Last week we were wheels up with two very special passengers! Thanks to a wonderful team in El Paso, Texas and Portland, OR, we flew rescue animals number 24,000 and 24,001, because let’s get real, it’s hard just to choose one adorable rescue to celebrate!
We are so excited that the Old Bill’s Fun Run Giving season is upon us! For over 25 years, the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole has leveraged local philanthropy to make nonprofits more effective and our community stronger.
We’re grateful to be part of this incredible event. Each year, funds raised through Old Bill’s touch the lives of everyone including pets in Teton County! You can become a donor through Old Bill’s Fun Run and support Dog Is My CoPilot to help us fly pets in overcrowded shelters to adoption centers that help each pet find a safe and loving home.
By donating through Old Bill’s Fun Run during the giving season, the impact of each donor’s gift is boosted through the additional funding provided by Co-Challengers in the form of matching gifts. Will you join us with a gift today and help us leverage the full match?
We believe that collaboration with individual animal shelters and adoption organizations, which manage the placement of animals in their local communities, is key to saving more lives!
Right here in Teton County, we are so grateful for our strong partnerships with the Animal Adoption Center, Paws of Jackson Hole and Aska’s Animals. Over the last several years, The Animal Adoption Center has been partnering with Dog Is My CoPilot to help make a meaningful impact for animals in desperate situations. Hundreds of our passengers have found homes right here in Teton County and we are excited to show you the impact that our supporters have made for these animals!
Meet Foxtrot and her puppies (Bravo, Delta, Lima, Tango, and Zulu). Foxtrot’s story began in Texas where she ended up in an overcrowded shelter and very pregnant. The original plan was for her to go to Aska’s Animals where she would be fostered and have her puppies. But mindflight Foxtrot had other plans and her 5 puppies were born on the plane en route from Texas to the Tetons. We are so thankful for our volunteer pilots who always remain calm, no matter the challenge presented in a rescue flight. When Foxtrot arrived at Aska’s Animals, she was nervous and was hesitant to let anyone near her puppies. But after a few days she warmed up to her caregivers and allowed them to help care for her and the 5 growing puppies. After spending 6 weeks at Aska’s Animals and being socialized, the entire family was ready to find homes through the Animal Adoption Center
Polly, was a passenger that spent time with her foster home in Jackson – her mom and dad recently checked in with us and had this to say about their lives with her: “Polly loves to go on road trips and makes a habit of sleeping in the back seat while her owners drive so she is ready to sunbathe, chase balls and bounce along the beach when they arrive. Rolly and Polly still get to see each other regularly and both are thriving! Considering their rough beginning, Polly loves everyone she meets; she is especially fond of young kids and loves to play”. We are thankful for all our partners that helped bring Rolly and Polly into Teton County and help them find loving forever homes.
Cinnamon, now Goose, came to the Animal Adoption Center via our rescue plane, the Big Dog. He was one of the largest dogs in the rescue flight and also very timid and shy in the beginning. Initially, Cinnamon was to be fostered by a local family, but it turned into a foster fail, because he was adopted!! Goose is now loving his new home and the adventures his humans take him on. Goose has found his groove and is a goofball, a gentle giant, full of energy, and always up for an adventure in the mountains.
“When we first got Bernie, he didn’t trust anyone except for women and kids. He was scared and you could tell he had a hard beginning in life. Now, he has found his confidence. He is an extremely loyal and loving part of our family. He loves to cuddle, bark, and hunt and chase squirrels. If there is a lap to sit on he’s in it! He and his dog sister/life partner Sweet Dee are an inseparable team. He will gladly go mountain biking or river rafting, as long as I am there, he is my shadow. He is our 8 year old daughter’s favorite play buddy and is great and tolerant with kids. He has become a huge part of our family and we love him very much!”
Because of our partnerships with local adoption centers we are able to make these success stories a possibility.
In early June, the Sequel (our second plane) made its first rescue flight with a new volunteer pilot. We were also able to connect two new partners in Oklahoma and North Dakota. The Sequel is already allowing us to rescue even more animals amidst an ever dire shelter crisis across our nation. According to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary at this very moment, about 100,000 more dogs and cats in U.S. shelters are at risk of being killed compared to this time last year. Because of the pandemic, more pets are entering shelters, fewer pets are being adopted, shelters are short-staffed.
Expanding DIMC requires more volunteer pilots.
