Although our favorite furry friends can be cute and docile most of their lives, dogs are fiercely loyal and protective of their families. As pack animals, they won’t hesitate to defend their loved ones in case of an intruder.
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In many parts of America, there are more dogs in shelters than there are people to adopt them. More often than not, these dogs end up being put down. To help these otherwise hopeless pooches, one organization is enlisting the help of airline pilots to get these dogs on airplanes, giving them a real shot at a forever home.
NBC News reported that Pilots N Paws was established in 2008 when founder Debi Boies wanted to rescue a Doberman named Brock. Living in a different state, Boies knew it would be difficult to get to the pooch in time, and that the poor guy would likely be euthanized. Thinking on her feet, Boires got a pilot friend to act as a courier for the Dobie in need. The pair got the dog on the airplane and flew him from South Carolina to Florida, thereby saving his life and impetus a new method for re-homing dogs.
Since its founding, Pilots N Paws has helped transport more than 65,000 pets. Their website allows pilots to coordinate with shelters and families, bring animals with limited time to a forever home halfway across the country. The aviators don’t even receive financial compensation for their efforts, choosing instead to participate in these “missions” out of the goodness of their hearts.
“Pilots just love being in the air, so when you give them a job to do, when they can make a positive impact, most of these pilots are just happy to help out,” pilot Jeff Bennett told NBC News.
Preparing dogs for flights can be tricky, but when a permanent home is at the end of their trip, they’re more than happy to settle in for the trek.
Dealing with dogs on airplanes
Small pooches have it easy on long trips, as they can simply be carried onto the airplane. While each airline might have different specifications for allowing dogs on airplanes and not in storage, most should be able to move naturally and comfortably within the carrier, Whole Dog Journal explained. That means any medium- to large-sized canines might find themselves stowed away for the trip. That is an important thing to consider when traveling with your large dog, as life in the storage compartment can be bleak and uncomfortable.
When ordering your ticket, be sure to call ahead and inform the airline that you’ll be bringing a dog along for the ride. There are usually limited spots available, so it’s better to book your trip as early as possible to avoid any issues. Having a dog on an airplane is different from having a dog in a car – prepare your pooch accordingly.
If you’re bringing a small canine, such as a Shih Tzu or Pomeranian, have him practice spending time in the carrier being jostled around and subjected to strange noises and movements. Conditioning your pooch to typical in-flight experiences can make the trip a lot easier for everyone involved.
Consider signing up for PetPlus, as membership grants you access to discounted accessories like the ThunderShirt that could make plane trips more comfortable for owners and canines.