Last Updated on September 24, 2023 by Pets Feed
An Army veteran learned to fly and bought his own plane so he could save hundreds of dogs from death row. Paul Steklenski of Pennsylvania (United States) paid $ 70,000 for a plane that he filled with boxes of dogs that were about to be euthanized in shelters with high mortality.
Paul realized he wanted to save the animals after adopting a homeless dog named Tessa from a rescue center.
At first, Paul thought about going to shelters with high mortality and transporting the dogs by other routes to help them find family. But he knew he could breathe new life into dozens of abandoned animals if he transported them in another way.
Man bought plane to save hundreds of animals
Coincidentally, Paul, 45, started learning to fly in 2013 as a hobby, but at the same time realized that he wanted to save animals, so he decided to get his license.
Then, in May 2015, he created Flying Fur Animal Rescue and says he has saved 742 animals since, many of which have been neglected or abused. In February, the former soldier bought his own plane to help him with this task.
“When I started flying I sometimes wanted to quit because I didn’t think I could, but I kept coming back. Once I got my certification I was like, “What am I going to do now?” “
“A lot of pilots like to fly to good restaurants or places and that’s great, but I had to have a different reason for flying.”
“Seeing the dogs in the shelter was heartbreaking. It was horrible to think that there were so many animals euthanized because they were trapped in a certain area.”
“The further south you go, the more there is a problem of overpopulation of pets. It is heartbreaking. I realized that I could help make a difference by going there, picking them up and taking them to other shelters.”
“The airplane is a tool that allows me to do a lot of things in a day that I couldn’t do on a bus. It is extremely moving work, but it is very rewarding.”
Paul, who lives with his wife, takes a day once a month to go to shelters, where he picks up cats and dogs. In order to transport the animals, he ripped the 5 seats from the interior of his Beechcraft Bonanza plane and purchased a large number of pet cages to place in the back.
Army veteran saves animals from death row
The pilot who adopted a second dog, named Layla, now carries as many dogs and cats as he can at one time to help them find homes – he’s taken up to 23 in one trip.
Although finding the funds is a battle, Paul says making the trip with dozens of dogs is easy.
“Once the engine starts, they either fall asleep or stay awake and look out the windows. It is still very calm. I have never had a problem. I have a feeling they know something better is going to happen to them.”
When the dogs arrive at their destinations, at some shelters in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Paul knows they are safe because none of those shelters offer to euthanize the animals, unlike the ones he rescues.
Paul hopes to turn his small plane into one with more seats so he can carry more animals.
“It’s very emotional, but I’ll do it for as long as I can. I hope to inspire others to get involved.”
Images: Flying Fur Animal Rescue
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