It Takes A Village …

It Takes A Village …

San Antonio’s Animal Care Services sent out a plea via Facebook … a family was in need of temporary assistance. Due to the downward economy, they had lost their home and had to move in with their son who lived in an apartment that didn’t allow pets. They loved their dogs very much and didn’t want to give them up but they had no choice. They were on a deadline … the apartment complex was allowing the dogs to stay for only a few days. The dogs had to go … and now! A temporary foster was needed until the family got back on their feet and could find a place where the dogs would be allowed. Hope, a shy six year-old golden lab mix, was immediately placed in foster in Edinburg; Hope’s parents met the temporary foster, Lynn Fischer, half-way between Edinburg and San Antonio. Knowing it was the best solution for Hope didn’t make the goodbyes any easier for her family.

 

Hope on her car ride to her temporary foster family

Hope on her car ride to her temporary foster family

 

The other two needed to find foster fast or they were going to be surrendered to ACS and, most likely, be euthanized. Someone eventually volunteered to foster JW, a ten year-old Chihuahua-mix, and Mitzi, a fifteen year-old rat terrier mix, but things didn’t work out; they had to get to another foster in San Angelo quickly before they were going to once again be turned over to ACS. Reni Moczygemba and Denise Pride, both pilots with Pilots N Paws, along with Dennis Baker, flew the two on to Janet’s Ark in San Angelo in early June. Dennis helped out with his first PnP transport by taking care of the dogs in the back while Reni and Denise took turns flying… Mitzi fell right asleep as soon as the wheels left the ground. JW, though, was not happy in the crate … he wanted some attention being several thousand feet above the ground. Dennis was very happy to oblige.

Once on the ground, though, JW decided he wanted to see more of the airport at San Angelo and slipped out of his leash. He led everyone on quite a chase for a ten year-old dog! Thank goodness he never got on the taxi-way or runway due to Dennis’ excellent herding skills. JW finally gave up after about thirty minutes of watching everyone chase after him all over creation. 

L to R: Janet Anderson (with JW) and Molly Teague-Dinwiddie (with Mitzi) with Janet’s Ark, Denise Pride, Reni Mocygemba, and Dennis Baker

L to R: Janet Anderson (with JW) and Molly Teague-Dinwiddie (with Mitzi) with Janet’s Ark, Denise Pride, Reni Mocygemba, and Dennis Baker

Despite being well taken care of, the dogs missed their family very much … and vice-versa. The pilots sent airplane-shaped cookies (a fundraiser for PnP) to Janet’s Ark which JW and Mitzi got to enjoy … JW was first in line for his airplane-shaped cookie!

 

JW first in line for his airplane-shaped cookie!

JW first in line for his airplane-shaped cookie!

In early August things had turned around for the family in need; they were now moving into their own apartment that allowed pets. They were eager to get their family back to them. Denise volunteered to fly to Edinburg to pick up Hope from Lynn on Saturday and then fly the family with her on Sunday to San Angelo to pick up JW and Mitzi. Just prior to departing Edinburg with Hope in the backseat, Denise texted Hope’s dad, Roman, to let him know she was taking off from the airport. “I’m on my way”, texted Roman in reply. Denise quickly texted back that she wouldn’t be there for at least another ninety minutes. “I know, I’ll wait” replied Roman; he was anxious to see his Hope once again. Hope, though, was unsure what was going on and would quickly hide every time Denise turned around trying to take her picture in the airplane.

 

Lynn Fischer and Denise Pride with Hope who was not so eager to be photographed. Lynn had gotten Hope microchipped and teeth cleaned while she stayed with her; and also sent back a year’s supply of heartworm prevention with her.

Lynn Fischer and Denise Pride with Hope who was not so eager to be photographed. Lynn had gotten Hope microchipped and teeth cleaned while she stayed with her; and also sent back a year’s supply of heartworm prevention with her.

Shy Hope hiding from the camera in the backseat of the airplane!

Shy Hope hiding from the camera in the backseat of the airplane!

She quickly came out of her shell, though, squealing in delight when she saw Daddy waiting for her at the airport!

Hope seeing Daddy (Roman Zuniga) for the first time in months!

Hope seeing Daddy (Roman Zuniga) for the first time in months!

Hope’s mom, Leann, was working that day so Roman took Hope straight to her workplace to see Mom

And Hope seeing Mommy (Leann Zuniga) for the first time in months!