Since we now have two planes, potentially doubling our rescue flights, we needed to find some more volunteer pilots. One of our newest pilots is Jason Wojteczko. When Jason is not flying, he is thinking about flying. He comes to us with over 30 years of aviation experience in both private and military backgrounds. Jason currently operates an international aircraft delivery company called Compass Rose Aviation. He also served in the US military for 23 years with multiple combat tours. Learn more about Jason, his four chihuahuas, and the rest of our pilots at https://dogcopilot.org/meet-the-team
New partners in Oklahoma and North Dakota
Ardmore Animal Care in Ardmore, Oklahoma is a brand new animal shelter partner for our rescue team. Our rescue flight picked up 32 animals from this shelter, and another 10 from Tulsa Animal Society of which were a mama and 9 new puppies that were not able to make an earlier transport. Thankfully, an amazing foster family in Enid, OK were able to watch them till our rescue flight in mid June. Transporting pets allows Ardmore Animal Care to have a 90% save rate which is incredible considering the animal welfare crisis in our national sheltering system. We transported this plane load to Souris Valley Animal Shelter, another new shelter partner in Minot, North Dakota. These two shelters are part of a mentoring program established by the Best Friends Animal Society. We are thrilled to be able to offer free transportation services to these amazing organizations.
The State of the Animal Sheltering System
As we talk to our partners about the need for transportation services for their animals, we have found that there are a few issues that are contributing to this crisis in the animal shelter system. First, the COVID-19 pandemic paused many animal spay and neutering services. This has created a backlog of treatment and an increase in animal intake to many shelters. Second, as people have gone back to work and “normal” returns, adoptions across the country have slowly decreased while the intake of new animals has increased. Finally, compounding the already very full shelters, there are not enough people to work in these shelters. The staffing crisis across the country has not spared the animal shelter system. New and old partners alike have the same problem, everyone is short staffed. Before the pandemic, shelters could staff multiple positions from basic animal care to veterinary staff giving a full spectrum of care for rescue animals. Now shelters barely have enough staff to care for the many animals that enter their shelter. Many animals are suffering because there is just not enough staff or resources to support all the pets in their care. Sadly, animal shelters, primarily in the south, have had to euthanize many animals because of lack of space. They are confronted with these difficult decisions for the most at-risk animals in their care.
What you can do
You can help your local shelter or rescue in many ways, including monetary donations, volunteering your time at a shelter or even becoming a foster family. Fostering an animal is the easiest way to alleviate some of the stress on the shelter system. It is going to take help from everyone to get through this crisis and we know our community can help! Now is a great time to adopt a pet and find all the benefits of having an animal in your life.
May has been an incredible month. Our new rescue plane is nearly ready for action; we exceeded our goal for our matching campaign celebrating the new plane in conjunction with Peter’s Birthday; over 22,000 animals have been rescued in our short history; and we just had a sponsored rescue flight with our partners at Wondercide.
The rescue season has only begun and it is shaping up to be our most impactful season yet!!
Thank you donors!
Thank you to all of the generous donors that shared their kindness, compassion and generosity to homeless pets across the country. With their support, we raised over $50,000 during our matching campaign to celebrate our second plane. The funds will go towards helping us transport at-risk animals to loving homes across the northern half of our country. Our second rescue plane is receiving it’s final prep and will dramatically increase the number of animals we can transport and allow us to serve partners in the northeastern part of the country. The new plane has been repainted, emptied of all the passenger chairs and couches, and medical grade interior installed to safely transport our furry passengers. When this plane takes its first rescue flight in June, it’s going to feel like a brand new plane and a safe place for every animal.
Over 22,000 Animals Rescued
Lucky rescue animal 22,000 is Betty Barker who came from San Antonio Pets Alive! SAPA! is a safety net for the most vulnerable animals at the San Antonio municipal shelter and is the last resort for thousands of sick, injured, or abused animals that would normally be euthanized. Since its inception in 2011, San Antonio Pets Alive! has rescued over 55,000 animals including our special passenger Betty Barker. Our partnership with San Antonio’s Pets Alive! and thier Heading Home Program’, is saving lives! Betty Barker landed with one of our partner rescues, Life Savers Animal Rescue in Polson, MT. Lynette Duford our newest DIMC team member is also a foster for LSAR and welcomed Betty right into their home while she waits for her forever home! She reports that Betty transitioned quickly to sleeping in bed, curling up on any lap available and loves being with people!
