Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Generous Heart

This morning I received this note from Pete, a very generous man with a huge heart. I have tagged with him on rescue flights in the past. Pete loves to fly and will always try to incorporate a rescue whenever he does fly. When funds have been low, he has driven rather than flown. He simply loves rescuing dogs. As I said, he has a huge heart. This story that I have attached was especially touching to me and I thought I would share it.
Dear All:
We've had another successful Pilots N Paws run.
Long story short:
As Karen & I were discussing what to do to celebrate our approaching 10th Wedding Anniversary, Karen learned of an accident and death of a Miami-based long-haul trucker who was going through Rensselaer, IN when he had a diabetic attack and is believed to have died before his truck went off a bridge and crashed (Yikes!)
The only survivor of the wreck was the driver’s traveling companion, a 95 lb American Bull Dog named Bubba. The Driver’s family only had enough money to bring the body of the Driver home.
Karen informed me that Bubba was going to be put to sleep in Rensselaer if someone didn’t do something.
I think anyone who knows me knows exactly what’s going to come out of my mouth next: “I gotta get Bubba!” said in my best Forest Gump voice.
Which of course resulted in me receiving that Tell-Me-Again-Why-I-Married-You!?! stare that all married men are so familiar with.
Less than 48 hours later, on the day of our 10th wedding anniversary, I was landing on runway 18 in Rensselaer to meet Bubba.
And let me tell ya’ 95 lbs of dog, is a whole lot of dog.
I mean he is a sweet heart (maybe drools a little too much) just a love-bug, but a whole lot stronger than I anticipated.
This is Bubba:
And Bubba did not want to go into the crate in the airplane.
Ya'd stick him in one end and he'd get past the crate and pop right out the other end.
There was just no way I was launching with a dog this big & strong who I didn't know; and, we had no idea how he would react in an airplane unless we could get him in a crate and strap that crate down.
The final solution became that Karen had to take the crate apart; and, I had to climb into the back of the baggage compartment with Bubba and get him to sit in the bottom half -
Then, we rebuilt the crate around him.

Then, wouldn't you know it, Bubba didn't want to come out of the plane in Nashville:
So, that was our leg of Bubba's journey to be reunited with his family.
Robert and Ann would be driving him to Columbus, GA for the next leg of his adventure.
That is one big dog:
And the trip to Columbus, GA was pretty much uneventful.
..but... because of Tropical Storm - Isaac, the Miami-based Pilot N Paws pilot who was scheduled to meet up with Robert & Ann couldn't launch. Once again, Bubba was stranded.
The Robert's niece, Karen Drake stepped up to the plate and drove Bubba to Orlando:
Bubba in Orlando:
Where Bubba's family was able to drive up from Miami to be reunited:
And Bubba made it home!
Bubba, we're all very sorry for the month you've had. But, we're also honored to be a part of reuniting you with your family.
Well, as you all know, there is never just one dog in need of rescue.
When the people in the Nashville area heard that Karen was in town, her phone started ringing.
The first dog that needed rescue was a male Pit Bull mix named Liberty who is believed to have been used as a "bait" dog in dog fighting and then just abandoned. And despite everything he had been through, he had NO aggressive tendencies and was just a sweetheart. But, there wouldn't be room for him in the plane going back because we already had a full load then we were told that if we couldn't at least find a foster family for him, he was going to be put to sleep.
The solution was simple. We just walked the streets of Franklin, TN with him until we found him a foster:
We walked him from one end of town to the other seeing if anyone would like to take him in. At a very nice pizza joint named, "The Mellow Mushroom" the hostess, a young woman named Rose accepted the challenge of fostering Liberty and saved him from his date with the needle.
Sunday - time for the ride home.
Well, originally we were going to be bringing one dog back to a rescue here in Chicago. Then two. And by the time Sunday came along, 12 dogs showed up needing to be delivered to a better life.
This little guy was named Tux:
And all these puppies:
And we even had one pregnant female who looked ready to pop. I had a very serious talk with her and made it very clear that she was not allowed to deliver until after we landed in Chicago.
Even with all the bad weather in Chicago on Sunday, we made it through with a relatively uneventful flight.
We unloaded 12 dogs in Chicago and handed them off to two separate rescues: the Herding Breed Rescue and A Heart for Animals. 
Tux went off to be fostered by one of my neighbors who promptly changed his name to "Otis:"
This female beagle went off to be fostered by my Mother In Law:
The six puppies all pooped on themselves and were covered in poop by the time we landed:

And the very pregnant female kept her end of the bargain and didn't pop during the flight. Her puppies will go to families in the Chicago area once they are old enough.
And all the puppies in the back of the van. I'm sure they'll be cleaned off quickly. I'm sure the rescue will have no trouble placing these guys with nice families.
Over all, a pretty successful day! :)
Hope all is well.

Thank you Pete and Karen for your generosity.
PilotsnPaws is a rescue organization that connects pilots who are willing to donate their time as well as all expenses to rescue animals.
I'll be back later today with another story.

Share this PostPin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google PlusEmail This


  1. What a wonderful story and a wonderful man. You are honored to know such a person and my heart and blessings go out to you all. Keep on doing this good work for our doggy friends!....Anna

  2. Really nice, Rhonda. He is helping so many animals to better lives, and I know you do as well. Really nice. And what a great name for a cute pet - Bubba. Glad he is back home.

  3. Great story and quite a mutt! In Australia we tend towards rescuing people. Ever heard of the Flying Doctor service?

    1. Thanks for the info. I had not heard of the Flying Doctor Service. I just googled it and read all about it. Great service for a country like Australia that has such remote areas. Here in America, private pilots fly patients(people)who live in small towns and need medical care that they can only receive in a larger city and are unable to afford to fly on a commercial plane. We also fly organs and blood.

  4. Fabulous, heartwarming story, Rhonda. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Wow, my heart warmed and eyes swelled reading this wonderful story. My dog is a rescue, a little harmell Staffordshire bull-terrier, the absolute apple of the eye of our family. I also run a page on Facebook to help re-home staffies here in Ireland https://www.facebook.com/savethestaffiesireland

    1. Oh Juliette, I'm so happy to hear about this. Thanks for letting me know.

  6. What generosity you and others are showing toward both dogs and people. I'm glad to hear Bubba made it home safely, and that so many other dogs were rescued on the trip. A noble service.

  7. You all are amazing generous. What lucky animals.

  8. You all are so generous. These dogs were so luck to have such compassionate animal lovers.