Paralyzed Dog with a Big Heart

Dog Is My CoPilot gives second chances to rescue animals all over the Southwest.  Many of these animals are in good health, but just don’t have a place to call home.  Sometimes, we transport animals like Ellie, that will need extra support,  and a little extra time to find the right forever home.

Green Heart Rescue and a second chance for Ellie

Senior dogs and animals with special needs require extra support and a special touch when our partners are trying to find each one a new family.Green Heart Rescue provides second chances to dogs with special needs, which includes senior dogs which often make up a higher percentage of animals in shelters.  By focusing on dogs that may be overlooked in shelters, Green Heart Rescue is saving dogs that are not normally so lucky.

Ellie teaches us as much as we teach her

Ellie is one of those dogs with special needs that Green Heart Rescue is focused on saving.  Ellie is paralyzed in her rear legs which means she needs to use a dog wheelchair.  Although the wheelchair creates extra steps and adds challenges for her caregivers, she still has a high quality of life and has much to offer a family.

“She’s living her best life with us, where she’ll always know what it means to be a dog, even though she’s paralyzed…to explore the world, to know love from a human and to enjoy the rest of her life in happiness,” said Shannon Benecke, Founder & Director on Green Heart Rescue.  “Ellie is teaching everyone she meets, that physical limitations do not mean that you need to have a limited life.”


Our Partners make animal rescue work

Dog Is My CoPilot is proud of our partners that are able to provide second chances to animals with special needs or medical issues.  Dog Is My CoPilot provides transportation for these rescue animals, but without the support of organizations like Green Heart Rescue, we would not be able to transport animals like Ellie.  As we are about to enter the holiday giving season, please consider making a donation to your local animal adoption center or help us to fly more animals to safety with a  tax-deductible donation to Dog Is My Copilot.


Dog Is My CoPilot on Ruff Talk

On October 9th, Dr. Peter Rork and Kara Pollard were asked to join Ruff Talk.  This Facebook live event was created by Victoria Stillwell who hosts a nationally recognized TV show called “It’s ME or the DOG.”  In this series, Victoria shares different stories of families who are struggling with a misbehaving dog. Victoria helps the families determine why their dog is acting inappropriately.  She then works with each family by sharing tips and tricks to help reduce their dogs troublesome behavior. Since the pandemic hit in March, Victoria has also been hosting a weekly online show called Ruff Talk.

Ruff Talk, a fun filled hour for every animal lover

Ruff Talk is a weekly 30-45 minute Facebook Live conversation every Friday, where dog behavior expert Victoria Stilwell, Heather Paul from State Farm, Hero therapy dog Aladdin (with his fur mom, Michele), and Larissa Wohl from Hallmark Channel’s “Home & Family” bring a dose of fun into your home with celebrity guests and their pets. They talk about pet news, pet peeves, and pet advice, all with a heavy dose of humor.

Dog Is My CoPilot is working on expansion

Kara, the Executive Director of DIMC, and Pilot Peter joined Ruff Talk to discuss Dog Is My CoPilot’s mission and all the logistics that it takes to plan all the rescue flights with their partners across the West.

As we shared in the video above, many of our shelter partners are able to care for more animals because they know Pilot Peter and his flight team will arrive every month and help find new loving homes for up to 80 dogs and cats. 

Adopt! Volunteer! Foster! Donate!

As we approach the holiday season, don’t forget a wonderful point made in the video about adopting an animal from a shelter; when a dog is adopted from a rescue or adoption center, two dogs are actually saved.  The one that is brought home, and the one that takes its place at the shelter.  Pilot Peter provided us with a great reminder that even if you are not able to adopt an animal or make a financial commitment, fostering an animal or volunteering at a shelter can also support animal adoption centers across the US.  

Thank you

Thank you to Victoria Stillwell, Heather Paul and Michele Schaffer-Stevens for inviting our flight team to Ruff Talk. We welcome the Ruff Talk fans to our community and hope that you’ll join us on the next rescue flight. With the help of everyone in our community, Dog Is My CoPilot has rescued close to 17,000 animals in the last 8 years and over 50 rescue flights in 2020 alone!

16,000 animals rescued and counting!

