Hattie and her five puppies are rolling up frequent flyer miles this weekend.
H&P Animal Alliance of Magnolia teamed with Pilots N Paws to make sure that Hattie – a dog rescued from a facility in Crossett, and her mix of shepherd-labrador puppies will be able to enjoy life in Minnesota.
Jennifer Pinson of H&P Animal Alliance was at Magnolia Municipal Airport on Saturday morning with Hattie on a leash, and her five puppies secured in a pet carrier.
Tulsa, OK, pilot Jared Alexander, a volunteer for Pilots N Paws, was winging his way to Magnolia aboard a single-engine, 2004-model Cirrus with friend Rick Roberts.
They made the stop in Magnolia while enroute to Coffeyville, Kansas. Once in Coffeyville, they planned to hand the dogs over to another Pilots N Paws volunteer who was flying to Kansas City. The dogs were to spend Saturday night in Kansas City before a final flight to their “forever home” in Minnesota.
Pinson said Alexander was making his second trip to Magnolia, having picked up a mother with 11 puppies last spring.
“These are volunteer pilots who take time out of their days delivering rescue dogs,” Pinson said.
There are many individuals and “no-kill” shelters willing to take dogs from shelters where unwanted animals are put to sleep. The problem is getting animals from where they’re found to homes and shelters that will take them. There is a large informal network of people who will drive animals between cities, but when distance becomes a problem, Pilots N Paws can help.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” Pinson said. “We need more pilots down here. We don’t have any pilots down here who can help. If we did, we could save so many more from (the Columbia County Animal Protection Society) and surrounding shelters.”
Alexander and Roberts landed and taxied the aircraft to a stop. They got an introduction to Hattie and a gift bag from Pinson. She supplied Alexander with Hattie’s paperwork, and let him know that the puppies had played hard on Saturday morning in hopes that they would be inclined to sleep during the flight.
Alexander cleared out a spot in the cargo hold for the pet carrier and decided that Hattie would be safe to move around in a confined space.
Within 15 minutes of Alexander’s arrived, Hattie and her puppies were airborne.