And Hope seeing Mommy (Leann Zuniga) for the first time in months!

 

A very happy girl!

A very happy girl!

The following day Leann and Roman flew with Denise to San Angelo to pick up Mitzi and JW from Janet with Janet’s Ark. Despite never being in a small airplane before, Leann and Roman flew like champs. The scene from the day before was once again repeated with Mitzi and JW being very excited to see their parents once again … and with Leann and Roman being moved beyond tears at seeing their beloved pets (all rescued from shelters) once again. JW didn’t try to run away this time around staying as close as he could to Leann!

 

L to R: Janet’s mother, Janet with Janet’s Ark in San Angelo, Denise Pride, Roman Zuniga with Mitzi, and Leann Zuniga with JW

L to R: Janet’s mother, Janet with Janet’s Ark in San Angelo, Denise Pride, Roman Zuniga with Mitzi, and Leann Zuniga with JW

All too often in flying with Pilots N Paws, we hear of stories where families quickly surrender – or worse, abandon – their beloved pets during tough times. It was such a joy for all to be involved in a situation where the family fought hard to keep their pets against all odds. Kudos to Roman and Leann Zuniga … you two are an inspiration to us all!

Written by Denise Pride

 

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15 Responses to “It Takes A Village …”

  1. What a great story. It is too true – so many people are so quick to surrender or abandon their pets during tough and even not-so-tough times. I’m sure it was a pleasure to help out this family that fought so hard to keep their pets. Thanks so much to all of you and thank you for the story!

  2. Well done, Denise. I am so proud of you. A great contribution to man’s best friend and a very good article for Pilots N Paws including photos.

  3. I love this story and all who participated in it. When I hear so many sad stories of pets being abandoned or discarded, it does my heart good to know that this family reached out and received such wonderful and effective support to save the lives of their beloved dogs. It does my heart good, worth repeating, and I love the smiles at reunion time. Congratulations on a successful operation and on getting back on your feet.

  4. Beckie MxDorman 20. Oct, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    What a wonderful story. What wonderful people you are for helping out this family and their furry friends. God Bless you!!! :-)

  5. Thank you so much for everything PnP did for us. We truly do appreciate it very much. PnP’s pilots are angels in our eyes and we hope that some day we will be able to help them in anyway possible.

  6. Marv Meneeley 20. Oct, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    What great people. A heart wrenching story with a nice ending thanks to the selfless work done here.

  7. It’s wonderful of all you guys helping these animals and in this case this family to keep their loved pets.

  8. Thank God for good people like you. I loved this story, a happy ending with pets home.

  9. What a beautiful story with such a happy ending (although this is real and not a story). I wish and pray that more people will step up and help foster these dogs who have lost their homes and families through no fault of their own (dog or parents). I have two rescue doggies and everyday I am grateful for those who saved them, those who fostered, and the rescue that helped us find my ‘new children.’

  10. What a wonderful story. I’m so glad the family fought for them. And the fosters and pilots, well there’s a special place in heaven for you! You are inspirational and bring me to tears. I hope those doggies live happily ever after with their family.

  11. Wow, what an amazing story of love! Thank you so much for helping this wonderful family an option of being able to save & get their fur family back. They obviously have undying love for their fur babies & are an inspiration to show never give up, because you don’t always have to. You’re organization is so amazing & I love what you guys do ❤

  12. What an awesome story. Bless the Zuniga’s for not letting go of their responsibility to the animals who love and depended on them for so long. Life is not often easy, and this was such a Win/Win/Win, and the love and caring of P and P is amazing. Bless each Foster, Pilot and the coordination Each and Every animal requires and gets. You Rock!

  13. Kudos to a family that truly recognizes their furry friends as family members! This is an awesome story with such a great ending!

  14. This is so awesome the work that you all do to reunite the family. What would the world be like if you we not in it. Sad :( for everyone including our furry family. You are such a beautiful person inside and out. This is why your life is fill with so much joy. Continue to do what you do to make this world a better play. Your BFF Lisa Acosta

  15. Happy endings like in the movie are the best real life story!!! And it is manifested in this great story that it does really takes a village, a community…that if no one ever gives up…if no one lose faith and hope…it’ll happen…it’ll get better!!! in time! just check out Hope’s face, from beginning to end of the story! And then, maybe why that name was given to her?? OMG…this story’s getting better and better ;-)