Dog Is My CoPilot, Inc. (DIMC) has saved thousands of animals’ lives. DIMC was created in 2012 by a doctor in Wyoming and a lawyer in Arizona. Peter Rork, MD and Judy Zimet, Esq. work with a supportive Board to fly animals from areas of the United States where they are not wanted, to areas of the United States where they are in demand. There is no charge to the animal welfare organizations for whom DIMC flies…the planes fly on public donations alone. The organization is a 501(c)3 approved organization based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
DIMC decreases the number of animals killed in shelters and increases shelter adoption by flying groups of animals to areas where they are more adoptable. DIMC works with established nonprofit animal rescue organizations to coordinate flights.
DIMC flies many animals on one flight. This keeps costs down and saves more cats and dogs. The routes cover the Rocky Mountain and Pacific regions with two airplanes: a Cessna 206 and a Cessna 208B. From 40 to 150 animal passengers fly on each flight. By flying animals out of areas where they are at risk of euthanasia due to overpopulation problems, not only do the animal passengers find a furever family, but DIMC creates more space in the shelters for animals who would have otherwise been euthanized.
DIMC facilitates transport from an airport closest to the point of origination to an airport closest to the destination through the use of general aircraft. General aviation aircraft have the ability to fly into not only commercial airports, but also small local airstrips. Animals coming from or going to rural areas have a greater opportunity to reach a furever home because transport is made more convenient by the accessibility to local airstrips.
Peter E. Rork, M.D., Co-Founder and President
Peter, “The Pilot”, worked his way through medical school as a pilot. After practicing Orthopaedic Surgery for more than thirty years, he has returned to the skies as our Chief Pilot. Peter holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating and is qualified to fly single and multiengine aircraft as well as seaplanes. He is also a certified flight instructor. Transporting animals to furever homes in a Cessna Turbo Cessna 206 Stationair and Cessna Grand Caravan, he says that the view from his new office beats any other.
Kara Pollard, Executive Director
With her husband Mark Pollard, a Kiwi native and their daughter Olivia, Kara has made Jackson home with two rescue dogs Sydney and Queenie. Animal welfare has always been a passion of hers, from rescuing the family pets at local animal shelters and volunteering for welfare agencies while growing up in Rhode Island. After graduating from the University of Vermont in 2006 with a degree in Animal Science, she moved to Jackson, WY with her first rescue dog, Sydney a pit bull mix. Kara quickly became an active member in the Valley, working as a technician at a veterinary clinic and also volunteering for animal welfare agencies including Teton County Animal Shelter, Paws of Jackson Hole, and the Animal Adoption Center. In 2012, Kara became the Executive Director of the Animal Adoption Center- a nonprofit animal welfare organization. In her time at the AAC amongst running the daily operations and carrying out her executive responsibilities, Kara completed a 1.5 million dollar capitol campaign to fund the land purchase and construction costs for the new AAC building. Kara is committed to pursing her passion in animal welfare, and feels privileged to advocate on DIMC’s behalf as the Executive Director.
Judy Zimet, Esq., Co-Founder and Board Member
Judy is a Scottsdale, Arizona attorney. Her practice focuses on transactional work (real estate, business, and death and disability planning) and she also drafts winning arguments as the “behind the scenes” attorney in collaboration with litigators. Judy is a real estate agent also, and finds her clients appreciate her analytic, legal experience. Judy founded Dog Is My CoPilot in June 2012 and served as Executive Director for four years. As her legal practice grew, she had to move to the Board in order to fit in time for sleep. Judy credits her passion for animals to her genetic make-up. Most of her family has, what they term, “the disease,” an uncontrollable desire to hug every cat and dog they see.
Susan Bersticker Thorp, ND, RN, Board Member
Susan has a doctorate in nursing from Case Western Reserve, and is a nurse in the state of WY. She has worked in the orthopedic community for the past 14 yrs taking care of people, and a few dogs with broken bones along the way. Susan works for the Ossur America brace company, and is an international consultant to Cast Nylons Ltd., a manufacturer of cast nylon bearing materials, where Susan uses her fluency in Spanish to assist Cast Nylons in their expansion of sales to Mexico, Central and South America. Susan is the copilot in her husband’s Piper Meridian, that they fly around the US, Bahamas and Mexico with their two passengers, Tank, a yellow Labrador and Chamois, a Golden Retriever.
Brent A. Blue, M.D., Board Member
Brent is a family practice and emergency medicine physician in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and is a recognized expert in aviation medicine. He founded Aeromedix, a medical aviation company, and has served on the Board of Lighthawk. Brent owns three aircraft and four dogs—two Bergamascos, a Golden Retriever, and a Lagotto Ramagnolo.
Ted Kerasote, Board Member
Ted Kerasote is the author of many books, including the national bestseller Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog, Out There: In The Wild in a Wired Age, which won the National Outdoor Book Award, and Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs, which has helped to change how people think about canine health. His essays and photographs have appeared in Audubon, Geo, Outside, Science, The New York Times, and more than sixty other periodicals. Ted lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Photo © Cristina Pellegrini