Building partners and saving more lives together

Building partners →  growing flights

County-run animal shelters across the Southwest are overcrowded and bursting at the seams. When we visit our partner shelters, we’re always saddened to see the number of large and medium sized dogs that 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 often fly out of Los Angeles, where hundreds of dogs are at risk for being euthanized because of overcrowding in local animal shelters. 

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 to help even more large breed dogs having more information about each dog. 

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 view the loving rescue pets looking for a new home in our adoption directory. (link to directory) 

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 awesome kitten partner that we partnered with was Heaven on Earth!

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 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.  

 

California Littles Camp A Partnership with the Humane Society of Western Montana 

Many of the animals we relocate to Montana end up participating in the Critter Camp at the Humane Society of Western Montana.  This program, which is designed for 7-11 year olds, helps children build a sense of kindness, respect and responsibility for all animals and life.

Each camp runs Tuesday through Friday allowing participants to meet new friends while caring for shelter pets, build self-esteem and confidence, in both two-legged and four-legged participants.  During the week, participants care for adoptable cats, participate in clicker training dogs, and baking dog biscuits!  Kids leave camp inspired to be animal ambassadors at home, in their neighborhood and in their community, while sharing what they have learned with their family, friends and neighbors.

 
The Humane Society of Western Montana has programs for older kids!

The Junior Pet Trainer Camp allows 12-14 year olds to work behind the scenes with certified Professional Dog Trainers and assist HSWM staff.  They help with behavior modification, clicker training and upon completion of camp, will be eligible to walk and train shelter dogs. This is another example of the importance of involving young people with shelters and allowing them to help in the animal adoption process.

Thanks to this amazing partnership dozens of small dogs and puppies will have a second chance to find a loving forever home.  Our overcrowded partner shelters in the southwest often do not have the space to house additional animals and struggle to find adopters in their local community.  To avoid needless euthanasia, these animals receive a second chance with Dog Is My CoPilot and the Humane Society of Western Montana where they will be part of an exceptional program and find loving forever homes in Montana.

To learn more about the camp visit: http://myhswm.org/services/humane-education/critter-camp

Be part of the change for shelter animals

Covid-19 and helping shelter animals

We know that Coronavirus is a concerning topic for people everywhere, including pet lovers. The virus is impacting every part of our life and can be especially worrisome for animal lovers. 

Many cities and states are issuing stay at home ordinances to #flattenthecurve of coronavirus.  Animal adoption centers are in turn seeing a reduction in visits, volunteers, and adoptions at their centers.  Many shelters have had to close completely except for essential staff to care for the animals. The dramatic downturn of adoptions, as people are avoiding being in public places, are leading shelters to be overloaded with animals of all types and no room to care for them.

Fostering: How you can help

As shelters adoption centers across the country reach maximum capacity, most non-essential personnel at county shelters have been asked to work remotely. This means that most county run shelters have minimal staff onsite to feed, exercise and play with the animals. As a result, the need for emergency foster families is growing. 

By fostering, you’ll not only save a life of an animal by creating space for another homeless pet, but you’ll ensure that the animal you foster has a loving family and is well cared for during this crisis.  Because of the uncertainty with COVID 19, you might be asked to foster an animal for up to six weeks. Foster families are needed for all types of pets especially medium to large dogs and those with medical issues.  Please contact your local animal adoption center to find out how you can sign-up to become an emergency foster today.

We are by no means the experts on the coronavirus but there are many resources out there.  Currently, scientists believe that pets are not able to transfer the coronavirus. We encourage you to stay updated on the latest research and information by following the World Health Organization while they try to stay ahead of the developing story and publish additional research. 

 

Rescue updates for a smile

The ever evolving news stories about the coronavirus has made it hard to find the small joys in the world. Did you know that animal shelters have been impacted from the changes in our society? Since many states and cities have issued stay at home ordinances, the shelters are seeing fewer visitors, fewer volunteers and fewer adoptions. But they are still working tirelessly to get animals to forever homes. If you’re considering adopting a new pet, our partner adoption centers are trying to find homes for a growing surplus of animals of all shapes and sizes.

If you’re looking for a bit of inspiring news, check out the stories below about our passengers that have found a new loving forever home.

Buster’s new digs!