Wondercide Partnership: A New Leash on Life: Over 50 At-Risk Pets Flown to Safety
We are so fortunate for Wondercide who sponsored the May 10 flight that left out of Austin and flew over 50 dogs and cats to rescues in Colorado, Utah, and Idaho. Their, Creative Director, Chris, rode in the copilot seat with our volunteeer pilot Frank, capturing special moments of the day. Flying from Wondercide’s hometown of Austin TX, we partnered with Austin Pets Alive!. Austin is the largest and longest-running no-kill city in the nation because of a partnership between a non-profit organization called Austin Pets Alive! (APA!) and the city’s shelter, Austin Animal Center. And APA! is pioneering innovative programs designed to save animals most at risk. Their team coordinates with the most under-resourced shelters to identify pets who are running out of hope, offers transportation assistance to their facility, and provides medical care.
This flight was special because we were able to collaborate with Matt Beisner, certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) and star of the Disney+ show, “Dog: Impossible”. Matt donated his time to sit with the dogs before their rescue flight and get to know each and every one. He offered support, and passed on any observations that may improve the dogs chances of landing in a forever home. We also had a special passenger named, Camper who was saved by our partner Erath County Humane Society. Camper is a larger breed which typically takes much longer to find a home. He’s a big dog with big love to give. Karen Brophy of Erath County Humane Society explained that Camper came into their shelter as a stray, and no one came to claim him.
“I think the number one question I get about Camper is ‘What is that dog doing in a shelter?’ I think that’s a common misconception that only “bad dogs” or “sick dogs” are in our municipal shelters when that isn’t the case…there are terrific dogs in every shelter.” She fostered Camper until the flight
Fortunately, we were able to bring Camper to Animal Friends Alliance in Fort Collins, Colorado, where they specialize in adopting bigger dogs. We are happy to report Camper was adopted within days of landing in Colorado!
This rescue effort would not have been possible without the support of financial partners like Wondercide. We, along with the 50 animals on their flight, are humbled by their continued compassion and generosity which allows us to rescue so many deserving animals.
It takes a village to save pets in need. Rescue flights like these are not possible without the support of such an amazing community of shelters, volunteers, and animal lovers like you.
Dog Is My CoPilot started in 2012 and soon became a victim of its own success. After just a few short years, we acquired a larger Cessna 208B Grand Caravan — aka “The Big Dog” — that was retrofitted from a 12-passenger plane to one that can carry hundreds of pets. The Big Dog and our team of nine volunteer pilots allows us to transport animals virtually everyday during our flying season.
Today, we are thrilled to announce that we purchased a second airplane to transport twice as many pets from overcrowded shelters to new adoption partners. Over 1 million animals are euthanized every year in America. The shelters and rescues that they come from are underserved, overpopulated, and often forgotten; these are the organizations we are determined to help! We have seen demand for our services steadily increase over the last few years so we’ve been exploring ways to increase our capacity to serve more shelters.
To celebrate our expansion, a very generous supporter and his dog Abba (Take A Chance On Me) have stepped forward to match, dollar-for-dollar, every gift up to an incredible $25,000! We’d love to have your support to help keep our new plane “Wheels Up”! You can make a gift online or send a check to P.O. Box 3399 Jackson, Wyoming 83001.
“We believe that collaboration is key to saving more lives and we are humbled by the generosity of our supporters who believe in our mission to help save as many animals as possible,” said Peter Rork, M.D., Chief Pilot and President of DIMC. “We hope our expansion will inspire more people to work together for the greater good of our animal friends. These dogs think we’re saving them but at the end of the day, they save us. They give us the chance to do good and help, to live with a greater purpose than ourselves.”
Our rescue flights are at no cost to the shelters and adoption centers we partner with. We rely on donations to fuel our rescue flights. The cost of airline fuel has doubled in the last year, and our flights from southern Texas can be as long as 1300 nautical miles to receiving organizations. We are also paying for ramp fees, facility fees, plane parking for overnights so that we can get an early start to our day! Our success is due to our community of supporters and our dedicated team of shelter, adoption centers and volunteers across the country.
We are planning to base the new plane in Texas to help support even more shelters across the state that are trying desperately to bring down the euthanasia rate. We are not only doubling the number of flights, but are doubling the number of lives we can save. Our receiving and adoption partner network is expanding to the northeast with flights scheduled to New England and New York.
