A Caught Hail Mary
This could have been a sad story, but thanks to a bit of luck and a few people’s good intentions, Mr. Magoo made his connecting flight and arrived safe in St. Louis so he could be on this way to his new foster home in Kansas. Here is his amazing story:
Mr. Magoo, a 15-year old Miniature Pinscher in Rock Hill, SC, was hit by a streak of bad luck. His owner died of cancer a few months ago, and the family couldn’t care for him so he was left at the local kill shelter. In addition (like if it wasn’t enough for this little guy), he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and also suffers from arthritis. Nevertheless, Pam Allemeier heard about his situation and came to his rescue. She fostered the little old guy and tried to find a great place for him to live the next few years peacefully. Through some contacts, they placed a post on the PilotsNPaws forum for a flight from South Carolina to Kansas. But after almost 1 week, it became apparent that it would be a long and difficult flight to fill.
This is when Mr. Magoo got his lucky break! Liz Bondarek, a seasoned Transport Coordinator, sent a private message on the PNP forum to some of the pilots she had worked with before. Her message was clearly a last effort to try to make it happen for Mr. Magoo. At 6am on a Friday in March, her private message was: “looking for a last min hail Mary from SC to TN and KY”. She was trying to get him via 2 legs to connect in KY with another flight she was coordinating from central Georgia to St. Louis and was hoping someone would be able to assist by flying him on Saturday.
Private Pilot Christophe saw the message on Friday morning and reached out to Liz. After a couple of emails and a phone conversation, they evaluated a different option. If he were to connect in Kentucky on Saturday with another flight starting from Georgia, Christophe proposed to fly Mr. Magoo to Macon, GA on Friday night so he would be sure to be on board. Liz rushed out to check with Kristen the local volunteer in Georgia if she could (1) pick him up late at the airport, (2) take care of him overnight and (3) drive him early to the airport in the morning. Liz also checked with the 3 pilots scheduled on Saturday that they could all accommodate this 10lb Min-Pin passenger.
When everything came with a green light, Christophe reached out to Pam to schedule a 7:30pm meeting at the Rock Hill airport. With Mr. Magoo safely on board and an IFR flight plan filed, they took off in the moonless night towards Georgia. After a smooth flight, Mr. Magoo landed at the Macon, GA airport and met with Kristen for a good night’s rest. The next morning, Pilot Tom took both Biff, a nice English Pointer/Lab Mix and Mr. Magoo from GA to AL, where Pilot Jeff took them to KY and then Rick and his co-pilot Mike took both of them to MO. From there, Biff took a ride to Omaha, NE and Mr Magoo to Kansas.
This story, like many others, reminds us the inspiring quote from St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals: Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. The impossible is what Pam, Liz, Kristen, the pilots and many other volunteers did that weekend.