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The Sequel Flying into Action

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.

Expanding to Save More Lives

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. 

DONATE TODAY

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! 

Dog Is My CoPilot partners with Austin Pets Alive! to save Texas dogs and cats

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.

Welcome to the Dog Is My CoPilot team

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. 

Flying into the New Year

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!

Rescue 21,000

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!

Celebrating a Lifesaving Year

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.

 

Giving Thanks to our Volunteers and Partners

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.

Rolly and Polly Have Found Forever Homes

Every year, we fly thousands of animals to new homes and rarely do we know their journey. Join our Giving Tuesday matching campaign this November 30th, and help us continue to be “wheels up”!  Let us show you how Rolly and Polly beat all expectations and are thriving in Montana!

The Backstory

We first met this pair of Pitbulls when their health was fading and we shared their story on our blog back in July. They had many medical issues including, mange, a UTI, and respiratory issues. They were on the euthansia list at Fort Worth Animal Care and Control before a Vet Tech brought them home to jump start their road to recovery. These two pitbulls were inseparable at the shelter in Texas, but would require specialized care if they had a chance to survive.

We flew them to our partners, Life Savers Animal Rescue in Montana. Both were welcomed into foster homes where they received treatments for their medical issues and hopefully find a home.We have been anxiously waiting to hear where they ended up and are pleased to say that both are happy, healthy and adopted with loving families!

Polly heads to the Ocean

Polly is loving her life as an only child in Whitefish, Montana where she is able to join her parents every day in the office and is loved by all the employees. Polly has lots of energy but still enjoys taking naps in the sun on “her” couch at home. The family recently went on a road trip to the Redwoods and the Pacific Ocean, a first for Polly. She enjoyed trying to eat the waves in the Pacific Ocean and exploring the dense pine forest with her new family.

Rolly Loves Montana, just not the cold

Rolly has found a forever home and is loving every minute. He is an only child and lives in Kalispell, Montana and is the apple of his moms eye. After being born in Texas, Rolly is having a hard time getting used to the cold in the mountains of Montana, but his mom gives him lots of blankets and jackets to keep him warm! He has been working on tricks and is getting very good at sit, stay, come, shake, down, and crawl. He lives for morning walks. And he’s *almost* okay with cold weather.

Support our lifesaving work

Saving animals like Rolly and Polly is only possible because of the loving community that supports our 501c3 non-profit and mission. We provide our flight transportation service to animal shelter partners and adoption centers free of charge to help reduce the number of animals at risk in shelters. With the support of our community, we have rescued over 20,000 animals and we are excited to rescue 20,000 more with your support.

Your donation will be matched so your generosity will go twice as far!  Donate to save more animals here >

Thank you in advance for your support!

Help Pets Take Flight to Their Forever Homes with These Gifts

Wondercide Brings their Fierce Love® to Another Texas Fight!

Dog Is My CoPilot is thankful for all our partnerships and we are extremely thankful for organizations like Wondercide, who have made a direct impact on our ability to save more animals in Texas.

What is Wondercide?

Wondercide is based in Austin, Texas and is the leader in safe & effective, plant-based pest protection for pets, people, and homes. Their products are made from naturally-derived, high quality USA-sourced ingredients. Their product lines are gentle enough to use safely on pets, families and homes, but powerful enough to Protect Your Pack from pests. In addition to its flagship line of pest protection products, Wondercide offers a full collection of natural pet care products. We love their products so much, we even use them to clean the Big Dog after every rescue flight!

 

Fierce Love® takes flight to save pets.

During the last holiday season, Wondercide sold a limited edition holiday sample pack. They donated a portion of those sales to support Dog Is My CoPilot and our rescue flights in their home state of Texas. This generous campaign was a resounding success and helped us fly over fifty dogs to safety on the Big Dog. 

At 4:30AM, on May 24th, 2021, the Wondercide powered rescue flight was getting ready for take off. Before sunrise, fifty animals from multiple Texas shelters were being loaded into the Big Dog on a small tarmac in Abilene, Texas. These fifty furry friends had just won the golden ticket to freedom and a rescue flight. 

The majority of these animals were headed to Portland, OR to our partner organization, One Tail at a Time. Part of the Wondercide team met Dog Is My CoPilot at the end of the trip in Oregon and were blown away by the excitement and emotion of rescue day. One Tail at a Time has a program called DogMatch which lines up adopters with rescue animals before they arrive. When these pups leave the airport, they are heading right to their forever homes. One volunteer had this to say about the experience, 

Once all the dogs were out[of the plane], they were united with their new families just on the other side of the fence. One by one, names were called out and the hand-off was made. The emotion I felt watching these pups come off that plane then jumping into the backseat of a car destined to a new home was a feeling I will never forget.”