Why are we basing our new plane in Texas?
- It is estimated that 150,000 animals are still needlessly dying in Texas shelters every year.
- According to our partners Austin Pets Alive, it costs a fraction of their total per animal to serve as a distributor to shelters and rescues as it does to take them all in and do all the work themselves before adoption.
- Texas is located in the center of the country and flying to the Northeast from south Texas is about the same distance as a flight to Seattle, Washington.
“We estimate that approximately 150,000 pets are euthanized each year in Texas alone, but there is a national crisis,” said Clare Callison, Director of National Pet Supply & Demand at Austin Pets Alive!.
In most northern U.S. communities, there is an overabundance of adopters. Ground transport is not always a realistic or safe option to transport pets long distances. It can take days of travel in ground vehicles to reach areas with high demand for adoptable animals. Cost effective air transport is a lifesaving tool for pets in need and will help assist shelters in Texas (and beyond) work towards their goal of becoming no-kill states.
The flights we are coordinating are large and complicated! There are weeks of preparation leading up to each flight. It starts with animal selection and receiving partners communicate with shelters through photos, videos, and behavior assessments to select pets that will be transported. Each animal is given a health check by a veterinarian, making sure they are healthy for the flight. All the flight kennels have to be appropriately sized, correctly tagged with our color code system and animals ready at the airport for transport. Our shelter and rescue partners are the true heroes; working tirelessly to help the pets in the care find homes.
We are very grateful for The Gary E. Milgard Family Foundations, Petco Love, Lulu’s Fund and our special furry co-pilots Jack and Laika for making our second plane purchase possible. Keep an eye on your email and future blogs for updates, pictures of our new plane, partner shelters, and of course, the dogs and cats that find loving homes. Thank you!
Pilot Peter (and one of our NEW volunteer pilots, Daniel) were wheels up last week with over 50 Texas dogs (and a few kittens)! We are so excited to announce we are partnering with Austin Pets Alive! monthly to help reach the most under-resourced shelters in the state of Texas. APA! staff works directly with shelters outside of Austin to coordinate animals selected for transport, required vetting and general coordination (on the ground) with receiving partners, while we offer our life saving flights directly from their hub. Our shelter and rescue partners are the real heroes — working tirelessly to save animals in their community and taking in animals to their program helping them find homes!
We want to give the Rachel Ray Foundation a HUGE shoutout for sponsoring our first flight with APA! and their support in helping us to stay wheels up! The Rachael Ray Foundation is an amazing partner and a big thank you to all the Nutrish pet parents out there who support the Rachel Ray Foundation by feeding Nutrish to their pets! Watch our social media feeds for updates from this flight as the passengers make their journey HOME, stay tuned!
One of our newest pilots to join the team, Daniel Wagner was the Captain of this flight and flew along with our Chief Pilot, Dr. Rork. Daniel grew up in a home where his dad flew 767’s and his mom was a flight attendant. After becoming a flight attendant himself after college, Daniel realized he really wanted to be a pilot. He quickly completed his flight training and has been transporting passengers across the islands of Hawaii in a Cessna Caravan similar to the Big Dog! When not flying, Daniel loves to mentor young minorities to achieve their aviation dreams for OBAP (Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals). Daniel’s Cessna Caravan experience, love of animals, and his passion for helping others led him to find Dog Is My CoPilot. We are excited to have Daniel be a part of our team, and help find our rescued animals a forever home.
Dog Is My CoPilot is continually working to reduce euthanasia by transporting animals from overcrowded shelters (primarily in the South) to rescue and shelter partners with adopters seeking pets. We fly as many animals as possible in a single flight to maximize efficiency and do not charge partner organizations for our transport services. Dog Is My CoPilot imagines a world without euthanasia, a world where every animal has a home, where shelters don’t suffer overcrowding and where adoptable animals don’t face euthanasia. As long as shelter overcrowding remains a reality, DIMC will maintain its vision of helping animals find safe, loving homes — one flight at a time.
Dog Is My CoPilot is a busy and growing organization. We are flying thousands of animals every year from hundreds of locations across the country. Coordinating volunteer pilots, working with shelter and rescue partners, and coordinating animals that will be transported, is a time consuming task. Our Executive Director, Kara Pollard, has been the only person managing all those tasks and running our organization since she came on board more than five years ago. That is until now!