Just over a year ago, we were saving our 12,000th animal.  And here we are…16,000 animals strong with no sign of stopping ✈️ 

Deemed unadoptable

We have rescued animals that are young and healthy and animals that need a second chance at life. Unfortunately, many of our source shelter partners do not have the resources or ability to treat every medical condition or injured animal under their care. These animals can be labeled  “code red” and need special attention and quick transportation to an adoption center. One of our source partners, Laredo Animal Shelter, would love to help every rescued animal that comes through their door, but due to limited medical funding, can’t always provide medical services for every situation. While these dogs are deemed unadoptable in Texas, Dog Is My CoPilot and the Animal Adoption Center (AAC) are excited to bring them to Jackson Hole, Wyoming where they can get the care they need before finding loving, forever homes.


Patty getting a lucky ride

A two year-old german shepherd named Patty is our lucky 16,000 passenger.  Patty tested positive for a tick borne illness and based on that result, Patty was considered unadoptable at our source shelter.  Our partner, The Animal Adoption Center has existing funding that allowed Patty to receive the medical treatment she needed for a happy and prosperous life. A quick life saving flight allowed Patty and other rescued pups to live their best life in the Tetons and elsewhere across the Northwest. 

A partnership that has rescued many

The Animal Adoption Center has been involved with 66 Dog Is My CoPilot rescue flights in 2020. They’ve received and adopted over 300 animals from Texas, Utah, Idaho, California, and Arizona which is double their average intake and adoptions for a year.  When this pandemic began, we were unsure what the animal adoption landscape would be, but we’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response from everyone in the adoption community.

Old Bill’s Reminder

Remember that we are getting towards the end of the Old Bills fundraising season with just  over two weeks to go!  There are so many great organizations that are part of the Old Bill’s Fundraiser like Dog Is My CoPilot and the Animal Adoption Center.  For more information, how to donate, or participate in the virtual run, please go to:


CBS Sunday Morning Feature



Recently, Dog Is My CoPilot and our founder Peter “The Pilot” Rork, were featured in a story for CBS Sunday Morning. The outpouring of support for our organization has been overwhelming, and a reminder about the value of our important work.

The Beginning

About 14 month ago, Conor Knighton, a reporter for CBS Sunday morning, reached out to Dog Is My CoPilot to learn more about our life saving flights. The Sunday Morning show was considering an animal themed show and wanted to include a story from our life saving flights. The reach of a nationally televised show and the possible exposure was exciting, and we were optimistic, but also knew it was probably a longshot.

Laying the Groundwork

Over the course of the next year, we were in continual contact with Conor and routinely shared updates on flights and inspiring stories about animals we helped save. Once COVID hit and our logistics became more challenging, the story became more interesting and the pieces started falling together.  CBS would have loved to be on a flight with our dogs, but because of all the COVID restrictions we had to adapt.

CBS Sunday Morning story link


We found out on Friday August 21st that the decision was made to air our story on Sunday August 23rd. We’re used to working quickly and with short notice, but this was a BIG surprise! We were excited, but couldn’t imagine the amount of loving support we received from animal lovers across the country. Thank you to the thousands of people that have joined our community. ❤️ Welcome, please follow along on our Facebook Page, and stay tuned for updates from our busy flight schedule this summer. 

We are excited for the future of Dog Is My CoPilot and many thanks to Conor Knighton and all the folks at CBS Sunday Morning who made this story possible.


Old Bill’s Fun Run and Dog Is My CoPilot 

For the past 24 years, The Old Bill’s Fun Run has been an integral fundraising partner for many nonprofits in Jackson Hole. Dog Is My CoPilot is no exception.  We have relied on the generous donations from our amazing community of supporters to power our life saving rescue flights.  

A little more about Old Bill’s in 2020

Twenty-four years ago, an anonymous, philanthropic couple, fondly known as Mr. and Mrs. Old Bill, envisioned a collaborative event to support local nonprofits. Fast forward to today, and the Old Bill’s Giving season runs from August 1st till race day on September 12th. Although there will not be your typical race at the end of the fundraising campaign, people are running dispersed and socially distant races across Jackson Hole.  Donations to the Community Foundation are being accepted during this time and there are many ways to get involved and/or give. More information can be found here:

Our Proud Partners in Jackson Hole

The Animal Adoption Center (AAC) and Paws of JH are two other Jackson based animal welfare organizations involved with Old Bill’s Fun Run. Both of these organizations are partners with Dog is My CoPilot and have helped us find loving homes for abandoned and at risk pets this year.  The AAC has accepted animals from 3-4 flights a month this year to save dogs and cats from places like El Paso Texas, Dallas, Texas, Lardeo, Texas and Los Angeles, CA.  

