High: 37° FI’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.
Low: 18° F
Conditions: Increasing clouds with dropping temps
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?