Welcome to the team, Lynette!
We would like to introduce the newest member of our team, Lynette Duford. She will be joining us as our Rescue Flight Coordinator. We are planning to save even more animals in 2022 through our rescue flights. This will require coordinating additional flights with shelters and we need extra support with all those logistics. Lynette’s passion for animal welfare began growing up on a dairy farm in Montana. Her parents encouraged her love of animals from an early age as she brought home every stray or abandoned animal that crossed her path…even baby mice! Although Lynette’s education and professional work has been in the health and fitness industry, she has always been an active volunteer with rescue groups. She spent the last 17 years part of Life Savers Animal Rescue (LSAR) where she and her husband Dana have fostered many animals focusing on seniors or dogs with medical issues at the end of their lives. They have five dogs of their own, several who have been passengers on our flights. We are thrilled to welcome her to our DIMC team. Keep an eye out for her on the ground during our rescue missions throughout the year.
One of the many logistical challenges Lynnette will face is the need for animal crates. The plastic vari kennels that we use on the Big Dog are reused hundreds of times on our flights. The crates can be easily stacked on the Big Dog, broken down for storage, and sterilized between flights. The challenge is returning the empty crates from the previous flights. These need to get from the receiving adoption centers to the overcrowded shelters in the south before the animals can be transported. Many times we can collect these empty crates when we head back to another source location. Our volunteer pilots make stops heading south and pick up empty crates and supplies to bring to the next source location. This will be one of the many tasks Lyntte will be coordinating with our partners and pilots!
We used these crates last week when we rescued 50 dogs from our partners at El Paso Animal Services and brought them to Logan, Utah. Unfortunately, because of the weather, we could not get the dogs all the way to their final destination of Jackson, Wyoming, so the Animal Adoption Center, based in Jackson, met us in Utah. They even brought some puppuccinos for our smallest passengers to ease their travel anxiety. With the help of another local partner, Cache Humane Society, the animals were unloaded from the Big Dog and reloaded into a van for the final leg of the journey. Partnerships are saving lives. We are grateful for the opportunity to be the link between so many amazing shelter and rescue organizations across the country. It is inspiring to watch all these partners work together.
Here’s how you can be part of the solution:
Whether you work with an animal shelter or just love pets, anyone can get involved with animal rescue. Volunteering at your local shelter is a great place to start. Many organizations are looking for folks to help with daily chores like cleaning facilities, walking animals, and feeding all the pups. Fostering an animal is a great way to help relieve the stress animals face in an overcrowded shelter. Spending time with animals relieves stress in humans too. Fostering can be the difference between life and death for senior dogs and cats that can take extra time to adopt. We always encourage adoption but please only adopt if you are able to commit to the needs of the animal you bring into your life. Finally you can donate. Animal shelters across the country are in need of funds to house, feed and maintain their shelters in every community in our nation.
Happy New Year! It is hard to believe that we are only two weeks into the new year and we have already had our first life saving flight. We were able to rescue 76 animals and lucky number 21,000 on this flight. 2022 is already shaping up to be an amazing year!
Ricco has been quietly waiting since October for his golden ticket with our amazing partner DC Paws. He was left at the animal control shelter in Denver City, TX, with a number of other animals that could no longer be cared for by their owners. This included a very large family of guinea pigs, a female dog with her litter of at least 8 pups, and another dog who was Ricco’s buddy. Everyone but Ricco, has already been rescued and adopted, even the guinea pigs. Now it’s Ricco’s turn to find his new loving forever home. He boarded the Big Dog for a flight to the Cache Humane Society in Logan, UT and is currently waiting for his forever home. Ricco is an adorable pup and we are positive he will not wait too long for his adoption day. We are humbled by your kindness and compassion for shelter pets and we know we wouldn’t be able to do this lifesaving work without the unwavering support of everyone in our community.
Preparing for the upcoming year
It may only be January, but we are already getting ready for the 2022 rescue season. Our team is hard at work scheduling flights, communicating with shelters and adoptions centers, and looking at new locations to serve.
We are bringing on more volunteer pilots in 2022 and they have already received crucial training for the upcoming season. With the addition of these pilots, we will have the ability to fly to more locations, rescue more animals, and have a bigger impact than ever. We are excited to introduce these pilots in the coming months.
