Adventures with Pilots N Paws

I took a plane right last weekend and was able to deliver a dog to her forever home. By most standards this was a completely amazing weekend but even more remarkable was that these two events went hand in hand. Abena is a purebred 1.5 year old Ridgeback that was surrendered to the North Central Animal Shelter because her owner could not manage her. A 1.5 year old Ridgeback, is really challenging, even for an experienced owner. They are young, energetic, still have puppy energy and are super strong. If they aren’t trained, it can turn into a nightmare. Thankfully, we were able to pull her from the shelter, have her spayed and ready to adopt. Soon after, along came a wonderful adopter in San Jose that was perfect and every way and passed our screening and home check process with flying colors. The only problem was how to get her to San Jose. This is where Pilot John, and Pilots N Paws came in. Guys, I have to tell you how amazing these people are and I have to say it again and again. These people are some of the most giving people ever. They are pilots, that donate their own time, planes and fuel to fly rescue dogs around. This is super, super amazing. It’s hard sometimes to find someone to drive a dog 10 miles in rush hour traffic and these pilots fly dogs hundreds of miles at their cost. 

Truthfully, I did not expect to be going on this journey. I expected to drop off Abena at the airplane hanger in Long Beach at send her on her way. When I was meeting Pilot John and filling out all of the paperwork I mentioned that I would love to come along sometime for a journey and he kindly invited me to tag along that day! Thankfully my bouncing and shrieking didn’t scare Pilot John and make him change his mind. I do not consider myself a “good” flyer” but I’m not a bad one either. For whatever reason, being in a small plane and being able to see what was going on made me feel very secure and safe. Abena was a good girl for the first 3/4 of the two hour flight. Then, towards the end she decided that she was sick of it and wanted to howl, loudly. I did what I could to comfort her, but she decided to have a bigger fit and actually slap my hand away. At that moment I figured out why Pilot John was so particular about the type of harness. It kept her (and us) secure. I’m happy to have that experience because I can now speak to it for other Pilots N Paws flights because I’ve seen how crucial it is. Other than the Ridgeback temper tantrum, the rest of the flight was uneventful. 

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Pilot John’s Plane in the background (Photo by Pilot John)

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Ready to go! (Photo by Pilot John)

Abena (now Khayla) and her new mom seemed to bond right away. She was right there waiting for her and I’ve been loving getting “pupdates” over the past couple of days. On the way home, since I was not distracted with making sure a dog was okay and happy, I was really able to focus on the plane ride and watching Pilot John do this thing. It really is a very cool experience and I loved listening to all of the pilot “lingo” and really taking in what a gorgeous state we live in. I really have a newfound respect for air traffic controllers as well and how quick thinking and organized they have to be. As a bonus, on the way back to Long Beach, I was able to snap this really neat picture of the Burbank Airport and told Pilot John that any time he needs a dog wrangler on a trip, I’m happy to help.

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Pilot John, Myself, Abena and her new Mom (Photo by Pilot John)

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Burbank Airport From 8000 Feet

 

If you would like to read more about Ridgebacks and Friends Rescue (the rescue that I co-founded in 2014 here is our website. For those interested in Pilots N Paws, feel free to read Pilot John’s travel log here and more about Pilots N Paws here. 

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