Dog Is My CoPilot, Inc. (DIMC) has saved thousands of animals from needless euthanasia through its innovative air transport program. Founded in 2012 by Peter Rork, MD, a retired orthopedic surgeon and lifelong pilot in Wyoming, and Judy Zimet, Esq., a lawyer in Arizona, DIMC flies animals from areas of the United States where they are not wanted to areas of the United States where they’re in demand.

DIMC is a 501(c)3-approved non-profit based in Jackson Hole, Wyo., with a supportive and engaged board of directors. It works with a network of nearly 100 municipal animal shelters and nonprofit animal rescue organizations in 15 states west of Louisiana to coordinate flights.

DIMC saves the lives of thousands of shelter pets and optimizes their likelihood of finding “furever” homes by flying them from overcrowded facilities where they’re in danger of being euthanized because of lack of space to locations with animal rescue organizations that have more space and a greater pool of adoptive homes. By flying animals out of these areas, not only are the animal passengers saved, but DIMC creates more space in the shelters for animals who would otherwise have been euthanized.

DIMC’s passengers are predominantly dogs (80 percent versus 20 percent cats) who come from about 20 source shelters. Despite being called kill shelters, these open-admission shelters, often in crowded municipal areas, have staff that want the best outcome for the animals in their care — animals that may have been dumped at the shelter or born on the streets and removed for public health and safety reasons. DIMC makes working at those shelters a little more hopeful.