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flying dogs

by Kyler Laird last modified 2009-02-15 03:28

I flew dogs this afternoon.

date: 2009-02-13 (3594 days ago)

dogs: Anna

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The rescue who contacted me about Buddy originally wanted help moving a couple older dogs from the Jasper County shelter to another rescue in Jasonville, IN. I was told we had a week to move them but the next day the shelter got a bunch of puppies and young dogs. They were full and were going to start euthanizing. The weather was looking good so I made plans to head south.

The weather was beautiful today and flight planning was fairly easy. I departed Purdue for Rensselaer after 2:00. It's been a long time since I've flown and there were a few glitches with the plane so the first leg was a bit stressful. In Rensselaer I left the plane to be fueled and walked to the shelter. The shelter kindly loaned me crates for the dogs and we transfered the dogs without giving them any breaks. I was told that yet another rescue near Jasonville would take "fuzzy and cute" puppies under eight weeks old so we also crated three six week old Husky/Lab. mixes. They were not happy to be separated but it was easier to load small crates in the plane. It took a couple trips for me to get all the crates to the plane and I was running a bit late.

The flight to Terre Haute went much better. The plane problems were resolved and I enjoyed the smooth clear air. I'd considered landing at a smaller field that would have been closer for the rescuers but all of the thawing and raining made a turf landing a bit too risky. It felt good to head to a larger airport with a radar facility. I hadn't landed at Terre Haute in many years but I had no problem finding parking. I propped the back door of the plane and went inside to meet the transporters. They drove their truck around and met me at the plane where we again transfered dogs into different crates.

I was running ahead of time now and called the rescue in Newburgh before departing for Evansville. I had some concern about this next meeting. This rescue has a female Saint Bernard, Anna, who needed an experienced owner/rescue. She'd been in the shelter for months and had some issues with a female Akita so she couldn't simply play with the other dogs. But she was great with people (and cats!). I've been thinking a lot about Harley and said I'd like to help if they were in a jam. They were.

The flight to Evansville was wonderfully smooth and I realized that I'd almost forgotten how easy it is to fly without layers of clouds and thunderstorms. Flying still demanded my concentration and allowed me to forget most of the constant stresses in my life. It was a relief to be in the air. I landed Evansville and called the rescue. They would be another half hour or so. I could have pulled out my computer but I decided to simply loiter. It was a treat to be unproductive.

When Anna and her rescuers arrived I could see immediately that she's a good girl. While she's certainly not Harley, I appreciated her slow pace and immediately started imagining how she'd do being trained by our new volunteers. She'll dwarf many of the children we see and she'll also be able to slide her head right onto a bed or over a wheelchair. Although I poked and prodded Anna, I already knew she was going home with me. We left her rescuers and she followed me willingly to the plane and then stuck with me while I made a few checks. I'd cleared a space in the cabin for her and placed a couple comforters. She hopped right on the wing after me and after I helped hoist her back end onto the wing she entered the cabin and settled in back without a fuss. I took my time getting started again to see if she'd react to the engines, etc. but she was calm and solid. It was getting dark as we left and I enjoyed the night flight home.

Anna was curled into a ball during most of the final leg but she woke as I descended. She was eager to get out when I opened the door but she wasn't pushy about it. I released her and she followed me into the hangar to get the tug. While we waited inside for the door to fold open I looked to see Anna relieve herself. Oops! She went just before we left but I neglected to give her time to go when we exited the plane. She'd found a sliver of dirt floor between the carpet and concrete in the hangar. Good girl.  As I pushed the plane into the hangar I encountered a problem with the tire on the tug and got frustrated.  Anna did not seem bothered by my frustration or the air compressor I ran to pump the tire.

The ride to the kennel was uneventful and Anna was relaxed as I completed her paperwork there. I took her to meet the guys and they all did well except Rodney. Anna recently completed a heat cycle and Rodney was just neutered this week. He was very interested in her but Anna set him straight...repeatedly. I kept Anna tethered to me outside and then put her away before moving on to work with other dogs. She's a sweetie.


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