6 Turns into 16!  Gulp.

6 Turns into 16! Gulp.

Dear All:  We’ve had another successful dog & cat rescue.

Karen learned of six dogs and a litter of kittens in Fairfield, IL needing a ride to A.R.F. (The Animal Rescue Foundation based in Chicago.) A.R.F. felt they could place these rescuees with families if only they could find transport. Of course we’ll do a run like that.

But guess what was waiting for us when we landed:

17 puppies and six kittens. …oh no… And Karen is with me. How in the world do I tell her we can’t take them all? After that, how in the world do I decide who goes and who gets left behind knowing the chances for survival of those I left!?!

Yes, I did fit 18 dogs into my plane once – but I was alone that day. I had taken the back-seats out and put three big O’ dog crates behind me and one on the front passenger seat. For this flight I had and additional two passengers in the back. Crap!

Well, I did my best. I tried to pick the puppies that I felt had the best chances of being adopted. All the kittens fit in one crate, so they’re all going. Yes, it was really tough to choose. But, come on!!! This is a four seat airplane with a small cargo hold, there are only so many we can save.

Of course the Mother and her 3 day old puppies are going:

Ann from A.R.F. had a little satchel to wear over her shoulder for the momma and the puppies.

And all the kittens:

One by one we started loading them in:

Pretty soon we had 12 dogs and all six kittens loaded.

And that’s when I told Karen that we were stopping. That’s all we can fit into our Columbia and still be safe. Then I went off to file my IFR flight plan.

Karen promptly shoe-horned four more dogs into the plane.

Only one dog was left behind.

So, when I got back and saw what she had done I just accepted it. Come on, how am I gunna take one out now!?! – especially knowing the possible consequences for any dog that’s left behind. So, we loaded up and launched with four humans, 16 dogs of various sizes,  and 6 kittens. (And less than 1/3′rd of the fuel a 350 can carry) A new record – well, in the Columbia anyways. But geeze, I was terrified. What if we had an engine fire – or anything else!?!

How for the love of God am I gunna get all these animals out of this aircraft in an emergency!?!

Fortunately, nothing like that ever happened.

Flying back to Chicago I broke our rule and brought the cutest of the puppies up front to help co-pilot.

Thanks to Pilots N Paws and A.R.F., 16 dogs/puppies and 6 kittens have a chance for a new life in Chicagoland.

Ann and Joanne of A.R.F. took delivery of their new charges:

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday,
Pete Tobin

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7 Responses to “6 Turns into 16! Gulp.”

  1. Awww. Good for you!

  2. that’s awesome man! you’re an inspiration to us all.

  3. Agnes Valachovic 09. May, 2012 at 6:57 am

    May God Bless you all! You all are Angels from Heaven!!!!! TY! TY! TY! from the bottom of my heart!!!

  4. I saw the story on NBC today, it made me so happy to see you save those animals. THANK YOU, and may all of your flights be blessed.

  5. Thank you so much for all the wonderful work you are doing. The world needs more people like you. May GOD keep all of you safe during your journeys.

  6. May God bless you both! Wow, what an awesome thing to be doing! I fell in love with the orange haired dog that looks like a pomeranian or pom mix to me! I have one very similar and mine can’t give me enough kisses! Thank you for all that you do for these animals that cannot speak for themselves.

  7. What a great story. So glad to know there is such generosity out there to help animals in need.