Holiday gift boxes that help save pets

Wondercide is back and spreading their Fierce Love® to help fund another Texas rescue flight in 2022!  Wondercide has created another amazing limited edition sampler box for you and your animal companions. This year’s sampler has a couple of extra goodies to share with your favorite four legged friend. The holiday box includes a 2022 calendar filled with rescue stories and animal updates; a cedarwood pet tag for your pup or your keychain; and plant-powered pest control sprays in exclusive scents. We are overjoyed that Wondercide is going to donate a portion of the profits of this holiday box to support a life saving rescue flight! 

These little boxes make great gifts for all your pet-loving friends and family. Purchase them while supplies last directly from Wondercide today! 

Thank you Wondercide!

We are fortunate to have Wondercide’s support and are already looking forward to planning out their rescue flight!

Thank you for supporting our mission

Our rescue flights wouldn’t exist without the support of hundreds of volunteers and our many shelter partners. Last month, Jenna from the Animal Adoption Center jumped aboard the Big Dog and was able to spend a day with our shelter partners in Texas and helped to fly over 60 dogs to their new homes. 

Jenna is the Advancement Director for the Animal Adoption Center (AAC) in Jackson, WY and has worked directly with our partner in Texas. She’s helped to manage and rehome many of the animals from the Laredo Animal Control Services in Laredo, Texas. Jenna wanted to understand the whole process of our transport services and make a personal connection to the people that she’s worked with at the shelter in Laredo. On this trip, she was able to experience the full spectrum of what a rescue flight entails.

Rescue Flights are a marathon, not a sprint.

Jenna met one of our volunteer pilots and board members, Dr. Brent Blue, at 7AM the morning before the planned rescue flight from Texas. The first step was repositioning the Big Dog to southern Texas which is about 7 hours of flying time south of our homebase. They flew from Driggs, Idaho to Laredo, Texas with a stop in Morehead, Texas for fuel, coffee and the bathroom. Once they landed in Laredo around 4PM that afternoon, pilot Brent Blue, prepped the Big Dog for the next morning and was soon off to bed while Jenna went to visit the local animal shelter

Jenna was spending her birthday with Dog Is My CoPilot and was greeted with a special celebration from our partners at the shelter where she could connect with the volunteers and staff, and meet many of the animals that were going on the flight the next day.

 

Rescue day starts early 

When Jenna went off to bed around 8pm, she realized that many of the volunteers at the shelter would stay up all night to prepare the animals for the flight the next day. The shelter volunteers and staff were at the airport by 2AM getting the animals prepped for take off. Animals are put in crates, sorted in dropoff order, and lined up on the tarmac for packing. After a short night of sleep, Jenna arrived at 4AM and everything was all set. The animals are loaded by volunteers with the last to be dropped off getting on the plane first. With the team effort, the Big Dog was packed and ready for takeoff by 4:30AM. It was already getting hot on the tarmac, so being quick to take off is vitally important. After a long night, many of these volunteers in Texas were then headed into work at their day jobs!  What amazing dedication!

The dogs are super noisy as the plane takes off but as the Big Dog reaches altitude, most animals quiet down and fall to sleep.  According to Jenna,  this was when she first noticed the smells coming from the cargo hold. These are shelter dogs and many have gone to the bathroom in their crates, so the smell is pungent! 

By 9AM the rescue flight had made it back to Morehead, Texas for a quick refuel and a human bathroom break.  The dogs get super noisy on the way down to the ground and right after takeoff but settle down again once in the air.  

On this rescue flight, Jenna and Dr. Brent Blue flew to Fort Collins, CO, then Boise ID, and after a small delay and rerouting because of weather, back to Driggs, ID with all the animals safely unloaded and on their way to forever homes. Jenna realized that by the time she had got back home early that evening, she had spent 22 of the last 36 hours in the air. Needless to say, Jenna was exhausted when she arrived home. It is hard to describe the experience of a rescue flight without being on one first hand. Jenna had this to say about her experience; 

“Traveling with Dog Is My CoPilot offered a whole new perspective and appreciation for animal rescue and more importantly the people behind it. Working at one of the receiving shelters, it is hard to comprehend what these southern shelters are facing without seeing it for yourself. I feel so honored to see the full circle of a Dog Is My CoPilot flight from choosing dogs to join a rescue flight in the beginning, to dropping them off in different destinations around the country at the end. Ultimately, we get to see some rescued animals find their forever homes through the Animal Adoption Center. It truly was an experience of a lifetime.”

Our Pilots are touched by these rescues too

Listening to Jenna’s excitement when she made it home got us thinking about what these rescue flights mean to our pilots too.  We recently got to chat with Dr. Brent Blue who flew with Jenna on this flight.  

“There’s nothing more rewarding than flying dogs and cats from overcrowded shelters where their lives are in danger to adoptive homes in the northern part of the country. They are wonderful animals and I have to restrain myself otherwise I would have 10 dogs at home. In addition, these animals change the lives of the people who receive them.”

Our volunteer pilots are true heros and play such an important part in our operations. The distance they travel is long, fraught with unexpected challenges but nevertheless a few of our pilots complete two to three flights a week!