Maryland pilot to take part in Pilots N Paws 5000

September 3, 2009

paws John Jorgenson used his Cirrus SR22 to transport a rescued Papillon to a new home. He will transport another dog in September as part of Pilots N Paws 5000, an effort to save 5,000 animals in a week using general aviation.

With a little extra time and a Cirrus SR22, John Jorgenson brought new life to a dog.

Jorgenson, a Maryland pilot who adopted his own rescue dog this spring, helped another dog find a home in August when he volunteered to fly a Papillon rescued from a puppy mill in Ohio to an owner in Pennsylvania. He found out about the need for the flight on the Pilots N Paws (PNP) Web site, and now he plans to carry another dog to safety as part of Pilots N Paws 5000, an effort to save 5,000 animals in a week in September.

“I like to fly, and I thought there’s … good value in flying for someone else,” Jorgenson said. After hearing that there was a need for pilots to take animals from shelters where they would be killed to areas where they can find homes, Jorgenson found the Pilots N Paws Web site and looked for needed flights in his area, with dogs that would fit in the back of his SR22. He found one from Monroe County Airport in Woodsfield, Ohio, to Cahester County Airport near Philadelphia, Pa., and signed up.

For animal rescue flights coordinated by organizations like Pilots N Paws or ARF (Animal Rescue Flights), the pilot often introduces the giving and receiving shelters to the world of general aviation. Jorgenson took the lead for his flight, explaining the schedule and the possible effects of weather to the person dropping off the dog and the woman bringing it home. After planning the flight and ensuring that the dog had all the documents it needed for interstate flight, he flew from Frederick, Md., to Monroe County Airport and picked up Casanova.

Casanova, a tiny Papillon that had been scheduled to be killed because it did not meet the specifications for a pet shop, had no trouble on the flight, Jorgenson said.

“It was totally quiet,” he said. “I think the vibration and the engine noise sort of put it to sleep.”

By the time they arrived at Chester County Airport, a woman was waiting to take Casanova home.

Jorgenson already has his next flight scheduled: He will take a Chihuahua from Salem, Ohio, to Roanoke, Va., as part of Pilots N Paws 5000.

Pilots N Paws 5000 will take place Sept. 12 through 20 and is designed to raise awareness of the need to transport animals to areas with homes available—and the vital role of GA in accomplishing that goal. Pilots can sign up for a flight on the Pilots N Paws Web site.

“It’s very worthwhile and rewarding to know that you’re doing something for somebody else,” Jorgenson said. “I just would encourage any other pilots that have the time and ability to take the opportunity to help out.”