Dog Is My CoPilot is fortunate to have so many great partners who help organize the transportation of rescue animals. It takes time, coordination, and patience to transport at-risk animals from source-shelters to destination shelters.
Clare discusses how organizations, whether they are brand new or a shelter veteran, need clear communication and organization transparency to be successful. Using social media platforms and quality images and videos, shelters can help to show potential partners and adopters the need for transportation services and more adoptions.
These coordinated efforts to move rescue animals takes trust between partners. The needs of these rescue animals are at the heart of every decision an organization makes. Being successful relies on the shelters to be organized and network amongst each other to find a good home for these animals.
Part two of this informative blog series is dedicated to the destination shelters. These blogs and more information can be found on the American Pets Alive Blog. American Pets Alives mission is to end the urgent crisis facing shelter animals by helping save the millions of dogs, cats, and other potential pets needlessly being killed across the country each year. Dog Is My CoPilot is a proud supporter of their work and thankful for their commitment to their mission.
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It is hard to believe that just 3 short years ago Peter the Pilot rescued his dog, Mr. Hobbs, from Amazing Grace Pet Rescue in Hobbs, NM. This week, Peter the Pilot was fortunate enough to go back to Hobbs, New Mexico and pick up Cisco with Pilot Jen Boman! He is a 6 week old puppy looking for a home and is rescue number 20,000!
3 day old pups are found all alone
Cisco and his sisters, River and Maple were only a few days old when they were found under a trailer house in Hobbs, New Mexico. The people who found these three puppies, took them home and tried to bottle feed them with little success. Fortunately, the rescuers brought Cisco and his sisters to Amazing Grace Pet Rescue who had the expertise with bottle feeding to get these pups stronger and healthier. Amazing Grace Pet Rescue was founded in 2014 and is committed to keeping pets safe, happy, and healthy while animals wait to be placed in a forever home.
Dog Is My CoPilot to the rescue
Amazing Grace Pet Rescue, along with Gina Beard and other Denver City, TX based groups take in hundreds of animals and coordinate monthly flights with Dog Is My CoPilot to help save hundreds of dogs in overcrowded rural New Mexico + West Texas animal shelters.
By the time of the flight, Cisco has been thriving with his two other brothers and sisters and gaining weight rapidly. Although, Cisco is the runt of the litter we think he certainly has the most personality of the group! We are sure that he will quickly get adopted through Bounce Animal Rescue, the receiving adoption center in Fort Collins, CO.
Where to now?
Bounce Animal Rescue of Fort Collins, CO had the ability to take Cisco along with dozens of other puppies and dogs. Bounce Animal Rescue is a unique rescue organization because they do not have a physical facility. They are 100% foster-based, meaning that all of their animals live within people’s homes throughout the state of Colorado. This type of rescue system allows animals to live in a home environment and start on basic training and home etiquette. It also allows Bounce Animal Rescue to better match up animals with adopters as they learn the specifics of each animal’s personalities.
In the next couple weeks we will be flying 20+ flights from the southwest to the northwest. There are still plenty of dogs and cats in need of rescue and just looking for their forever home.
We have gone from flying 1,000 rescue animals a season to 1,000 rescue animals in a month. There will always be a need for our free service and we would love your support. If you would like to donate, your support will allow us to continually provide free transportation to animal shelters so they can help find these animals a forever home.
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Rolly and Polly began their quest to find a forever home months ago. Recently, their search was accelerated when Archangel Animal Network + the staff at the Fort Worth Animal Care and Control shelter in Texas realized the urgency of their care. Rolly and Polly needed to find their way out of Texas, before their life was in danger.
The Journey Begins
Rolly and Polly were in rough shape at the Fort Worth Animal Care and Control Shelter. Both dogs had mange, a parasitic skin disease caused by microscopic mites that causes severe skin lesions and hair loss. Both dogs also had severe upper respiratory infections. On top of that, Rolly tested positive for Heartworm and required a treatment plan. Polly, was the bigger concern because she had stopped eating and had a UTI infection. On May 7th, 2021, the staff at the shelter realized they needed to step in to save these pups. A kennel techs who had fallen in love with Rolly and Polly brought them home to foster for a short period of time so they could well enough to be transported on the Big Dog. At the shelter, Rolly and Polly were kenneled together and formed a friendship. Once the dogs were out of the shelter in their foster home, their health improved and their hair even began to grow back!