Our dogs getting a Furever home

There are so many great stories of the dogs and cats that have been rescued and have found new homes in our community. One dog, Jack, has made a big impact on our staff and is finally in his furever home. Jack came from the streets of El Paso and was part of a rescue flight with our partners El Paso Animal Services back in May.  When he arrived in Jackson, Paws of JH fostered Jack at the Living Center nursing home where he gave comfort to the many seniors.  He was finally adopted in June and has been camping all summer with his new family!


Show your support

Dog Is My CoPilot is proud to be a participant in the Old Bill’s Fun Run with the Animal Adoption Center and Paws of JH.  Please show your support for the many nonprofits that are participating in this year’s Old Bill’s and even though we can’t be together like normal, we can still support all of the great organizations across greater Jackson Hole.  Please visit the Old Bill’s information page on our website to learn more or make a life saving gift today!


A New Focus on Animal Services

Dog Is My CoPilot has been on the leading edge of animal rescue organizations since its inception in 2012. Our model of flying dogs and cats from overcrowded shelters to no-kill adoption centers has saved thousands of animals and helped them continue their journey home. Our experience led our executive director, Kara Pollard, to be involved in a new working group, within the Humane Animal Support Services called Pet Supply & Demand.

What is the Humane Animal Support Services (HASS)

Humane Animal Support Services (HASS) is a partnership of 30 animal focused  organizations, many of which are already shelter partners with Dog Is My CoPilot.  The goal of HASS is to shift the focus of animal services towards keeping owned pets together with their families and expedite the path for animals out of shelters. HASS is a community collaboration led by American Pets Alive! and powered by incredible partners, including Maddie’s Fund, South Fork Foundation, Michelson Found Animals Foundation, Pedigree Foundation, Petfinder, and Brandywine SPCA.

Pet Supply and Demand

One working group created by HASS, Pet Supply & Demand, is studying ways to determine how to quantify supply and demand of shelter animals in America, creating a more efficient flow from city to city. The team is trying to develop a way to overcome obstacles that exist in the movement of pets by collecting research and data that can help quantify what cities have excess animals (potential euthanasia) and which communities need pets to fill demand from families looking to adopt a new animals.  They will then create a framework for shelters to connect and more effectively communicate around the transport of animals and their care. Finally, with all this information and data, the working group will help solve any obstacles in transportation from both the receiving and contributing shelters.



Stronger Partnerships: Stronger support

We are ecstatic that our executive director, Kara Pollard will be a part of this international working group helping to shape how the world of animal sheltering advances.  Animal rescue and sheltering has completely changed over the past few months, with community based fostering becoming the norm. It’s a big shift, and not without its growing pains, but it’s one that the animal services industry has been hoping would happen over the past few years.  Dog Is My CoPilot will be able to lean on these new partnerships to rescue more dogs across the southwest and we’ll share our learning to help other organizations in different geographic locations.


Building partners and saving more lives together

Building partners →  growing flights

Many municpal shelters across the country are overcrowded with amazing adoptable animals. When we visit our partner shelters, we can see first hand, large and medium sized dogs are typically the most overlooked and the hardest animals to adopt, which results in these animals being in shelters for a very long time. We  fly out of Los Angeles, where hundreds of dogs are  waiting in shelters often times for months at a time while they wait for an outlet or adopter. 

Our New Partner in L.A.

Paws for Life K9 Rescue is a non-profit in L.A. that’s connected with Dog Is My CoPilot to help coordinate rescue flights out of Los Angeles. Paws For Life K9 Rescue pulls its dogs from L.A shelters. Often, they choose dogs in need of socialization and training which they place with their incarcerated trainers throughout California State Prisons. They do this because they can dedicate all of their time to their rehabilitation. Despite facing lengthy sentences behind bars, the trainers have forged a new model for rehabilitation and have taken their learnings into their lives after prison. Paws for Life goes above and beyond by evaluating the dogs and even organizing play group assessments. The organization helps to take videos and pictures of the potential dogs for transport and send this information to the receiving organization so they know more about each animal before it arrives and is looking for a home. This extra step is key for receiving partners, which helps provide even more information on large breed dogs that will lead to a more successful placement and ultimately a home!

A Dog that Tells the Story

Meet Stegosaurus. He’s a six year old blind pitbull and is an example of the many medium to large dogs that can be a challenge to adopt. When there are so many dogs to choose from in large shelters in L.A, dogs with special needs like Stegosaurus are hard to find homes. It takes partners that are willing and able to collaborate on these challenging cases to find new families willing to adopt these loving animals. We recently flew Stegosaurus to One Tail at a TIme – Portland where he is waiting to find his family.  