Buster was found on the side of the road in New Mexico after being hit by a car. Two good samaritans took him to the vet not knowing if he would survive the night. After a rough patch Buster has found a family and is thriving!

Buster truly is a gentle giant. At 70lbs of love, he thinks he is a lap dog. Totally unaware of his size, Buster will plop himself on your lap at any time to make himself comfortable. He is also always in the mood for some scratches and cuddles. From daily nightly walks, being cozy at the foot of the couch, to anxiously awaiting kids from their day at school, Buster is at home.

 

Archibald finds a family 💙

Sometimes it is just meant to be. When Archibald (formally Duke Kaboom) found his family, they were a little apprehensive. Two thirds of the humans had never had a dog before and it was essential to find a dog that had the perfect personality and temperament. Enter the sweetheart goofball, Archibald Jones!  Archibald flew on the Big Dog and landed with our awesome partners One Tail at a Time PDX and found his family soon after!

 

Although Archibald comes from the warmer climate of El Paso, TX, he has really adapted to the rainy winter days of Portland, OR. He enjoys the smells and sights of the neighborhood, picking treats at the local pet store, and even the family cat! Archi is an active pet but is learning through rewards and practicing manners training. Watching Archi come out of his shell and bond with his new family has been a delight. Archibald is family.

“As our first family dog, (and the first dog ever for 2/3 of the humans in the family) it was essential that found a dog with the perfect personality and temperament to compliment us. Enter the sweetheart goofball, Archibald Jones (formally Duke Kaboom) who couldn’t be a better fit.

When he’s not enjoying the deep relaxation of “his” couch, Archi can be found taking in the sights and smells of our neighborhood, getting pets and choosing treats at the local pet store, along with playing with his many toys. He’s not spoiled though. Archi earns his rewards by actively participating in manners training, learning to cohabitate with one grouchy house cat, and being the absolute best boy.

The cold and rainy Portland winter days have taken some getting used to for all of us, particularly our pupper from El Paso, but the joy of watching Archi come out of his shell and bond with everyone in the family, (yes, even the cat a little bit) has warmed our hearts.

Our family will forever be thankful to OTAT PDX and Dog is My CoPilot for all the work they do to help wonderful dogs find their forever family. ”

Cheers,

Colleen, Ryan and Violet (caregivers of Dippers and Archibald Jones)

You can make a forever home!

We hope that by sharing these stories of love during a time of crisis, others will be inspired to help shelter animals just like Buster and Archibald. Animal shelters across our nation are making the hard decision to close their doors to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic. Let’s work together to ensure animals in shelters across our nation are safe. To find a shelter or rescue near you, visit this page.

13,000 Animals Saved: Our Life Saving Summer

We’ve had an amazing summer and recently flew our 13,000th animal to safety ❤️❤️❤️

This sweet boy flew on the Big Dog this week to our partner rescue group Bounce Animal Rescue. Busta was hit by a car on September 10th in New Mexico and was found covered in blood and couldn’t walk. The rescue team thought he would have to be euthanized and rushed him to the local animal hospital. After lots of love, a bath, and meds, Busta was slowly recovering and stole the hearts of our partners at Amazing Grace Pet Rescue. He had a lot of head trauma, cracked jaw and broken bones in his face and still faced a few weeks of recovery.

 

Busta fully recovered at the end of September and was flown to Colorado on Monday as the 13,000th passenger with Dog Is My CoPilot!

We can’t express enough thanks to Amazing Grace Pet Rescue for saving Busta’s life and to Bounce Animal Rescue for accepting him into your program to help find him a loving forever home! Busta, like most pit bull and pit mixes was a great candidate for adoption. Like any dog, it’s important to have patience when welcoming a new animal into your family, stay positive and focus on training. Finding a home for pit bulls can be challenging and they’re the number one breed euthanized in shelters across the country. Unfortunately, pit bulls are often overlooked by potential adopters because of myths and misconceptions about the breed. Next time you visit your local adoption center, take a minute to see if you can find any pit bulls and you might discover the perfect animal for your family.

Thank you! We could not do this without the support of everyone in our community. If you would like to make a life saving gift today and help us fly more animals to safety  you can do so here: www.dogcopilot.org/donate

A huge thank you to the Petco Foundation for their support and sponsoring our flight that flew our 13,000th passenger to safety !

 

Celebrating 12,000 animals saved!