The Big Dog, our rescue plane, is receiving its annual checkup and currently in the shop. We fly thousands of miles every year and we want to be sure that the Big Dog is ready for every upcoming adventure. We are hopeful that the weather will cooperate with us once the Big Dog is tuned up so we can fly a few rescue flights in February!
Stay connected in 2022
We are so excited for the upcoming season and can’t wait to share our adventures with you. If you would like to learn more about Dog Is My CoPilot, our mission, and our latest rescue, there are several ways to stay connected. Join our mailing list at dogcopilot.org. Please follow us on Facebook or Instagram to get daily updates about our work and to meet the many animals that we save every day.
Thank you again for keeping us “wheels up” in 2022!
As 2021 comes to a close, we are thankful for you!
Our success over the last year would not be possible without the support of our loving community which has helped us save the lives of 21,000 dogs and cats from the southern tip of Texas, to the northernmost reaches of Washington State, Idaho and our newest destination North Dakota.
We are thankful for our volunteer pilots
Our founder, Dr. Rork was joined in 2021 by six amazing volunteer pilots. They have collectively flown hundreds of volunteer hours for our rescue flights since joining our team this year. Having more pilots meant we were able to fly 5-7 days a week with a total of 75 flights in 2021 and were able to rescue more than 4,000 animals! Learn more about our volunteer pilots on the Team Page of our website!
The pilots face long and exhausting days in the air with quick loading and unloading stops on the ground to deliver animals to receiving partners. They have a challenging and demanding volunteer job, and we are in debt for their hard work.
Brisket, pictured below found her way to Jackson, Wyoming from Laredo, Texas on one of our rescue flights in 2021. This is what her mom had to say,
“Although she has not experienced a Wyoming winter yet, we think she is going to be just fine. She is already bounding across the ranch where she lives and snuggling next to the fire with her sister cat at the end of the day. Brisket has found her happy place, she is all smiles, every day”
We are thankful for our partnerships and volunteers
Our rescue network has grown to over 150 partners across the Western states in 2021. These incredible teams of shelters and adoption centers, along with their volunteers and employees, are the backbone of our organization . We could not rescue animals without their tireless support.
We are proud to build a trusting foundation between our partners, allowing for more animals to be flown to safety. These partnerships mean so much to our team, but even more to the animals.
Krystal McGough, shelter manager at Idaho Humane Society said this,
A special memory from working with Dog Is My CoPilot would be anytime we see the plane land, knowing we helped save so many lives!
We are Thankful for the families of adopters and fosters
In the end, if we do not have families that are willing to adopt or foster the animals that we rescue and transport, none of our work would be possible. We are extremely thankful for all the families across our network who welcome our passengers, HOME!
Every year, there are always a couple stories that really touch the heart of our team and this year it was Knox, a pitbull mix that sat for nine months in an overcrowded animal shelter in Texas. As time passed, his health began to decline and he was eventually put on the euthanasia list. The shelter put out one last plea to help save him. This is when his guardian angel and super volunteer, Paula Powell, came to the rescue. Paula sprung him from the shelter and brought him home to foster, bringing him back to health over the next couple months. On the next leg of his journey, we welcomed him on our rescue flight and flew him to a partner rescue in Montana where he joined a loving family! Saving the lives of animals like Knox is why we have dedicated ourselves to flying animals to safety and we hope you will continue to join us in saving more lives together!
We are thankful for you
From financial support, to the comments and likes on social media, it is all welcomed and appreciated. The work that we provide would not be possible without the support of our community and we are excited for what 2022 has to offer. Here is a heartwarming updates on a passenger from Laredo, Texas that found a home in Jackson, Wyoming through the Animal Adoption Center. His family had this to say,
Rossi (formally Peter Pan) came to us in mid-July and immediately fell into a rhythm within our family. He is the sweetest, most gentle dog we could ever hope for and loves his cat sister, Coco. His thick coat has finally filled in after a very short shave due to the ticks and fleas in Texas. He is learning to chase balls and hike our mountains like a true Jackson pup. We waited a long time for Rossi and are grateful to Dog Is My CoPilot and the AAC for their loving dedication of rescuing animals from high risk shelters. Sincerely, The Harris Family (Adam, Kristine, Grainger and Kiki)
Annie was flown from an overcrowded shelter in Texas and arrived at Bounce Animal Rescue. This unique organization has no central holding facility for newly arrived dogs but instead relies on a network of foster families that take in the animals before permanent homes can be found. After spending a few nights in her foster home she landed a loving home in Boulder, CO with a young man. Annie has been found on the trails around Boulder following behind her dad on a mountain bike or just hiking along in the woods. She is very happy to have found a place to call home in Colorado.
