139 Dogs and 4 Pilots
Four PNP pilots, Jeff Bennett, Ed Golly, Jim Matthews, and Art Dreyer had their own incredible journey to move 139 dogs to safety. Yes, really, 139 dogs! It took 4 planes and 3 trips for Jeff Bennett, but they made a huge impact in just one round.
It all started with a set of 84 dogs out of Lafayette, LA that were displaced due to flooding. The ground transport was due to arrive in Marianna, FL in the late afternoon. Jeff isn’t one to sit idle, so he decided to make good use of the time before the pups showed up by arranging not one but two transports to use his day to the fullest. As usual, that meant an airplane full of dogs.
Jeff left Marathon at 6:30am en route to Fort Lauderdale Executive airport and picked up 4 larger dogs. They lifted off and landed in Enterprise, AL (near Dothan) where the adopters for these 4 drove over from Georgia to pick up their new family members. One trip down…
…and on to the next. With an empty plane waiting, Rebecca Harshman (Alabama transport coordinator) and another rescue worker brought Jeff 51 puppies to take south. The cargo was carefully loaded, and the flight departed for Lakeland, FL. The three rescues from Orlando (Abby Blum), Lakeland (SPCA), and Tampa (Tara) met the furry critters and took their charge of their pups.
Now, back to the originally scheduled transport, 84 dogs from Louisiana to southern Florida. Jeff might have been able to stuff 51 puppies in his Cirrus, but he needed some help for the load of 84. Enter Ed, Jim, Art, and Sue Bruce. Jim took his 16 pups to Orlando, while Ed and Jeff took their loads of 25 and 18 to Tampa.
For those with calculators handy, it’s easy to notice this trip is 25 dogs short. While Ed, Jim, and Jeff were able to fly Wednesday to meet the transport, Art was stuck at work – perhaps earning the dollars to pay for all the avgas he was about to burn?
Arranging one transport for all these dogs such a large distance was difficult enough, there was no way two could be found. Sue Bruce created a solution. Art was flabergasted to learn she had found a foster that would take his entire 25 dog load, 3 nursing moms and their pups + 12 other pups, and make the 40 mile trip to Marianna twice to make it happen.
Has anyone said lately the people involved in rescue are amazing? That includes Petmate and Subaru for helping PnP continue its mission.