This week, we flew our 12,000th passenger to safety!! ❤️❤️❤️   Thumbelina, an eight week old chihuahua, who was abandoned on a deserted road, now has the chance of a lifetime to find her forever home! 

The Big Dog picked up Thumbelina in Hobbs, NM and flew her to safety. As you can see, she’s fitting in perfectly with her new foster family. 

Thank you to everyone that has helped save our first 12,000 lives: shelters, rescue groups and all of you! If you’d like to join the celebration, please consider making a $12 gift in honor of this milestone. 

We’re back in the air today flying rescued dogs and cats to safety. Don’t miss this Facebook post from Pilot Peter with in-air updates from our most recent flight

 

How Dog Is My CoPilot Transports Dogs To Rescue

Every day over 2,000 healthy dogs and cats are euthanized in our nations shelters— the result of too many animals and too few homes. At Dog Is My Co Pilot, we are working to reduce euthanasia rates by transporting animals from places with overcrowded shelters to adoption centers in geographic regions where loving families are waiting to adopt them.

In our short history, we have flown over 11,000 animals to safety.

DIMC flies as many animals as possible in a single flight to maximize efficiency.  DIMC does not charge our partners organizations for our transport services. As opposed to long-distance ground transportation or the red tape of commercial flights, transporting animals via private aircraft is efficient and affordable — just $50 per animal, per flight. But resources are always in demand and DIMC looks to the public to keep flying.

DIMC’s success is due to its dedicated team of on the ground volunteers, partner animal rescue organizations and financial contributors. Here is a list of frequently asked questions to provide more background on our service:

Where Do We Fly?

We fly from overcrowded shelters, primarily in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California to destination animal rescue organizations located primarily in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

What Type Of Aircraft Do We Fly?

Dog Is My CoPilot operates a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, aka ‘The Big Dog’. Pilot Peter says, “with a 675HP turbine engine up front, there is more than enough power to fly abandoned dogs and cats to their new homes!”

How Many Animals Can You Transport On One Flight?

The Big Dog was retrofitted from a 12-passenger plane to one that can carry up to 250 animals dependent on animal and crate size.

Is It Safe For Animals To Fly?

Each animal that is transported is required to have a health certificate, vaccinations and have been examined by a veterinarian prior to flight. All pet passengers travel in crates to ensure their safety while flying.

What Type of Animals Do You Fly? 

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

If you have any other qeustions, please do not hesitate to contact us flightupdates@dogcopilot.org  

 

DIMC Partner Animal Adoption Center “Sleepover” Program

A new trend of ‘pet sleepovers’ is on the rise with animal lovers in the US.

Pet lovers are enjoying a little extra time with animals from local Adoption centers in their homes. These sleepovers, often over weekends, helps each animal understand what life is like as a pet in a family home.

Recently, our partner organization, Animal Adoption Centerwas featured in a local newspaperand explained how the program has increased animal adoption rates.

Nearly 400 community members who take the Animal Adoption Center’s dogs for “sleepovers.” From reducing stress to increasing adoptability to improving behavior, foster homes provide a long list of benefits to homeless pets.

Each day and for weekends — Friday through Tuesday — foster caregivers pick up the animals between 4 and 6 p.m. at the Adoption Center, where they are provided with food and a crate, harness and leash. The dogs are dropped back off between 9 a.m. and noon the next day when potential adopters can meet and walk them.

Dog Is My CoPilot(DIMC) collaborates with partners like  Animal Adoption Centerto reduce euthanasia rates by transporting animals from places with overcrowded shelters to adoption centers in other geographic regions where loving families are waiting to adopt them.

 The best part is that DIMC does not charge our partners organizations for our transport services.  As opposed to long-distance ground transportation or the red tape of commercial flights, transporting animals via private aircraft is efficient and affordable — just $50 per animal, per flight. 

Have you ever had a dog or cat sleep over? How often do you visit your local adoption center?

If you want to support Dog is My CoPilot or want to know more about us, please do not hesitate to contact us flightupdates@dogcopilot.org.

7 Ideas For Traveling With Pets

Flying with dogs, or any pet, has always been a stressful experience for pet owners and animials.