Dog Is My CoPilot to the Rescue
Dog Is My CoPilot was brought in with the help of Life Savers Animal Rescue during the transportation logistics for these dogs. Bringing Rolly and Polly to a northern state improved their chances of adoption and to find a forever home. Their final destination is at Camp Duford in Montana with Animal Life Savers would provide them safety and security in a rescue while they healed before being placed up for adoption. During a layover in Jackson Hole, WY, both dogs got the opportunity to stay for a couple of wonderful days with our Executive Director, Kara Pollard and her family while they were spayed and neutered. The final leg of the journey would be a flight to Camp Duford outside of Glacier National Park in Montana. Here, in Montana Rolly has started heartworm treatment.
A special thank you
Thank you to the amazing support from all the organizations that were able to help save these two pups. Life Savers Animal Rescue and Camp Duford were instrumental in making all the connections for this pair of pups to make it to Montana and finding them a place to heal. Fort Worth Animal Care and Control recognized the value in rescuing these two pups and knowing that it was their turn to find a forever home. Petco Love has financially supported Dog Is My CoPilot and many other rescue organizations to rescue Rolly and Polly and thousands of other animals across the country. Finally, thank you to our Dog Is My CoPilot volunteer pilots, without their dedication and talents, we would not be able to rescue one animal. It takes a village to rescue one pup let alone the thousands that have flown with us in our rescue flights. We are thankful for all those that donate time and resources to make rescues like Rolly and Polly a possibility.
Rolly + Polly are available for adoption!
While, both dogs love each other a home separate will suit both their needs better. They both love people and will do best in a home with dogs their size. To learn more about adopting Rolly + Polly please visit: https://www.lsar.org
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This week, Cinnamon and Buns were our lucky 18,000 and 18,001 passengers!
We picked up these cute duo at Laredo Animal Services in Laredo, Texas and flew them, along with about 80 other pets, up to the Humane Society of Utah and other Colorado + Idaho partners.
Loredo is a city on the Mexican border, in southern Texas. The Laredo Animal Care Facility receives animals from individuals who are no longer able to care for their pets as well as any lost or stray animals in search of a good home. Many of the stray animals in their region have been without a home since birth or have been abandoned and are confused and frightened when they arrive at the shelter.
The Laredo Animal Care Facility works to rehome these animals with the support of rescue organizations to ensure that as many lives are saved as possible. The stakes are high for many of these animals and every rescue flight frees up space and helps to ensure that the amazing team in Laredo can continue to care for the animals in their shelter.
As we enter our busy summer flying season, follow along on Facebook for frequent updates and videos from our volunteer pilots. We’ll be back in Laredo soon and plan to visit a number of partners in southern Texas before the end of the month.
Thank you to the Lulu’s Fund who have been by our side since the very beginning. We are so gratuefl to have their support to help us save more lives!
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This month, we are celebrating National Foster a Pet Month with our partners Petco Love, a national non-profit working to lead and inspire change for animals, and Skechers’ charity footwear collection, BOBS from Skechers, by encouraging more people to foster pets.
Did you know that if less than 2% of the 85-million pet-owning households in the U.S. fostered one pet a year, we could eliminate preventable euthanasia in animal shelters nationwide tomorrow?
How can you help?
The easiest way to be a part of Foster a Pet Month is to support your local animal shelter. You can donate to the organization to support the animals looking for new homes, take the pets for walks or FOSTER a pet overnight or up to a few weeks or more!
When you visit your local animal adoption center or municipal shelter, take a minute to ask about their fostering program. Most nonprofit animal adoption centers are always looking for new families to foster pets and prepare animals for their forever homes. You can be the first one to teach the pet basic house manners so it will thrive in it’s new adopted home. Remember, fostering is temporary so it’s not a long term commitment and if you already have a pet you’ll be helping to socialize the new animal. Best of all, fostering a pet makes you feel good as you’re saving the life of an at-risk animal.
Do you know that feeling when you come home, open up the door and your best friend is waiting to greet you at the door? If just a small portion of animal lovers were to foster a pet, this feeling of unconditional love would be spread around the world and thousands of at-risk animals would be safe.
Right now, thousands of animals are living in shelters with limited social interaction. We’re always overwhelmed by the pictures from our partners of adoptable animals waiting for temporary homes as part of their rehoming journey.
Meet Rolly + Polly from Texas overcrowded shelter
Passengers on the Big Dog and flew to their rescue and foster families in Wyoming and Montana!
