At the heart of the rescue season, our two airplanes have been wheels up nearly seven days week. As the demand for transportation services grows, we recently achieved a significant milestone by flying our 30,000th passenger. We are excited to share Hercules’ story, a delightful addition to our rescue family!
Hercules’s journey began in Presidio, Texas, a small town on the US-Mexico border. The Presido Animal Shelter is a 6-kennel steel shed with no supplies, no budget for veterinary care, no volunteers and no adoptions (just one dog adoption in the last 24 months). Without rescue transport, dogs that enter the shelter don’t make it out alive. At 9 years old when he was surrendered to the shelter he had spent his entire life living tied to a chain.
Our dedicated partners from The Underground Dog and One Tail at a Time first met Hercules while doing a relief trip to the shelter. They didn’t have space for him at that time, but made sure to keep tabs on him over the next several months. He had a euthanasia deadline and One Tail at A Time in Chicago acted quickly to get him on board a recent rescue flight! Thanks to the compassionate efforts of one of our volunteer pilots, Captain Wojteczko, Hercules was saved at the eleventh hour and transported north to a loving foster home in Chicago. When we say it takes a village, we’re not joking!
Hercules’s journey was made possible through our partnerships with these amazing shelters and rescues. Thanks to one of our regular transport partners, Austin Pets Alive! Hercules boarded The Sequel with a plane full of other Texas pups! The Austin Pets Alive! transport program emerged in response to the 2021 Winter Storm Uri, which severely affected Texas shelters. Recognizing the urgent need to act before countless animals faced euthanasia, Austin Pets Alive! bridged the gap between under-resourced Texas shelters and no-kill shelters and rescue organizations across state lines. They provide essential resources, including vet care, health certificates, vaccinations, and transport coordination for these animals. In collaboration, Dog Is My CoPilot has three flights a month dedicated with Austin Pets Alive!, bringing animals to other partners of the country to be adopted.
While Hercules awaits his forever home, he has been a true delight in the two foster homes he has called his own since arriving. Remarkably, despite spending the majority of his life chained outside, Hercules is well-behaved with other dogs, house-trained, walks well on a leash, and is crate-trained. Considering his challenging start in life, Hercules is nothing short of amazing.
Despite the tremendous amount of time and care shelter workers are providing to animals in their facilities, hard decisions are being made as kennel space is running out for the number of animals coming in. Hercules represents just one example of these difficult choices. Every day, overcrowded shelters receive more animals, straining their already limited resources and space. Contrary to popular belief, the overcrowding crisis is primarily due to housing shortages rather than pandemic-related returns.
We’re flying almost seven days a week, reaching partners in both small towns and large cities, striving to alleviate that plight of desperate animal shelters.
You too can make a difference in the overcrowded shelter crisis by adopting from your local animal shelter. These shelters offer a wide variety of breeds and ages, ensuring there’s a perfect pet for everyone.