Happy New Year and we look forward to rescuing more animals in 2022 and sharing our stories with you.
Our partners and volunteers are the glue that makes our mission possible and we’re humbled to have their constant support. From the logistics of flying throughout the West to the physical moving of crates on the tarmac, our volunteers and partners are the ones on the ground who get thousands of rescued animals into forever homes.
We wanted to take a minute to highlight a few stories from this amazing group of people that make our flights happen as they are the reason we are able to rescue so many deserving animals every year. Be sure to watch this heartworming video that our amazing partners from Petco Love showcased.
Meet a few of our Partners
Matthew Lit with Colorado Dog Photography has been volunteering with us for several years. He has photographed hundreds of dogs and cats when they arrive in Colorado and always captures the tender moments of any rescue flight. “Puppies and airplanes! [I’m just] doing a small part to help DIMC get its message out”, said Matt. Thanks Matt for capturing so many special moments!
The Palm Valley Animal Society is a new partner for us and on any given day, they can have upwards of 1,000 animals in their care! There are so many animals that come to the shelter, there is no way to get them all adopted, finding transportation solutions is a must. “The joy we receive from the early morning load-up of so many animals flying off to our rescue partners has truly been overwhelming. Our partnership with DIMC has been crucial to the success of our lifesaving work,” said the Executive Director, Donna Casamento. You can learn more about their positive impact for animals on their Facebook page.
The Seattle Humane Society has been one of our partners for over 5 years. When talking to a few of their staff members, Jessica Charlton and Sarah Davidson, they both remember an epic rescue adventure from a few years ago. The original rescue was a ground transport from Texas and the vehicle ended up in an accident. We were called to help with the emergency and Peter made an unscheduled flight to Southern Wyoming to pick the animals up. On his way to Seattle, Peter was grounded because of bad weather so Jessica and Sarah traveled over 12 hours out and back to get the animals in Wenatchee, WA. When the animals finally arrived at the shelter, they were greeted by happy adoption families and adoption partners. “It was one of the wildest 48-72 hours we’ve had, but we’re forever grateful for the partnership that we have with DIMC!,” said Sarah Davidson of the experience.
American Pets Alive and Archangel Animal Network are two organizations with some very special partners that we get to work with on a very regular basis! Clare Callison has this to say about the work she is doing in Texas, “I work for American Pets Alive and focus on our national transport and rescue partnerships. I work regularly with organizations that are transporting out or looking to increase their local adoptions. I support shelters with their own transport and adoption programs, and am focused on building a Texas transport “hub” right here at Austin Pets Alive. I believe that there is an adopter out there for every shelter pet, we just need a little transport help to distribute them better!”
Delia McLinden had this to say about her work focused in Texas and our partnership, “After being a dog rescue volunteer and foster parent for 20+ years, I founded Archangel Animal Network in 2018 because I feel so strongly that rescue transport is a way to make an impactful difference NOW. In less than 2 years, we’ve been able to transport 2,000+ dogs to Northern rescue partners. Working with Dog is My CoPilot has been life changing, and I cannot express enough thanks and gratitude for their compassion, hard work and continued commitment to save more animals! Peter, Kara and all the volunteer pilots who dedicate their time are the most passionate and hard working people I know. I am honored to work alongside them to save animals.”
Laredo Animal Care Service has been a partner for 2 year. Angie González has been working with the shelter as a volunteer and helps the staff organize the dogs for rescue day. As you can imagine there are a lot of logistics involved in making sure that the animals are ready for flights. Angie had this to say, “Since day #1 my heart have been full with joy helping for this project. It have been a wonderful opportunity for me. Every single second have been a special memory.” They have rescued over 800 animals in the last 2 years with the help of our free flight services.
Meet our Volunteer Pilots
We have an amazing team of 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 pets! We feel so fortunate to have these amazing pilots who spend long days in the cockpit loading and unloading all our passengers! We couldn’t do this work without them.
Our volunteers and partners are the backbone of our organization. We will be highlighting more stories as we go through the holiday season and hope that you join us on Facebook or Instagram to learn about the men and women who help make our mission possible.