Meet Lupine from Laredo Texas! Now in loving foster home in Wyoming!
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We are proud to announce that Petco Love, a national nonprofit working to lead and inspire change for animals, is partnering with Dog Is My CoPilot and shelters across the country to provide lifesaving pet transportation! On June 5th, 2021, Petco Love announced a $750,000 grant to our ongoing lifesaving work and volunteer pilot program.
To celebrate this life changing investment, we flew ninety dogs and cats from Dallas-Fort Worth area shelters on June 5, 2021 to adoption partners in Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming. Each of these ninety animals now have the chance to be adopted into loving homes. As shelters across the country reopen to the public and ease restrictions after COVID-19, the number of pets entering shelters is beginning to normalize to pre-pandemic levels and will likely continue to rise due to annual increases of abandoned kittens in the early summer. Transporting animals is a proven lifesaving solution to relocate at-risk animals to other cities and towns with a higher demand for adoptable animals.
“We are beyond grateful to continue to grow and strengthen our partnership with Petco Love,” said Dr. Peter E. Rork, Chief Pilot and Founder of Dog Is My CoPilot. “With Petco Love’s support, we’ve been able to considerably scale up our lifesaving efforts. This investment affirms our work and motivates us to continue to grow our partnerships with animal shelters and adoption centers, saving lives by the thousands!”
“As part of Petco Love’s commitment to create a future in which no pet faces preventable euthanasia, we’re proud to invest in Dog Is My CoPilot’s lifesaving work and come together with shelters across the country to help pets in need get an increased chance at adoption,” said Susanne Kogut, President of Petco Love. “As we kick off National Foster a Pet Month this June, this transport is yet another way we’re working together to save pet lives and make communities and pet families closer, stronger, and healthier.”
Petco Love is a nonprofit changing lives by making communities and pet families closer, stronger, and healthier. Since their founding in 1999 as the Petco Foundation, they’ve empowered animal welfare organizations by investing $300 million in adoption and other lifesaving efforts. They’ve helped find loving homes for more than 6.5 million pets in partnership with Petco and organizations nationwide. Today, their love for pets drives them to lead with innovation, creating tools animal lovers need to reunite lost pets, and lead with passion, inspiring and mobilizing communities and our more than 4,000 animal welfare partners to drive lifesaving change alongside them!
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On May 26th, Austin-based Wondercide, the leader in safe and effective, plant-powered pest protection for pets, people, teamed up with Dog Is May CoPilot to rescue 45+ dogs from overcrowd shelters in West Texas and flew them to homes in Salt lake City, Utah and Portland, OR! Wondercide is also on a mission to protect pets and is excited to participate in the first Texas flight of 2021. This past holiday season Wondercide pledged to donate proceeds from the Wondercide sampler box, and Dog is My CoPilot is pleased to announce the entire flight was made possible by Wondercide customers and this generous donation!
Lifesaving rescue flight
The animals leaving El Paso International Airport were rescued by Heather Hall with the Underground Dog organization from several West Texas rural shelters, in addition to about 40 dogs being rescued from El Paso Animal Services. They will be transported to Portland-Troutdale Airport, where they will be greeted by Julie Zagrans from One Tail at a Time PDX and several families ready to foster, and hopefully adopt, their new furry friends.
Sunny makes journey on the Big Dog!
Sunny and his 40+ friends found them themselves in overcrowded shelters thats when El Paso Animal Services and the Underground Dog stepped in to help get this boy home! Partnering up with One Tail At a Time PDX he boarded the Big Dog with Pilot Peter and Pilot Riley at 4:30am and arrived with his buddies to Portland just after 1pm and was greeted by his foster family! Some shelters are always full, some are always empty, that where Dog Is My CoPilot provides the missing link getting them there quickly and efficiently!
The partnership continues
“When I first heard about Dog Is My CoPilot and their innovative approach to saving pets, I immediately knew we needed to connect with this incredible organization and get involved,” said Stephanie Boone, CEO and Founder of Wondercide. “They’re a shining example of what we call Fierce Love®. It’s the ‘never going to give up on you’ kind of love and Dog Is My CoPilot is taking Fierce Love® to new heights.”
The Wondercide partnership with Dog Is My Copilot was such a great success that Wondercide plans to continue donating a percentage of profits from their signature sampler boxes to the nonprofit with promotion during the holiday season to make an even bigger impact. “We love the idea of gifts that give back and will continue to look for ways to give our customers the opportunity to help us do good,” said Boone.
