Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fly the Friendly Skies

High: 37° F
Low: 18° F
Conditions: Increasing clouds with dropping temps

I’m the daughter of a private pilot. As a young child, though, I was terrified of my father's plane. I was an impressionable kind of kid (still am, probably), and when I overheard my grandfather retelling a story of two pilots who crashed into the side of a mountain, I was convinced the same fate awaited me. Did it matter that we lived in Iowa—thousands of miles away from any such natural feature? Absolutely not.

As I grew older, I came to understand the safety of this nifty little vehicle and its very steady pilot. And, in turn, I also learned to love a life in the air. It was a thrill to fly friends to Chicago for pizza on my birthday or to play around in the clouds on a hot summer afternoon. And to this day, I am the only holiday traveler I know of who grows absolutely giddy at the prospect of a busy day traversing major airports.

I was particularly excited, then, why my dad sent me the following story about members of the Airplane Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) who are offering up their planes and flight hours to help out dogs in need.

The story originally ran in AOPA’s newsletter, and it details a new partnership between two really wonderful organizations: Pilots N Paws and Animal Rescue Flights (ARF). This new relationship is a great example of mutually beneficial ideas: homeless dogs get first-class transportation to their new homes; private pilots get a great excuse to log the mandatory flying hours they must undergo each year to maintain their licenses.

Dogs are provided with protective earphones to prevent auditory damage and are usually secured in crates so that they don't wander around or become a projectile in the air. Even with these precautions, not all of them seem like enthusiastic participants in the program:

We've learned enough about stress and calming signals in dog school to know these little guys are less than elated. And based on the one disasterous adventure Ari and I had on a simple ocean ferry, I doubt the caninaturalist will try this mode of transportation anytime soon. Still, we're awful glad to hear this new program exists and that dogs in need are meeting their new familes that much quicker. A freaky mode of transportation seems like a small price to pay for that kind of new life. And think of all the stories these little ones will have to share at the dog park!

We just have one question, though. What do they get to do with their frequent flyer miles?


Khyra The Siberian Husky said...


What a khool story AND furry khool fakhts about Ari's mom!

PeeEssWoo: Mom is smiling something about a khlub and mile in the air - what I have to put up with!

Gus, Louie and Callie said...

That is so cool. I guess we are thinking alike. To bad mom didn't have some of that nifty head gear for Callie..

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

Dmitri said...

Very nice. Better them than the execs from Ford, GM and Chrysler on their way to beg for more in Washington.

with love, Madison said...

I love to hear about these kinds of programs. What a great match of needs with NEEDS ... those pooches will forget the drama of their flight quickly when they find themselves in loving forever homes!

Marigold said...

Obviously they are using their frequent flyer miles to ship in Peanuts. That's what I would do anyway.

Kess And Her Mama said...

Hey, Snoopy is a pilot too? Way to go Snoopy...another cool example of beagle power! Thanks for sharing this great story with us. It is great to know that with a little out of the box thinking, both humans and dogs can help each out!

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Oh, what a great story. The doggies may not be happy while they're in the plane, but I'll bet they're thrilled with their new homes. I love the little doggy earphones!

Eve said...

That is fantastic Kathryn. I could never imagine having to send a puppy or dog in the underbelly of an aircraft. Someone really was thinking good thoughts when they came up with this plan!

umekotyan said...

Good evening Ari.
Congratulations on the thanks side.
Meeting a lot of friends who are who become it has the time of happiness. This extends with blog with the favor of WWW that ties the world.
As for wisdom, the thing that he alone cannot solve is polished to vision again by the friend.
I come round with blog and wish to express my gratitude to a wonderful friend for happiness that can meet. :D

Ume tyan of Japan in interstice of difficult Shintoism and Buddhism for a moment. <(^_・)ゝ

from loved ume tyan

Steve, Kat, & Wilbur said...

That's very cool. When Mom took us flying, we didn't get any special headphones to wear. Maybe because we just were up for a few minutes. She made us wear these silly white scarves instead and all the people at the airport pancake breakfast said we were so cute and wanted to give us pancakes and Mom said no. Those homeless doggies wouldn't have any fun with her!

Steve and Kat

The Daily Echo said...

That's a very cool story. I have to admit - Snoopy's one of my heroes.

Lorenza said...

That is a great program!
Sure is nice to do that for the doggies who need to go to their forever homes!
Kisses and hugs

Tracey and Huffle said...

They can buy some ham!

Huffle Mawson, Honorary Husky and Explorer Cat

YD said...

This is so wonderful! I am so glad that the pilots and plane owners are doing this.
I am not sure how Samantha & June would handle flying.

The Army of Four said...

That's really cool. I thought at first maybe Snoopy was the pilot. He's really quite the guy!
Play bows,