SoCo Rescue Dog Featured in New Book
“Dog is My Copilot” tells the tales of Pilots N Paws animal rescues
GLENWOOD, GA., August 22, 2012 – A dog adopted from Southern Comfort Animal Rescue in Glenwood is featured in a new book detailing the role of volunteer pilots in animal rescue.
“Dog is My Copilot: Rescue Tales of Flying Dogs, Second Chances, and the Hero Who Might Live Next Door,” written by Patrick Regan, tells the stories of 24 flights undertaken by Pilots N Paws to save homeless animals. The 501(c)(3) charity facilitates a nationwide network of pilots who donate their time to fly animals in danger of being euthanized to rescue groups.
Such was the case with Ernie, a 7-year-old dachshund, who was scheduled to be euthanized in a high-kill shelter in North Carolina in 2010. A shelter volunteer contacted multiple groups to see if someone would consider taking him into their rescues. Southern Comfort Animal Rescue agreed and set up a transport that included several driving legs and a Pilots N Paws flight from Loris, South Carolina to Savannah, Georgia.
Ernie was such a popular pup that he was adopted before he even made it to the rescue. Shannon Starling, who picked Ernie up at the Savannah airport, decided she wanted to add him to her family.
“As I was driving home from the airport, he looked at me with those precious eyes and it melted my heart,” she said. “How could I not love a precious animal that loved me unconditionally so quickly?”
Pilots N Paws volunteer Brett Grooms, who flew Ernie from Loris to Savannah, suggested “Ernie’s Journey” to Regan for his book. Regan said the teamwork and dedication involved in securing a transport for Ernie — which was set up in one day —made a compelling story.
“The first thing that appealed to me about the story — and probably the reason I decided to include it in the book — was the deep respect that this pilot obviously had for the various animal rescue volunteers involved,” Regan said. “Then, as I began interviewing some of these people, it was clear that this was kind of a mutual admiration society. The pilots praise the rescuers on the ground, and the rescuers consider the pilots heroes.”
Pilots N Paws Executive Director Kathleen Quinn said that each rescue flight is unique.
“Our pilots share a deep commitment to saving these animals who have ended up without homes at no fault of their own, but can be given a second chance at life with the gift of flight,” Quinn said. “For those of us in animal rescue, we know there is no better feeling than seeing an animal that was once at great risk of being euthanized jump into the arms of its new family. ‘Dog Is My Copilot’ is our way of sharing these beautiful stories with our readers.”
Two years after Starling adopted Ernie, he developed pancreatic cancer. He passed away earlier this year. She said she is grateful for the time she had with Ernie, and to Pilots N Paws for making it possible.
About Southern Comfort Animal Rescue
Southern Comfort Animal Rescue, Inc. is 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that rescues and rehomes abused, unwanted and abandoned companion animals. We specialize in physical, social and emotional rehabilitation of our rescues. All animals are examined, vaccinated, spayed or neutered and receive any and all medical treatment before being placed in carefully screened forever homes. Southern Comfort is a “no-kill” rescue and only euthanizes in cases of irremediable suffering or vicious and dangerous animals. We also work to raise public awareness of the plight of homeless animals and promote the benefits of adopting an animal in need through community outreach and education. For more information, visit www.socorescue.com.
About Pilots N Paws
Pilots N Paws was founded in 2008 by animal-lover Debi Boies and pilot Jon Wehrenberg. The idea first took flight when Jon agreed to help Debi by flying a rescued Doberman from Florida to South Carolina, to save the dog’s life. The trip was a success and the two brainstormed on how to rescue other animals. The dream quickly became a reality when the Pilots N Paws website was launched to provide a location where private pilots willing to provide free transport, and people and organizations who rescue, shelter or foster animals, could connect to save lives. Today the organization has over 2,800 pilot volunteers, over 12,000 registered users, and has flown over 10,000 animals to safety. For more information, visit www.pilotsnpaws.org.