Thanks for the support
“The support we receive from our community of animal lovers amazes me everyday,” said Dr. Peter Rork, President and Chief Pilot for Dog Is My CoPilot. “We are humbled by the generosity of companies like Wondercide who share our mission to help protect as many pets as possible. Thank you to the Wondercide team for being a valued partner and supporting us on our first Texas flight of 2021 so we can accomplish even more life-saving efforts this year.”
Because of the support of our community and sponsors like Wondercide, we have been able to increase the number of flights for 2021 and save even more animals. If you’re interested in joining our flight team, every gift makes a difference and check back here frequently for updates on our flights.
📷 Chris Lammert
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May has been a busy month and we are thrilled to share a few updates with you! Our transport plane, the Big Dog had critical maintenance completed to make it safer for our volunteer pilots to fly! Peter’s birthday matching campaign also surpassed our expectations ❤️ We are thankful for every donor who supports Dog Is My CoPilot so that we can reach even more animals in need
Big Dog Flying Again
Captain Dr. Rork, picked up the Big Dog last week after being in the shop for several months. The Big Dog got a new engine, new propellers and a digital avionics panel installed making it easier and safer to fly. Keep your eye out on social media for the propellers in an online auction. The avionics panel is now completely digital!
Passenger number 17,000!
We flew our 17,000th passenger, Grizz! He is a sweet 7 month old Heeler / Lab mix that was surrendered to a shelter partner in New Mexico. We are excited to have been part of his journey finding a home! This shelter is an open admission and takes in approximately 5,000 animals per year. We are excited to be part of his journey home!
Peter’s Successful Birthday Celebration
This year for Pilot Peter’s birthday, a very special donor provided a matching gift to celebrate and honor Peter. This donor is the proud owner of ABBA, (inspired by “Take A Chance On Me”), and long time supporter of Dog Is My CoPilot. We were thrilled by the support and the success of the birthday campaign! We surpassed our goal and every dollar will be used to rescue even more animals.
Peter was overjoyed by the support saying, Kara and I are continuing our efforts to save as many animals as possible with the resources at hand. Dog Is My CoPilot depends on those who are part of the solution, and we thank you for your support🐾🐾
We want to send a huge Thank You to all our supporters. We could not rescue so many animals and support all of our new shelter partners without our generous backers. Our community includes those who made fiscal donations and those that donate time and energy. Thank you to our whole community for being the backbone of our organization. We have volunteers across the country, donating time in logistics, meeting the Big Dog at airports, preparing animals for transport, and sending thank you notes to donors. We are grateful that we have a strong community that believes in our mission and helps us with every takeoff and landing along the way!
Dog Is My CoPilots is grateful for our volunteers that support our mission! We have seven dedicated volunteer pilots that fly the Big Dog for our rescue missions. This volunteer pilot team saves our organization over $100,000 a year in pilot fees, which goes directly into rescuing more dogs and cats.
Including our founder Dr. Peter Rork, we have seven volunteer pilots that will participate in the upcoming rescue season. Let’s introduce you to our crew so you can see how lucky we are to have these talented pilots.
Peter “The Pilot” Rork founded Dog Is My CoPilot in 2012 and leads our pilot crew. After working his way through medical school as a pilot, Dr. Rork practiced Orthopedic Surgery for more than thirty years. Instead of retiring to a golf course, he has returned to the skies as our Chief Pilot.
Jeff Carter works as a test pilot and instructor for a Department of Defense aircraft manufacturer. He spends five to six months deployed overseas per year, supporting the US military. While stateside, he lives in Southern California with his wife of 30 years and their 5 rescue dogs. Jeff looks forward to helping DIMC save as many pets’ lives as possible.
Dr. Brent Blue, an Airline Transport Pilot rated aviator has over 9,000 hours of flight time. He also practices medicine in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and consults for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association as a FAA designated Aviation Medical Examiner. Dr. Blue enthusiastically supports DIMC as a pilot and an original board member.
Chris Spanos flies for Frontier Airlines as an Airline Transport Pilot. Chris also volunteers for New Hope Cattle Dogs Rescue and Re-homing of Colorado. He has assisted his wife Paula with this organization, who founded the group. Chris and Paula enjoy caring for their dogs, chickens and especially enjoy camping in the beautiful Colorado Mountains.