This month Peter Rork, Founder of Dog Is My CoPilot, flew his 11,000th passenger and recorded his 8,000th flight hour – that’s like spending 333 days or 11 months in the air.  At Dog is My CoPilot, we transport animals from overcrowded shelters to adoption centers in other geographic regions where loving families are waiting to adopt the animals. Here are some helpful ideas which we’ve learned over the years which might help you and your pet fly safely.  If you want to learn more about our rescue flights, sign-up here to receive an email alert about our life saving flights.

Regardless of how you’re flying with your pet, here are a few ideas to help improve the experience.

Obtain health certificate for your pet

 A health certificate provides assurance that your pet is safe to travel. Plan your vet visit before you travel to avoid any unnecessary problems or flight delays and provide yourself with the confidence that your pet is healthy and ready to fly.

Understand when to choose Cabin or Cargo

When traveling on a commercial airline, pets can fly three ways: in the cabin, as checked baggage or as manifest (air) cargo.

In order to travel in the cabin, your pet must be able to stand up and turn around in the carrier, and the carrier will need to fit under a passenger seat. Policies vary by airline, so check the regulations prior to booking a flight. If you’re traveling with a cat, the cabin is usually the best choice. If your pet is a service or comfort animal, different requirements apply but these rules too have changed in the last year.

For dogs weighing more than 11 to 13 pounds (including their carrier), flying as checked baggage or air cargo might be the only option. The main difference between checked baggage and air cargo is how your pet is processed by the airlines.

In air cargo, you must check in and pick up your pet at the cargo facility of your airline. The facility is generally located at the airport, but not at the terminal where passengers check-in.

On the other hand, if your pet is traveling as checked baggage, check-in is at the ticket counter and pick-up is at the baggage claim in the airport.

Know the fees and book early

Reserving space for your pet is best done earlier rather than later because airlines limit the number of pets onboard each plane. Have the details of your desired flight ready for the agent, and be ready with a second choice, especially when flying around holidays or other busy periods in the year..

Once your flights are assigned, you’ll be asked to pay an additional pet travel fee, which ranges from $75 to $125. The fee is charged for each way of travel, so a round-trip flight means paying the pet travel fee twice.

Invest in a Pet Crate Training

A crate is your pet’s safe place during travel, so you should spend the month before travel crate-training your pet, getting them used to being inside the crate and letting them know that it is a safe, comfortable space. If you are unsure about the right crate for your situation, we suggest crates that are:

  • Large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around comfortably.
  • Sturdy and free of obstructions or features that could harm your pet.
  • Ventilated on three or four sides with little restrictions to airflow.
  • Clearly labeled with your name, cell phone number, address and feeding and hydration instructions for your pet.
  • Marked with a sign that reads, “Live Animal,” with arrows showing which way is upright.
  • Lined with pet pads or shredded newspaper in case your pet goes to the bathroom in the crate.

If your pet is traveling with you in the cabin, soft-sided carriers are a better option than hard-sided carriers. Taking off, you must put your pet under the seat in front of you. Soft-sided carriers will compress, so that you can more easily fit the carrier under the space in the seat in front of you.

Prepare a Packing List

Packing for both yourself and your furry companion might seem complicated. To avoid forgetting any important documents or items, make a packing list. Here are some of the must-have items for pet travel:

●     Your pet’s certificate of veterinary inspection and medical records.

●     ID tags on your pet’s crate and collar with both your permanent address and vacation address(es).

●     Contact information of your regular veterinarian and an emergency contact at your destination.

●     Everyday essentials like food and treats, food and water bowls, collar, leash and harness, and a favorite toy or blanket. If you’re flying with a cat, you also may want to bring along litter and a portable litter tray

Don’t Forget About Hydration

Although you should avoid feeding your pet four to six hours before travel, hydration is very important. If your pet is traveling in the cargo hold, we often encourage families to try freezing water in a bowl to reduce spillage or buying an attachable water bottle for the crate. For cabin travel, pack a water bowl in your travel bag and offer your pet water throughout the travel day.

International Travel and Microchips

You may want to consider microchipping your pet before your trip. For some countries, including those in the European Union, pets must be microchipped if visiting from another country. Don’t foget to take time to familiarize yourself with each countires policy on foreign pets.. If you don’t meet their requirements, you and your pet may face difficulties upon arrival.

Summary

When it comes to traveling with pets, many familiies and pet owners image a stressful and difficult travel experience. Remember, it doesn’t have to be this way — advance preparation often improves the eperience for your both the pet and owner.