How You Can Help

Most weekends throughout the year, hundreds of animals are moving from high kill shelters to reputable animal rescue groups across the country. The sad reality is unless these animals are pulled from a shelter, they have run out of time. Many areas in the county have county-controlled animal shelters, so money is tight, and space is hard to come by. There are far more dogs and cats than there is room for. Some rescue animals are moved by commercial airline with fees paid for by an adopter, others are moved via paid transportation companies that specialize in driving animals. Still more are moved by chains of volunteers that give up part of their day to meet other animal lovers in parking lots and rest stops to help save an animal and get it to its foster or forever home.

Transport coordinators (volunteers) work with shelters and rescues to plan the routes and the number of animals to travel – this is something that HoundPilot specializes in. These coordinators work tirelessly throughout the week and through the nights prior to the transport to make sure all animals are vetted, have health certificates, have drivers for each leg and have the information for whoever is picking up the dog at the end of the transport.

Sometimes the transports take 2 days – when dealing with that, there is a tremendous need to have people willing to “overnight” animals which means you provide a safe haven, food, water and a bed for the night as well as a little exercise. This readies the animals for the next day’s transport. That is something that Laura and I have done on several occasions.

A transport will cover as little as a couple hundred miles to as much as 700-1000 miles, but most will be 400-500 miles. The transport is broken down into “legs” which are typically 50-75 miles. Then the transport is posted to groups of drivers in hopes someone will come forward to offer to drive one or more of the “legs”. This “Underground Railroad” then takes the animals the entire route from shelter to rescues.

When you meet the animals you know how important driving or overnighting a dog or cat is. The love you get for a few hours is precious and you know you have helped an animal doomed to death, on the next step of reaching “the good life.”

For people who can’t adopt a pet this is a perfect, low-cost/high-impact way to make a difference.

As described on the HoundPilot about page, rescue flights are often the quickest and easiest way to get a hound in danger of being euthanized to a foster or forever home. Much like ground transports, there is a lot of coordination needed to make a single flight happen.

I work with the shelter that has the animal to find an airport near the shelter and find a volunteer to take that dog there. I make sure the person getting the dog on the other end can meet me at the airport closest to his or her house. I then must make this fit into my schedule and make sure the weather looks good for all legs of the flight. It can take many hours of work to make a single flight happen. But as you can see from our videos, it is worth the effort. Hearing the excitement and tears of new parents seeing their rescue dog getting off a plane for the first time is worth it!

The map above highlights the areas that we can do flights in at this time. In future years we may expand to the Western part of the US so our flight area would change. Transports are limited by cost and the capabilities of the airplanes we currently have access to. Please don’t hesitate to contact us regardless of where you are located.

Foster homes are desperately needed in all areas of the United States. In a lot of areas, having someone volunteer to provide a foster home for a Coonhound or a Bloodhound means that dog will not be euthanized at the shelter. Instead, it gets its second chance at a new life. How often do you get to say “I saved a life? A foster home is the dog’s first step out of homelessness and towards a new family.

Fostering a dog is extremely rewarding; words can’t describe the feeling of watching a scared, thin dog thrive and become the beautiful companion that can be placed with a new family. The foster family also provides valuable insight into the dog’s personality so that a good match can be made with a potential adopter. Most reputable rescue groups that have adequate funding will cover the costs of any and all veterinary visits required for the dog prior to adoption.

Launched in 1992, the Young Eagles program has dedicated more than 25 years to giving youth ages 8–17 their first free ride in an airplane. I became a Young Eagles pilot a year ago, after completing my pilot instrument training and rating.

Young Eagles is the only program of its kind, with the sole mission to introduce and inspire kids in the world of aviation. Today, more than 2 million young people have enjoyed a free introductory flight through the Young Eagles program. These flights are made possible through the generosity of EAA and its member volunteers.

Sign-Up to Volunteer

    Area of Interest* (may choose multiple)

    Are you a Pilot?

    What certificates do you hold?

    Do you own or rent your plane?

    What is your base airport?

    Have we met before?

    Where did we meet?

    Tell use a little about yourself. Anything you want to share to help us to get to know each other? (For me, see About page)

    What motivates you to be a volunteer?