Frank Maresca is a semi-retired mechanical engineer. His winters are spent working on equipment and teaching flying lessons, while the summer brings him to the fire patrol for the Forest Service. Frank and his wife Margo have two children, as well as horses, cows, cats and Thor, the security dog.
Tim Riley has actively flown aircraft for the last thirty years. Tim enjoyed sharing his passion for flying with new pilots at his flight school. He also volunteers for a number of different aviation-related organizations. Tim is excited to be part of the DIMC crew and looks forward to flying the rescued animals to new homes.
Jennifer Boman also flies for a major airline on the Airbus 320. The Colorado native lives now in Carlsbad CA, after 17 years in the USAF as an instructor pilot. She and her husband recently lost their 13 ½ year old dog and Jennifer is excited and grateful for the opportunity to fly for Dog Is My CoPilot.
You can check out our pilots’ full profiles on the Team Page and learn about the thousands of hours flown by our pilots before joining the DIMC flight team.
Pilots go to training
Before a pilot can volunteer for Dog Is My Copilot, they must go through a training program delivered by FlyRight in Charlotte, NC. This organization spends 22 hours with each pilot on the ground and in a simulator to make sure they are completely comfortable with our Cessna Caravan transport plane. The simulator gives the pilots a realistic feel for our plane, down to a near identical instrument panel. After the training, our Chief Pilot Peter Rork, takes each new volunteer pilot on a 2-3 day training flight. On this flight they learn about the plane, how to handle flying with lots of animals in crates, and their schedule on a typical day.
Typical day for a pilot
Rescue flight days are typically long days for our volunteer pilots. Before the animals arrive, the pilots day starts around 4am with preflight checks. The animals are loaded in the early morning and the pilots are hopefully wheels up by 6am. Over the next 8-12 hours the pilots transport and unload the animals in various locations before bringing our plane home to Jackson Hole to prepare for our next rescue flight. Every time the plane lands, it gets refueled, inspected, cleaned and prepped by the pilot for the next leg of the journey. Our partner Rescue organizations supply a crew of volunteers at every stop to meet the Big Dog and the pilot to unload animals. The animals are given water, removed from crates, and transported to vehicles to make the final leg of their journey to adoption centers. We try to limit the time the Big Dog is on the ground so our partner organization and pilots help to expedite each drop off by working together! We ask our volunteer pilots to donate about 100 hours of flight time per year, which really equates to over 400 hours of volunteered time including all the pre and post flight checks and activities.
We need your support
Dog Is My CoPilot provides these transport services free of charge to shelters because of the generous support of our community and our volunteer pilots. If you would like to chip in to show your support of our volunteer pilots, please go to our donation page.
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Did you know that 1 in 3 pets will go missing in their lifetime? That is 10 million annually! And without a central place to report them lost or found, many may never be reunited with their families. Our amazing partners, Petco Love are determined to change that. That’s why they created Petco Love Lost, the new national platform that uses innovative pet facial recognition technology to empower animal-loving communities to reunite lost pets.
How it works
Petco Love Lost is a new national platform that will help lost pets quickly find their families and homes. This simple website uses patented facial recognition technology to allow participating animal organizations, pet parents or persons who find lost animals to easily search for lost animals in the Petco Love Lost database. Uploaded pictures of lost pets are immediately scanned to determine if that animal is in the database and then the system automatically connects the animal to their owner. There are hundreds of participating shelters across the country using the new and exciting technology to decrease the number of lost pets.
Petco Love, formally known as the Petco Foundation is a national nonprofit working to lead and inspire change for animals and they’re on a mission to help reunite lost pets with their families. Since their founding in 1999 as the Petco Foundation, they have empowered animal welfare organizations by investing $300 million in adoption and other lifesaving efforts.
We know that one in three pets goes missing in their lifetime, an estimated 10 million pets each year, and we’re not ok with that,” said President of Petco Love, Susanne Kogut. That gives us 10 million reasons why we created Petco Love Lost, because we believe nothing is more important than keeping people and pets together for a lifetime of love
How you can get involved
If you’ve lost or found a pet, Petco Love Lost wants to help get them home. Visit petcolovelost.org or join the conversation @PetcoLoveLost on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter via hashtags #PetcoLoveLost and #LoveandFound.
Dog Is My CoPilot is so grateful to be Petco Love partners and we’re excited to support their new venture reconnecting families to lost animals! As animal lovers, we all dread the feeling of losing an animal, for a minute or a day. We know that Petco Love Lost is an important tool that will reunite you and your pet if the need arises.