If you’re considering adopting an animal, please visit our partners page to see the organizations we partner with and  learn more about pets available for adoption! 

The start of a Long Term Partnership 

Dog Is My CoPilot is excited to have so many great partnerships in the greater Los Angeles area. A selection of our new partners include:  L.A. Animal Services, a city run organization that maintains 6 shelters across L.A and is one of that largest municipal shelters in the US; Angel City Pit Bull, a foster-based only program that was founded to address the problem of overpopulation and high euthanasia rate of pit bull terrier type dogs in Los Angeles shelters; Best Friends Animal Society – Los Angeles, who did all the health checks for the animals on our last transport, and have been running the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals.

Let’s Not Forget the Kittens

Along with Stegosaurus and 18 other dogs, we transported 102 kittens from L.A. to Portland Oregon on our last flight. We’re in the middle of kitten season and they’re overflowing in shelters across L.A. Managing cat populations in large cities is a real challenge. We are proud supporters of programs like the  Spay Neuter Project of L.A., the largest nonprofit spay and neuter animal welfare organization in California.  This organization is trying to maintain the population as well as get kittens into loving homes in other places in the country.  Another amazing kitten partners included,  Perry’s Place Heaven on Earth and Kitty Bungalow!

Collaboration is Key

Working together saves lives and thanks to the amazing partnerships above, 102 kittens and 19 dogs will be continuing their journey home this week! We’ve covered hundreds of miles to deliver this plane load to Portland, Oregon, Boise, Idaho and Coeur d’Alene, ID and we could not make these flights possible without organizations like Paws for Life K9 Rescue.  We look forward to growing this and other partnerships in the flights, and years to come.

Two Cane Corsos, far away from home

Typically when Dog Is My CoPilot runs a flight of rescue animals, these dogs and cats are homeless. We are flying animals that have been abandoned or found on the street and we are delivering every animal to adoption centers, where they’ll find loving homes across the northwest. The average dog we save is 20-70lbs and we fly a variety of breeds. Recently, we had a unique flight when two massive Cane Corso needed a lift!  

Escaped and Taken

The two Cane Corsos, Ira and Ty were in their yard in Odessa, Texas with a locked gate and tall fencing. It is unclear how they got out of the yard, but they were found by a family visiting from Utah. Instead of turning them into the local Animal Control, they decided to take the 2 dogs home with them to Vernal, Utah. The female, Ira, did not get along with the family’s other small dogs, so they turned Ira and Ty into their local shelter. This shelter has a euthanizing program due to overcrowding and these large dogs are often hard to adopt. The shelter did discover that the dogs were chipped and the owners were notified, so Ira and Ty were safe for now.

Logistics to get Ira and Ty home

Although the family was elated that Ira and Ty were ok, they were not in a position to come and get the dogs which were now a long drive away from their home. The logistics of transporting 2 very large dogs, staying in hotels, and traveling with their two young children, seemed like an impossible task. The dogs were becoming at-risk of being euthanized before a group of local animal rescue partners came to save the day. The partners tried to coordinate ground transport for the dogs, but because they were over 1000 miles away, this seemed to be impractical. Before long, Nancy O’Conner at Paws for Life contacted Dog Is My CoPilot to see if we could help.

Big Dog comes in for the Rescue

In order for a rescued animal to be transported on Dog Is My CoPilot’s airplane, Big Dog, each and every animal must be cleared for flight. Our preflight checklist  includes vaccinations and health certificates for every pet. The staff at the Uintah Shelter in Vernal, Utah sprang into action to get the logistics arranged and even drove the dogs to the vet in their personal cars. The staff volunteered to bring the Cane Corso’s to the airport early in the morning to have everything ready for our predawn flight. The Big Dog made a couple extra stops to transport Ira and Ty on its way to Laredo, Texas to pick up another round of rescue animals.

Going the extra mile

Normally we do not get the opportunity to bring dogs back to their original owners. But why not help a family that wants their dogs back? Getting these two large dogs out of the shelter, that already have a home, creates space for 2 more animals in desperate need of a loving furever home. In the long run, by getting these Cane Corsos home, we are able to help more animals that are not as fortunate.  

More to come 

Earlier this year, we shared with you that we’ve saved over 14,000 animals and we’re on track to reach 15,000 lives saved.  Stay tuned, we’ll be sharing the incredible story of lucky dog number 15,000 soon.  


15,000 Animals Rescued

This week, we rescued our 15,000th animal and are celebrating with a $15,000 matching campaign. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact people and pets across our country, the need to transport animals from shelters to loving homes only grows. With your help, we can continue this life saving work and keep the Big Dog in the air.

