together.
An idea conceived almost by accident in 2007, the organization Pilots N Paws (www.pilotsnpaws.org) has grown exponentially to transport dogs and other needy animals mostly from the South and Southeast, places of high density homeless pups, to the MidWest and Northeast, where dogs are dearly wanted.
Pilots N Paws is a 501(c)(3) charity so the pilots are true volunteers of their time, fuel, and planes. Currently more than 2,000 pilots have registered to save dog-lives, flying short hops of a hundred miles to longer flights of more than two thousand miles with some requiring up to 10 legs, including automobile shuttles: Pennsylvania to Arizona was a single long in-air transport flight while, in 2010, seven legs fanned out in all directions from 12 rescues and shelters near New Orleans to 15 receiving organizations mobilized all over the country to offer new homes and get the dogs there in record time.
Each type of flight, short or long, is possible: each is a success, thanks to the numerous people and pilots with love in their hearts for these pupsters.
One plane sports a flier in a window noting this plane has saved 157 canine lives from Chihuahuas to Golden Retrievers. Another pilot sticks a dog decal on his plane for every dog passenger, much like the pilots in World War 2 did for every Zero shot down.
Stunning before and after photos that grab your heart depict a dog looking out a plane window, dogs in flight in two-seaters and in the cockpit, two retired military working dogs going to their new lives and new homes, and a dog in a convertible on the ground gazing up longingly at the sky toward a plane in flight.
Each pilot in the air and the myriads of dog people working on the ground are truly “angels in the sky” for these very luck and very deserving dogs.