Bear’s Journey With Pilot John
An older dog, abandoned in a backyard when his owners moved away…. growing more and more emaciated by the day. Finally concerned neighbors stepped in and turned him into animal control. “Bear,” believed to be between seven and nine years of age based on the bad condition of his teeth, was sent to the San Diego, CA shelter. The shelter contacted Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue of Northern California (RRRNC) on August 13 and the rescue organization sprung into action. Barbara (Babs) Davilman contacted Pilot n’ Paws to help fly Bear up to Irvine where he could get tailored vet treatment.
Pilot John Baker called Babs of RRRNC and offered to give him a lift to Irvine (Long Beach airport) on August 17. One of Pilot John’s dogs is a ridgeback and looked just like Bear so it was love from the moment they met. Sweet, happy Bear made friends with everyone in the McClellan-Palomar (in Carlsbad, CA) airport and Long Beach airport lobbies. Pilot John said “Bear was THE best plane-dog I’ve rescued so far. He had the best back seat manners, no squirming, just sat down and laid down on the seat for the flight.” Bear didn’t even disturb the earphones that Pilot John gave him to protect his ears.
After vet treatment and a week of careful feeding, Bear was taken in by one of RRRNC’s brand new foster families, Mike and Amy Kelley, with the mission of fattening him up and loving him. Loving him was easy because Bear charmed everyone he met with his “helicopter twirling” tail, his wide grin and soulful eyes. Fattening up was a different story, until Amy stumbled across Bear’s true love….. cheese! In two months, Bear slowly went from 47 pounds to 66 pounds.
Soon after taking bear into foster, a family applied for Bear and it seemed like a great fit. The only obstacle was that Bear was in San Diego and the family was in the San Francisco Bay area. Transport wasn’t easy to find and weeks went by. In mid-October, the RRRNC coordinator received an email from Pilot John, who had never stopped thinking about Bear, and he reported that he had a good friend who was interested in adopting. The RRRNC told Pilot John about the saga of getting Bear up to his new adoptive family in San Francisco and Pilot John again answered the call, rearranging his schedule to see his friend off to his new life.
On October 16 – two months to the day from their first flight together – a brand new Bear and Pilot John met again to transport from Long Beach to Reid-Hillview Airport near San Francisco. Bear knew the routine, quickly jumping into the backseat and donning his ear protection. He napped for the entire flight, knowing that Pilot John would take good care of him. As foster mom Amy said “Bear has so much life in him! He loves going places, doing things and meeting people. His spirit is infectious.”
[Pilot John and a healthy Bear are reunited, as Bear travels off to his new family]
Bear is healthy and now lives a wonderful life with a mom, dad, two little girls, age 1 and 4, and a doggy brother. His days are full of play and dog parks. Pilot John summed up Bear’s journey well when he said “It is with ALL of your help, and the Pilot’s and Paws organization that gave Bear another chance, and boy is he worth it!”
For more information on Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue of Northern California (RRRNC), please see their website at www.ridgeback.org.