A Matching Celebration

A few generous supporters have provided an amazing $15,000 match to celebrate saving the lives of 15,000 animals.  Every dollar raised will be matched by these donors with the opportunity for us to raise $30,000!  Will you join us today and help us complete this incredible campaign?

We have rescued our 15,000th animal 🐶 and need your help to complete a $15,000 matching campaign to celebrate the…

Posted by Dog Is My CoPilot, Inc. on Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Lucky #15,000

S’more was part of a well loved group of 17 animals in El Paso Texas. Her owner passed away this spring and the family was overwhelmed by the care needed to support the pets and called on El Paso Animal Services for help. But as you can imagine, the shelter did not have space for this influx of animals.  

El Paso Animal Services contacted us and we arranged a rescue flight! We have doubled our trips to Texas this year with the help of the Petco Foundation and 3 new volunteer pilots. S’more and the rest of the 100+ animal passengers on that transport flight are now safely with one of our partners, One Tail at a Time-Portland, Oregon and waiting to be adopted into their furever home.

The Big Dog is Getting a Workout

We are fortunate and grateful that we now have 4 pilots that are donating their time to fly our rescue airplane, The Big Dog.  Many of our flights have been 2,000 mile round trip adventures to Texas where the need is growing to save animals.  With all of this flying, we need your help to keep the gas tank full. If you give today, your gift will be doubled and counted towards our matching campaign celebrating 15,000 lives saved. 

More Pilots More Animal Lives Saved

Every year, as we work closely with shelters, our team meets loving animals that need to be flown to their furever homes. With more demand for our lifesaving flights, we need more pilots.    Don’t worry, Peter is not going anywhere, just getting a little assistance from three animal lovers. This year, we’re planning more flights than ever before and none of this would be possible without the support of our new team members. 

Meet the New Pilots!

Captain Blue

Dr. Brent Blue is an original board member of DIMC and is an enthusiastic supporter of rescue animals. Captain Blue is an Airline Transport Pilot rated aviator with over 9,000 hours of flight time. He practices medicine in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and has three adult children. His whole family has grown up with dogs of all types and has already flown his first flight. He is a FAA designated Aviation Medical Examiner and consults for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. In addition to his extensive aviation experience, Captain Blue is an avid skier, mountain biker, traveler, and photographer. He recently expressed his excitement when asked about flying for DIMC by stating, “dogs are incredible animals and bring such great joy to people.  How can we not rescue as many as possible?”

Jeff Carter

Captain Carter

Jeff Carter works as a Test pilot and instructor for a DOD aircraft manufacturer. He spends five to six months deployed overseas per year, supporting US military programs. 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 while he’s in California. 


Captain Colton

Craig Colton

Craig Colton loves dogs plain and simple. After a career in aviation as a commercial pilot flying all over the world, he is honored to be in a position with DIMC to help transport dogs and cats to their furever home. He has personally adopted many wonderful rescue dogs over the years and is now excited to be on the other side helping dogs and cats find loving homes. After monitoring his first couple of flights, Captain Colton appears to have a goal of breaking the sound barrier in our Cessna Caravan.  We’re not sure if the Big Dog is up to the challenge 🐶

Last but not least: Captain Rork

Peter, “The Pilot”, is an East Coast refugee, who always believed that he was switched at birth with a kid from New Jersey. After working his way through medical school as a pilot, he practiced Orthopaedic Surgery for more than thirty years. Instead of retiring to a golf course, he has returned to the skies as our Chief Pilot. Peter holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating and is qualified to fly single and multi engine aircraft as well as seaplanes. He is also a certified flight instructor. Transporting animals to furever homes in a Cessna Turbo 206 Stationair and Cessna Grand Caravan, he says that the view from his new office beats any other.

How does this work get done?

These three new volunteer pilots and Peter have already donated hundreds of hours flying rescued animals all over the west coast for DIMC. This important work would not be possible without the generous support of the Petco Foundation. Dog Is My CoPilot received a $250K lifesaving grant from the Petco Foundation that allowed us to train our new pilots and increase the number of lives we save each year. Having rescued over 14,000 animals, which is part of the more than 6 million pets that the Petco Foundation has helped rescue, we feel fortunate to be their partner.

More stories to come

Dog Is My CoPilot has recently hit our 14,000th animal rescued and 15,000 is right around the corner.  Keep your eye out for more exciting stories about our new pilots, the travels of an animal crate, and the logistics required to make just one flight possible, let alone dozens a year!