SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A nationwide nonprofit organization is helping save animals by flying them to destinations that are typically out of reach.
Jason Chipkin knows firsthand how much joy a four-legged friend can bring into someone’s life. Adopting his dogs is part of the reason why he jumped into the Pilots N Paws program in 2008 when it first took off.
The husband and dog dad told ABC 10News, "We have a couple rescues from Los Angeles and one from San Diego. They love you more than everything."
Chipkin is also a pilot, and he volunteers to help Pilots N Paws in their effort to get to animals that are in need.
“Some might be from New York to California. All of our volunteer pilots are committed to getting these guys in need where they need to go,” Chipkin said.
Since 2008, Pilots N Paws has flown more than 150,000 pets to their "fur-ever" homes, and today, there's about 6,000 pilots on the roster.
"It's a great opportunity to get out and help areas with an overcrowding of animals in shelters and fly them to no-kill shelters or other shelters with more room and more resources,” Chipkin said.
A map on the program’s website displays which airports have volunteer pilots, and then a user posts on a forum the route they're in search of.
Someone with the program connects that user and a volunteer pilot, along with the necessary paperwork to get things flying.
Chipkin said the program gave him a new purpose as a pilot over the years, adding, "They know what we've done, they've been put in a good home and don't have to worry. To me, I think they appreciate it even more so."
For more information on Pilots N Paws, visit www.pilotsnpaws.org.